Friday, December 25, 2009

Cough. Sniffle. Barf. {Merry Christmas!!}



Yes, our the numbers that should be at our family Christmas brunch are going to be somewhat depleted, seeing as no one else wants to start barfing. You can hear Glorie's stuffy nose; yesterday I tried a homemade netti pot. (This included Peter's hockey waterbottle, as it was the only squeeze-kind in the house. He was not thrilled about this, and we promised to run it through the dishwasher so he could forget it was ever in contact with my nose) Worked the first time, not so much the second time.

In somewhat related but not exactly synonymous news, I've decided that talking about the Gospel with 3 year olds is definitely one of my favorite things. Yesterday I was talking to Glorie about why we have Christmas, etc., and I love the simplicity. Jesus was a baby. This is important, because He is GOD, but He was a baby! Then he grew and grew and grew. Then He died on an "owwie" cross. He saves us from our sins. Then, He was ALIVE!! And He gives us life!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's that time of year.


So, this picture didn't exactly work the way one might want it to, but I'm going to post it anyways.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Today we baked and baked and baked, and my sisters said so many things that I wish I could quote...if only I had the memory of an elephant.

It has been raining. RAINING. In the Midwest. Before Christmas. Today, however, it turned to ice (oh yippee!) and then snow. The current state is snow, and we're under a blizzard warning, so White Christmas here we come!

The past few days have been intense. A close friend of quite a few of my friends died yesterday morning in a car accident, leaving his wife and 10 children (8 of which were adopted). It is so, so hard to process and accept, thus there's not much more I feel I can write at the moment. Please pray for the Loux family.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blessed and Highly Favored

Mary has always caught my attention. In fact, Mary (along with David, and Daniel, and Timothy) makes me not want to grow up. Something about being 14, 15, 16 (and beyond, yes, I'm beyond those now :) made her story so real, so tangible. I still consider myself in the age range of {Imagine me, right now, an angel showing up and saying I was going to have a baby...}

I just want to know. I want to know it all. I know I won't know it all this side of the Jordan, but if I had to make a list of questions to sit down and talk about with Jesus when I go home, I would put "Mary...what was up with Mary?" near the top. What was it about her that attracted the favor of God like that? Why her? How did she walk in victory over shame? Was she scared? What's up with Joseph? Had she read the Scriptures enough to know when she set out on that donkey that she would have a baby when she got to Bethlehem? How in the world did she have a baby alone in a stable?

I mean, imagine! Imagine an angel standing in front of you and telling you that you had found favor with God. We read it like it's another Christmas phrase on par with "All is calm, all is bright" but imagine an archangel standing in front of you and saying: "Annie [insert your name here], you have found favor with the Most High God."

In the past few weeks I've been thinking about how Mary's life is such an example of sacrifice. When her life was no longer her own, everything was surrendered. Her whole life changed. Everyone thought she was in sin; she lost her reputation. She wasn't expecting to be a mom that year, but she was. Giving birth in a barn and putting your brand new baby on straw is not most girls' ideal of 'the good life'. Next up was a move -- a big move -- to Egypt! Then, 33 years later, she would watch her son be killed on a cross. I mean, let's be honest, it doesn't sound easy.

But God came through her surrender! God, and His purposes for all mankind, were welcomed by her surrender. It can be the same for us! When God finds someone who is after His heart, someone who is willing to just believe Him, see how He can move! Mary had no idea what was ahead of her when Gabriel showed up. She didn't know what would happen the next day, much less 33 years later. But the Lord took care of everything, didn't he? We want the purposes of God in our generation and our world; we can take our cues from Mary and just believe. He wants to use you, and you have the favor and eye of the Lord just like she did. Be bold, believe that you have found favor with the Most High God, and believe that His purposes can be birthed through your life.

I want God to come through my life. Mary has always caught my eye because I want to be like her. God chose her, He knew she would believe, and I want Him to know that I want to believe. I want Him to work faith in my heart. In the past few days of pondering this, I've found myself whispering to the Lord: "I will move to Egypt. I'll do whatever it takes, just use me. Find me saying yes." I want to be overshadowed by the Spirit of God. Don't you?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Live from Kansas City

You have to admit, live from Kansas City is a whole lot more exciting than live from the library.

How do I look? Less stressed? Big smile? Same sweater? I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!

The more people I hug, the more I realize that it's true. I really am here! I got in yesterday morning (overnight flights are the BOMB! uh, yeah...right...) and spent the whole day at home with family. John-Peter isn't just a picture on facebook anymore, he is wonderful! Yesterday I took a recovery nap and woke up to my sister bringing him in to snuggle with me while she ran over to our other sister's house. He is still in that stage where he has lots of skin but is waiting for the chubs to fill it, and his cheeks win the Most-Kissable-Things-on-Earth award, hands down.

Today I went to IHOP, and my heart smiled a million smiles. People remember me! Yay! I saw Josiah, and Wes, and then I saw my Christina and nearly burst into tears with joy. I love her so much, and just seeing her face and hearing her voice made my day. Just walking through the halls of the base felt so familiar and warm and fuzzy. :) Plus, there was some girl I don't know at my desk doing my job. I guess it's not my job anymore. Oh, I knew that.

Basically, this is wonderful. Tonight, I am going out on the town with my sisters because my brother has been married to Dora for 5 years! He is deployed, though, and asked us girls to take her out to celebrate. Little black dress, I am glad I packed you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For the Record

I have French final in 40 minutes.

I am [obviously, since I'm blogging] having such a hard time focusing to study, though, because...

I'm going home tonight!!

*do the happy dance*

I guess I'm hoping my French subconscious kicks into high gear during the test. French subconscious? You there?

*****

Addendum: I realized that every time I look at the picture I posted yesterday, I wonder if my blog readers are thinking things like: "Man, that looks like it might be a cool sweater! I wonder what the rest of that sweater looks like. I wonder where she got that sweater..." and on and on, which I guess only goes to show that I like my sweater. It's like my sweater subconscious letting me know it was good buy or something. I mean, of course it was a good buy: I got it for $2. The best things in life are $2. Or something.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coming to you Live from the Library

Here is me. I am in the library. Today, rather than working like mad among the rows of harried students upstairs, I am down in the computer dungeon. Only thing is, it's not really a dungeon because it's full of fancy 20" or so iMacs.

I sat down and realized: hey! I'm on a mac! I could take a picture!

Then I thought: that could potentially be really embarrassing, if someone sees me taking a picture of myself.

Then I thought: nah, it's worth it for the blog.

You're welcome.

I thought about taking a re-do, but then I decided against it. 1) because I look disheveled, and I figured it's okay to give you an accurate representation of myself right now and 2) the only thing more embarrassing than people watching you take a picture of yourself once is people watching you take a picture of yourself twice.

I enjoy this iMac. I enjoy it so much in fact, that I am about to bestow upon it the honor of being where I finish my English paper. It feels so honored; it told me so. Here I go.

Countdown: 18.5 hours until my piano jury, 23 hours until I'm done with my last final, 33.5 hours until I board an airplane, 39.5 hours until sisters.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sing a Song of Jubilation

I would like to say that Kansas City is welcoming me on Thursday with a high of 46 degrees. In the middle of winter - that's amazing! Too add to the joy, weather.com showed me a little picture like this:
Well, hello there little sun! I know Tacoma has been quite sunny recently, but something about leaving the Pacific Northwest, known for its clouds, and arriving at a place with such a friendly sun picture is heartwarming.

I just finished my Statistics final, which means two of my classes are completely finished! I have two sleeps until I get on an airplane and take a red-eye back to the Midwest, where Samuel is walking (he wasn't when I left) and John-Peter is cooing (he definitely wasn't doing that when I left, unless babies have conversations with themselves in utero) and Ariel is dancing, and...and...it's just so wonderful.

I would like to officially declare myself thankful to the Lord for 1) keeping me alive during finals 2) Christmas break and 3) book buybacks! Seriously, someone just handed me cash! Put cash! In my hand! In case I needed a boost of Christmas joy, there it was.

Song of jubilation, indeed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rolling those works...

It's 10:29. The night is young.

In the library. Took ibuprofen. Have the water and the snacks. Last night I brought chocolate but tonight? Tonight I brought a cheesestick, an apple, the chocolate, a peppermint brownie, and a little bag of cold chicken pesto pasta.

I also have a sign. I made it last night, after I google-chatted with Amy about how I really have no idea about the answers to the prompt for one of my final papers, cried a little, and then the Lord nudged my little heart into courage through this verse:

Proverbs 16:3~ Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

So I made a sign of it and propped it up on the computer.

I also have a schedule my friend Helen made me of how to finish everything for my finals. So many people have survived college! I will too, right?

I am so thankful that no matter how many times I say it, no matter how "normal" my struggles might be or "unimportant" as something like schoolwork might sound, the Lord is my helper. Even in this, the Holy Spirit reminds me of things I need to write or where to find information. He sits with me and talks with me and is the reason I can stay awake.

***

Tonight we had a Christmas party and we went caroling! If you have never been caroling before, you must do it! Take small children with you, small children make everything more fun. :) Sing fun songs and the kids will love it and your neighbors will LOVE it. Caleb started walking around singing: "Joy to da wooord, aaah da boys an guhhhs..." Yay for Christmas parties!

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Finals are Coming! The Finals are Coming!

Please tell me at least one of you saw that movie when you were little: "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!" Maybe me and Laura were the only ones, but I doubt it.

Finals are upon us. Our last classes are this Wednesday (count it...TWO DAYS), and then Thursday and Friday makes up what my school calls "Reading Period." I like to think romantic thoughts about spending Thursday and Friday being incredibly studious and learning everything I could possibly learn about the French language, but I'm guessing those days will consist more of getting some sleep, running a little, maybe an impromptu accompanying to Costco with Jena and the kids, and a little parlez vous Francais? thrown in just for fun.

What did your schools call this period of agony time right before the big week? Chris takes great issue with the fact that my school uses such a lifeless name as "Reading Week." I guess PLU calls it "Dead Week." Those Lutes, always bein' honest.

My friend and I walked into church last night and Chris immediately saw the fatigue on our faces. "What's wrong? You've got that look..." {Can I just say, the people I live with can totally read me? I mean, I know I'm not the hardest person to read, but Chris & Jena can pick up on stuff in an instant!} I begrudgingly answered: "Oh, my paper...it's not going so well."

A few minutes later Lindsay and I were just standing around, waiting for stuff to start and Chris passed us again. This time, a simple one-liner (in a very happy tone of voice, I might add, which was completely opposite of the looks on our faces): "You're being anxious... [and then ever so matter-of-factly:] That's a sin." Then a few minutes later he passed us again with a one-word reminder: "sin!" He was totally being funny, but man...I was convicted! It is sin! Even when finals are coming up! Even when you totally bombed that last test! Even when for some strange reason your fingers just will not move the way Mendelssohn wants them to! Sin! Sin, sin, sin! Anxiety is sin!

~ Philippians 4:6 (ESV)~
"Do not be anxious about anything."

~ 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) ~
"...casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you."

~ Matthew 6:27 (ESV) ~
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to the span of his life?"

I'm fairly sure Jesus knew that finals [insert your anxiety here] would come up when He chose to banish anxiety. Do you think the omniscient God forgot that you would have a hard day on December 7, 2009 or that your job wouldn't pay enough to cover rent or that your child would be away in a far off land when He said that you don't have to worry? You don't have to worry at all. Not at all. He cares more about you than you care about yourself.

So I am asking the Holy Spirit for help to set my mind set on the things of God. He is working something in me during this week of finals, I know it.

If you need me to walk by you and whisper a little reminder about sin, just let me know. :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Blog in which I write about nothing in particular, in an attempt to vent my nonsense BEFORE the final paper.

As I begin this blog, the Muppets have begun to sing in my kitchen about the merriness that should encompass your Christmas. Hey, it's Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Can I just put my vote in on something? It's inspired by Emery... I like eggnog. [really like, even!] I also like eggnog lattes, but they're best when you put a little pump of vanilla syrup in them.

Speaking of lattes, have I told you that I'm basically a barista now? The people I live with are big coffee fans, and I've been taught the art of steaming milk and pouring tiny glasses of creamy brown liquid stuffs into said milk. Oh, it is a glorious thing.

Also, I like chocolate. And the strength of my affinity for rice krispy treats is alarming, considering I'm supposed to be somewhat grown up now, or sumfin.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Take a Deep Breath

This morning I hit the snooze button for a very long time. Don't ask how long, because I don't want to tell you.

Then I laid there and told the Lord quite plainly: "I really don't want to go to school. I'm tired..." and on I went. It was like a continuation of last nights question I put to Jena: "Would it be wrong to skip school tomorrow?" Then (Praise the Lord, I know He made this possible) I sat up, turned on my light, grabbed my Bible, turned on some worship and started going through what you might call a warm-up for the day. It's more important than coffee to stave off that caffeine headache I've started getting. It's more important than picking out the right sweater or getting my eyeliner on in a somewhat orderly fashion.

I know we are called to constantly search out the Lord, without the need for a crisis to arise and make us cry out for help, but I don't feel guilty about telling you that this morning was a desperate reach for oxygen just to be able to get out of bed and on with my day. The only thing that will get me through these classes, the big paper, and piano practice is life and truth, straight from the source. So with that, my heart opened up with each verse:

"For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God -- His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true."

"...we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf..."

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

and the one I quoted to Chris & Jena for how I was going to get through today: "For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me."

I need His energy, I'm really glad He gives it. Hope is confident expectation of good, and THAT is what Jesus sent me out the door with this morning.

It's only two weeks until Christmas break! I have stuff to do [ahem, finals]...but it is so close, and I am going to keep taking deep breaths and running on His energy and grace. See you soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Somebody Else Can Drive

I remember walking down the hallway in Jones Hall at school and thinking: "that could be a fun thing to blog about," but it has taken me a second to remember what that fun thing was. I think I twittered it, but now I can blog about it so that you, whoever you may be that still reads this sparsely updated blog, may be entertained, informed, and generally edified.

There is something here in WA called "The Pass". I heard about it here, there, and everywhere. 'Oh, you have to go over the Pass.' 'Oh, wouldn't you have to drive through the Pass?' 'that was a great Pass!' oh wait...uhhh...

Eventually I caught on: all true Washingtonians talk about the Pass. So I did what any good acclimater would do: I started talking about the Pass. 'Isn't that over the Pass?' 'Don't you want to avoid the Pass?' 'Please Pass the salad dressing.' I didn't really know what it was...until tonight. I asked about it, because I might be going somewhere next week, and 'the Pass' divides me and that somewhere.

It's snowy. It's cold. It's wet. It's wind-y. There are cliffs on the two sides. The term "the Pass" is actually a misnomer, because there are multiple passes, some of which are better kept than others. There are mountains dividing Eastern and Western Washington, so coming from Tacoma (Western WA, next to the water) you have to drive through the snowy mountains to get to the desert of Eastern Washington. It's somewhat intimidating, and even though Tacoma won't have snow on Thanksgiving, the big P probably will.

Whatever, I think Sasquatch might be hiding there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Freedom. {from pants. kinda sorta.}

Oh boy, there is just so much going on! How to sum it up in one blog post? It may or may not be impossible. In fact, it probably is, so...I will pick one thing and write about it. I want to write about it, because there are so many women struggling with this, and God is doing a work in my life, that I hope will be used to be a signpost to others that there is freedom and peace to be found in Jesus.

The amazing lady I live with and her friends have a ministry called "Am I Beautiful?" They do a set of four sessions for girls, with worship, teaching, and prayer. Calling it a ministry makes it sound so official...basically they each have their stories of the way Jesus set them free. Yes, set free from body image and self-hatred, but I love that when they talk, those issues are only the beginning. When it comes down to it, these women are full of life and overflowing from being in love with Jesus, and they get to tell younger women about what it's like to live for Jesus and know His freedom.

They did an Am I Beautiful? series at my college last month, and one of my friends got saved!! Is there a way to describe with words how wonderful that is??

Jena and the ladies finished the series at UPS, and then last Tuesday began another one for girls from a local high school. I went to it, and heard Jena's testimony again. It is POWERFUL! She challenged: you are made in the image of God! You can look at the mountains and see God's creation, and be moved to praise Him, but the mountains weren't made in His image! How many times have you looked in the mirror and praised the Lord: "Wow, God! You did a GOOD WORK here!"

So my story...my story is that while I listened to Jena's testimony, I was convicted over something, something I had forgotten, something I hadn't even thought of before: the pants. Those brown ones, sitting in the bottom of my drawer. Let me tell you the story of the pants.

I began struggling with self-hatred at a VERY young ago (think 4). You can look at my school pictures, I was a stick through 2nd grade, because my mom couldn't get me to eat anything; I still don't have revelation of why. A few years ago, what was it -- my 2nd/Junior year of high school -- I began to exercise hard, and started limiting what I ate. I never stopped eating completely, but I most certainly was not just "being healthy." While I physically got thin, I was terrified on the inside. Absolutely terrified. I felt like I was on the edge of the cliff of an eating disorder, and I thought over and over and over again: "What in the world?! How can Anna Peterson be struggling with this?" I felt like I had such a reputation to hold up, and this most certainly was not the way to do it. Terrified really is the word. People tried to reassure me that I was just being healthy, but I just knew that it was more than that.

On the outside, I seemed fine. It made me smile when people told me how tiny I was. I could outrun all the boys at school. And the pants...I went shopping with my sister one day to one of the cutest stores I know of, and on the clearance rack found these brown pants, in a smaller size than I'd ever worn before. After trying them on, I went up to buy them, and I remember my sister looking at them, looking at me in shock, and whispering: "Annie...you're a size _??" with concern. I bought them and went on my way.

When I moved to Kansas City, things got better. I stopped restricting what I ate, and generally the Lord brought healing and restoration to every area of my life. Things got better in the physical (glory!), but I still thought about it, and I held myself to standards that were not from the Lord.

This is where the pants come in. Since then I have had more and more breakthrough... Let me just take a moment and say to the ladies: be bold about this! You were not made to meet a standard the world sets; you were made in the image of God, and He did a GOOD work when He made you! You are beautiful. I absolutely recommend practically walking this out. Stand in front of the mirror and praise the Lord, look at yourself and say with your mouth (the power of life and death is in the tongue) that you are beautiful, and perfect just the way you are. It will affect you! Guard your eyes, when you walk past the windows and the mirrors, from sizing yourself up for the 20th time that day. Encourage other women that they are beautiful, tell them their eyes shine, turn the focus off yourself!

So fast forward to Tuesday night...I realized that I have kept those pants in the bottom of my drawer, even though they don't fit anymore. Every time I saw them, I would think: "Well, not today, but maybe some day again..." That was not freedom! The Lord convicted me on Tuesday on this piece of it all...I am not going to be held to that standard! I had to get rid of the pants. As soon as we got home, I ran downstairs, grabbed them and handed them off to Jena. It was so freeing to be able to say "I never need to be that size again ever. Ever. Ever. Ever." I never want to live in that bondage ever again, ever.

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for FREEDOM! Thank You for freedom. Thank You that you call me lovely. Thank You that You set Your children free. Know the truth, ladies! You are beautiful, created to display the glory of God. You, right now, no matter what size you are, no matter how straight your hair is, no matter how defined your cheek bones are (oh, I know the thoughts)...you display the glory of God! Live it, because you do. You have a purpose, and the enemy has stood with his foot on your neck for too long, trying to subdue that purpose. You are made to radiate who Jesus is, and who He made you to be shines to glorify Him. Self-hatred has no place in you. No place at all.

You belong to Jesus.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Ask

There are times when I turn on the webstream to the Prayer Room, and everything turns around. When I'm feeling bogged down, the worship of the Lord happening in that room fills my ears and things change. Some days, it's like a specific gift from the Lord sent from Kansas City, just for me: today Luke Wood sang a song I've been wanting to hear for a long time, and I was convinced Jesus did it just for me. :)

Yesterday, sitting in my office, my heart started that pull down off of joy, and it bobbed right back up as Laura Hackett got on the stage and started singing the songs of the Lord.

There is no pit too deep that Jesus cannot reach
There is no sorrow so strong that could overtake His beloved one.

He's brought me to the wilderness where I will learn to sing.
And He lets me know my barrenness so I will learn to lean.

Beautiful Mercy, do what You have to do.
Jealous Lover, do what You have to do to bring forth love in me.
then

What do I do here in the waiting?
What do I do with my unsatisfied heart?
What do I do here in the waiting?
Here in the tension of believing again and again and again.

There's a lack, there's a gap in my soul
Between the things that I believe and I know

Holy Spirit, You who fill
All in All, come and fill me
Holy Spirit, come hold me together

I love that last stanza. We so often see the lack, or we become unsatisfied with where our heart is. We know we want more -to be more surrendered, to understanding His love more, whatever it may be- and we know God has more. But I so often forget! When we see this gap, our eyes can turn and see the One who fills all in all. He can fill us, and we must be willing to make space by throwing off "the sin which clings so closely".

He is the Helper -- have you asked Him for help recently?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Second Thought for the Day. Whoa, I'm on a roll.

My last post may have seemed like one big advertisement, but I promise, I just got a little excited about all these powerful teachings I've been hearing!

Here, now, is my second group of thoughts for today.

I believe it wouldn't be a stretch to come to a conclusion right here and now about college. I know, I know, I'm only about seven weeks in, but here's the deal.

There are many, many subjects you study. You might be in a class about politics, but you'll talk about the global food crisis. You can imagine how many subjects my Suburban/Urban America class has broached.

I know I'm new at this, but it seems to me that the point of studying these problems is two (well, maybe three)-fold. 1) to understand more about the world around you. 2) to identify how they affect you in your own life. and my main thought, number 3) To figure out how maybe we could solve the problem. I mean, who wants to look at (let alone spend thousands of dollars to hear about) a problem and then say "oh well, that's a doozy of a problem. Too bad for the world." Uhhhhhhhhh.

So whenever I look at, or read about, or listen to a lecture about these problems, the wheels of my mind get a'turnin'. They kind of creak out of stillness with this sort of thought: "hmmm...this is a problem. There should be an answer to this problem. I wonder what the answer is..." and then get a good roll started with something like "what if this person changed the way they thought..." See now, this sort of thought only lasts a second or two as it quickly tumbles into: "well, what would the Bible say about how this person could change the way they think?" Which, in turn leads to full speed ahead, race-winning pace thinking that simply goes like this: "They could get SAVED!" It's brilliant. No really, I promise, it's brilliant. And I can say that because I didn't think of it.

It all comes back to Jesus. I dare say there will never be a problem where you can leave God out of the solution. You got a global Food Crisis? Jesus has a plan to come back and establish perfect justice across the world. You got hatred across racial lines? When invited in, Jesus changes everything about the way a person thinks and makes him able to think more highly of his neighbor than of himself. You got a complicated Calculus problem? MAN, God is brilliant, and guess what? He's even orderly in the way He created everything! You know how I know? Math works!

Whenever we step out: into our classrooms, into our workplaces, into our grocery stores, into our pizza parlors, we have to step out with our feet strapped with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace. Glue the Bible to everything you do. Everything. At no point in time will you EVER be going too far by applying the Bible to what you're facing or thinking about. In fact, you're in big trouble if you ever try to separate yourself, your thinking, or your problem-solving from the absolute truth.

Afraid of being a "Bible-thumper"? Knock that fear right out of your head: it's true, you are called to speak in love with grace and gentleness, but you are never, ever, ever called to separate that speech from the Truth. Back-door discipleship -- it's really great, you should try it if you haven't already. You can speak Biblical truths without even saying they're from the Bible! Bit by bit, you'll be speaking truth to deaf ears around you and, the truth will begin setting them free and eventually they'll want to know where (ahem...from WHOM) you get all this truth that makes up a pretty wild way of living. Don't be afraid! Be bold with the fact that you know the answer. Really, it's not prideful to say the way of the Bible, the road that by God's grace you are walking on, is the only way. Because it is. It's the only way, and you don't have any time to waste being afraid that you'll offend people.

Because guess what? No matter how much this world rails against it, what the Bible says is still true, and what it says is going to happen is still going to happen. "When the saints come marching in, I wanna be in the number..." Imagine yourself dumped in the middle of the ocean with a lifeboat, except the people you're with think they can make it to the African coast on their own, just swimming. Are you gonna bail the lifeboat, just because people don't think it's cool? No way! You're going to call to them, and tell them the truth, that the only way they're going to survive is to get in the lifeboat with you. It really is that serious. That person, whoever they may be, that you talk to tomorrow is probably headed to eternal misery, because they don't know what Jesus did for them on that cross.

Maybe you should tell them.

Putting the Pieces Together

I may be putting them together in a blog post, but I'm not necessarily weaving them altogether. Ha.

1. Bob Sorge has been at City Central this weekend, and it has been amazing. There is a power of God on his teaching; he has truly been refined by the fire, and if he's talking, you want to listen. If you have any chance to read what he's written, or listen to his preaching, DO IT! [I just went to his ministry's website for the first time, and they have free sermon downloads! Blog-reading friend, I'm telling you, you will not regret downloading those and learning from this man. His voice was damaged in a surgery 17 years ago, so he can't speak above a whisper and not for very long. It has been the crisis of his life, and there is SUCH FRUIT of the way he has walked with God since.]

It was really exciting to have him and his family here, because it was like I could just look up, and the front row looked like Kansas City! This morning I got to talk with Anna and get caught up on the Kansas City news, and it was wonderful. I LOVE being here in Tacoma, AND I love Kansas City!

2. I've been listening to John Bevere's teaching series on Honor. I am so thankful for all the resources that the family I live with have that I get to share. Messages and books...it's wonderful. :) I am getting blown up by this series! There are principles of honor in the Bible that I have never seen before: like Hannah...when Eli accused her of being drunk, she responded to him with honor. Jesus was limited in what miracles He could do in a place because the people there didn't honor Him. Anyways, yet again...if you can get the book or hear the teachings, do it! I am being so encouraged and challenged! If you're going to listen, be ready to get convicted and repent. :)

3. I have homework. Adios.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's not about me. Or you, in fact.

I don't exactly know how to describe the way I feel about Randy & Kelsey Bohlender. They are close friends, but I admire them greatly. They've mentored me in rough moments, but then just poured me fizzy lemonade at others. They basically live the life I want to live. It's true. Getting to run with them in the last year was something the Lord used to put dreams in my heart. I just want to share with you Randy's explanation of why they do what they do. Read it here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Phenomenon

Funny how I leave Kansas City and...begin learning more from Mike Bickle.

One of the little boys I live with likes to ask me: "Annie, is Mike Bickle at IHOP?" Oh, I wish you could hear his little inflection of "AYE-hop". :)

When I moved here, I obviously started college. One of the phenomenons of college is that all of a sudden, you have no free moment. You might have an hour where nothing is scheduled, but there are two different readings you could be working on then, or you could be practicing piano, or you could be formulating potential research topics for a paper that's not due for two months but your teacher gave you the info sheet yesterday. Yeah, any of those things.

So I move into my house and the amazing (really, she is AMAZING) lady I live with began telling me about Mike's message: "The Power of a Focused Life." You know, there a lot of Mike's messages I flew away from Kansas City never having heard, and that is one of them. So she handed me her iPod and told me to listen to it, and we'd go over my schedule.

It's about living with purpose! Making your time fruitful! Think of that - what if you made a conscious decision to spend your time in a way that bore fruit?! His (and mine now :) action plan is this: write out your LIFE goals (where do you want to be when you're 50) and then out of that draw short term goals, which will help you take steps to fulfill the life goals. Then, of course, your schedule begins to reflect that.

I have life goals that I can't do while I'm in college, but I can start looking at what majors would best prepare and equip me to work towards those goals. So, going on my calendar is a slot of time to sit down with the school bulletin and look at what I could study.

See? Simple as that. Try it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

In which I summarize

Hello.

My name is Annie, and I do still enjoy blogging.

The past few weeks have been a blur. College is...college!

It's been a very interesting time. It's like I have to remind myself that my identity is not what classes I'm taking or how much homework I should do before I go to sleep. My life...my life is not school. My life is hidden with Christ. My call right now? Be at school, do the work, be a light. But my identity? Daughter of the King.

It's a fight, this college life. I came fully knowing my purpose. In fact, I still know it. Jesus told me to come to this university and tell people about him. Basic, preach the gospel, 101. It's happening. I couldn't tell you all the Divine set-ups, the times the Lord's whispered something only to have it happen, the times He tells me to talk to someone and it bears fruit. He has a plan for this place, for these people, and I know it because He is acting. Friends, I go to one of the most liberal universities in the state of WA (in fact, my school is 6th on the list of prestigious schools with the least amount of Christian representation. SIXTH.) and I am having people I barely know say to me: "Can I come to church with you?" It's wild.

The work is intense, but, big surprise!, it turns out to be a teachable moment in multiple ways. Actually, I may just post a journal entry about that as its own post.

I do miss home; but I'm learning that even as I miss it and stay connected the IHOP family, I must guard my heart from day-dreaming about being back there and losing vision for why I am here.

One comment said that people would like to hear about my classes. French is going well. I'm not fluent yet, but at least I can say "J'adore Jesus." A friend was pointing out to me the other day that I never know when it might be useful to be able to share the gospel in French!

Statistics
is actually somewhat enjoyable. That's about all there is to say about that, unless you want to know something about taking a stratified sample from a population of mountain goats in Eastern Swaziland.

International Political Economy is in a victory spot at the moment. Today I handed in my first mid-term paper, written on the economic stimulus bill Congress passed this past February. I was part of a group that had to present on the Financial Crisis during these past two weeks, and I'm actually kind of thankful that I learned more than I knew before. What? You actually learn at college? CRAZY!

English is, umm, probably the most difficult class for me. It's not because of the workload, but more because it is the class where I most run into the ideologies that do not submit themselves to Christ. This is the class where I sit and think "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity." There is so much the human mind can choose to think about and dwell on, and let me tell you,fallen men philosophizing and theorizing on their own apart from the Holy Spirit is not very edifying. Today I sat in class and alternated between feeling like my blood was racing through me at triple speed and just laughing to myself, because my views are just so different. We were talking about gender roles today... Our reading was somewhat feminist and quite anti-marriage, and I had to take a break and intake a verse that is now on my list of favorites:

"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her..." ~Prov. 31

Today I came out with saying that the author was wrong to assume that women from the 1950's were lying when they said they were most fulfilled by spending their lives raising their families and gave what could probably be put down as one of the theses of my life: "I honestly think raising children is one of the most important things you can do." I'm thankful for a friend from that class who, after we moved onto our next class, agreed with me about having a different view: "I know...I'm kind of scared to say that I want to be a mom." What would it take to see a change in what is taught? Salvation. That's what it would take.

It's interesting in my work to get to the point of "yeah, we do have all these problems...but Jesus is coming back and will make all the wrong things right." In a discussion about Political Economy, we were talking about how what would be the right solution doesn't actually always happen because of partisan politics. This made me think (and tweet): one day, Jesus is going to come back and be the perfect King, and rule in absolute righteousness and justice, with no politics or cynicism. I look forward to that day.

So here I am, I'm in college, and the Lord is holding me up. I'm praying for provision (my computer is not very happy), and I'm learning how to walk in my identity in the Lord, and I'm learning how to war for the purposes of the Lord in my life, and I'm learning how to hold up my shield of faith, and I'm learning how to tell people about Jesus... The list could go on and on and on of what God is doing in this season, but MAN! all of it is good.

"He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD."
~Psalm 40:3

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Will Survive

Today I floated home with a huge smile on my face.

You see, I left the house feeling beat up. A friend of mine once described it as feeling "like target practice for the enemy." I had a hard time surviving my first class and knew that if I didn't get whatever this weight was lifted off of me, I would spend the next three classes struggling to catch my breath.

I called Amy, nearly in tears, just asking if she would go to the Lord with me. Before we even asked what was causing this turmoil, she prayed: "Lord, I just ask that whatever this is coming against Annie, that you would just defend her, Jesus..." and the door of my heart opened a little bit wider to peace. She heard from the Lord what it was, I repented, we broke it off, and I could breathe again. That weight -- it's called false guilt and condemnation -- is exactly that: a weight. You walk around with your shoulders slumped and your mind racing to figure out what in the world you did wrong and how in the world you could do better?

And then the Lord brings clarity and conviction and you realize: "What am I doing? Jesus BOUGHT me! His blood washes me totally and completely clean! DUDE!" (Or at least, that's how it goes in my head. :)

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." ~Romans 8:1-2

So that was victory #1. The Lord's power is real, friends! It literally took a few minutes with Jesus and my entire day turned around.

I'm thankful that I got out of English early, because I got to run to the cafeteria and buy food. I had a hunch it was the wise thing to do, or else my brain might shut off somewhere between regression lines and Bonjour!

Then I got my Statistics test back...the one I thought I might fail. 88. 88!! EIGHTY-EIGHT! I texted my whole family and got the best response ever from my dad:
"Yayyy. R.u. Getting nuff sleep n good.food.. Must. Keep. In good health. Love. U much. Dad"

I seriously adore texts from my dad. He's not ashamed to stay he's still figuring the whole texting scene out, and these kinds of texts are the results. Seriously, I love them.

Then I went to French. And I found out my grade for last week's test. That other one I thought I might fail; yeah, that first test ever of college. Ummm...WAY better grade than I thought!

Thus, I floated home happy. Absolutely, blissfully happy.

Tonight I babysat the kiddos so their parents could go on a date. There's something different about babysitting to facilitate dates. Someone can ask: "hey - can you watch our kids? We have a meeting..." but then you get a text saying: "Hey, could you watch our kids tonight so I can take my wife on a date?" I just well up inside and it's a different feeling: "You want to take your hero wife out, and give her some rest, and tell her she's wonderful, and get to talk without a child asking you for something every 30 seconds? Yes! Yes, I'll watch your children! Go, quick, leave, get out of here!" Yay dates.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Zuchinni Bread. Or Cake. Or Zuchinni Cake.

So, I don't necessarily have the ability to piece together a real blog post at the moment. I'm actually needing to go to bed... I arrived home from classes and such today ready to weep from exhaustion and envisioning myself collapsing onto the couch or crumbling onto the kitchen floor. Thankfully, I stayed upright, kept my wits about me, and did some dishes. Oh yeah, also somewhere in there I thought: "hey, maybe I just need to eat...all I had was a bagel and a white mocha somewhere around English o'clock in an only-slightly successful attempt to wake myself up." In response to that thought, I grabbed an apple and paced and cried. That's right, people...pacing while eating an apple. That should count as my personal "chew gum and pat your stomach" or whatever that deal is.

The burrito I microwaved for dinner and some intense webstreamage helped, and I have actually gotten some good relaxation in tonight, involving candles and a Misty set. I also got a good piece of homework done. What a night!

To top it all off, I got to skype with:

1) my niece Ariel's birthday party...the Kansas City folk were looking as wonderful as ever and Samuel is walking. Walking, I said.

2) my sister and nieces in Hawaii!! The girls were adorable, my sister was as beautiful as ever... and lastly,

3) my brother, who is currently off of his floating city at his first port of the deployment. Yay Sam!

Now onto what I was actually planning on saying. Reading Jessica's blog never fails to make me smile, think to myself "man, I wish I could write like that", or just plain laugh out loud. Tonight, this post in particular was enjoyable, and it reminded me of a quotable from a few weeks ago.

I was in the middle of one of my preliminary attempts at baking in Tacoma (I'll admit I have gotten a little worried that I had forgotten to pack the cake anointing when I came...though the people I live with assure me it can't be true), and Jena stopped and said to me: "Annie! Your husband is going to rise up and call you blessed: "YES! I married a baker!"

And that's my quotable, folks. Tune in next time for a recap of Statistics homework. Er, I mean, oh nevermind.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Absence is Explainable

Oh, there is so much I could write. I logged onto blogger tonight to find out that there is also so much I could read. My life has been hijacked by college. I don't know what I expected, but somehow I forgot that part of being on a college campus is, uh, being in college, and let's just say I have hardly read any blogs in the past weeks, much less wrote any (which you well know).

Since it is 11:45pm, and though I am reveling in the glory of having just finished my four-page paper, the truth is I have more to read. Writing for the general public's edification and encouragement (hopefully) will have to wait for the weekend (which is only, like, 20 hours away). I'll leave you with this: tonight, in trying to survive Paper-Mania, I began going through the Jesus Culture songs on YouTube. We've all heard "How He Loves", but the other ones I have somehow missed out on. Don't ask how many times I listened to "Your Love Never Fails", or "Your Love is Everything"...and then there was this one. These are the kinds of verses that make me just melt into begging the Lord to let me write songs. Listen to it a few times, rewind it so you can hear it again: "Words can never say the way He says my name..."

Friday, September 18, 2009

News Bulletin

Since I lasted posted, I've flown across the entire country twice, attended a miracle wedding, been on a real New Jersey boardwalk, gotten kicked out of my house temporarily by an emergency situation (the plan is to be back home on Monday), prayed a lot, cried a little, drank [not enough] coffee, been to class, zoned out in class, decided that no, I really don't know how to speak French, and made one brownie last three days.

But right now, all I really have to say is that it is 2:42 am, I have read my English book, done my French homework, attempted to do Statistics -- only to get through one problem in half an hour -- and am now moving onto International Political Economy.

Also, the goldfish container ran out at 1 o'clock. This is really a problem.

My friends who are doing the 6am in Kansas City are probably just waking up. Good morning, friends!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yippeeeeee!!!!

This time tomorrow, Lord-willing, I will be with my sisters and my mom on the East Coast.

Glory.

Seriously, could it be better timed? I spend a few weeks out on my own at college, get a feel for what it's like, then hop on a plane to be in the arms of the ones most dear. *Sigh* I'm happy.

The other night I just needed a hug...being away from all my sisters and friends in KC left me somewhat lonely, as I'm still trying to settle myself in the community here again. All the people are as amazing as before, I am just so preoccupied with school stuff and homework that I don't see them very often. This has led to me having to remind myself that I am not on an island. I have also decided that homework can always be done later (aka between Midnight and 3am) if it means I get to go spend some time with the people I'm dying to hang out with but haven't been able to.

In other news, an acquaintance from IHOP showed up at my back door! Literally, I saw a Tacoma friend's car outside, heard Jena talking to "Candace" and turned the corner to see a girl I totally know from IHOP! I had no idea she was coming, and I have a feeling that she won't be the last one to show up at my doorstep. :) As I twittered, if anyone else feels the need to hop on a plane and visit, I would love to see some more familiar faces.

Can I say I'm happy one more time? I'm HAPPY! I'm seeing my family tomorrow!!! Oooh...I need to pack.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Read it. And maybe read it one more time.

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.

~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (the Message)

Friday, September 04, 2009

One Week

"College is overwhelmingly busy. All of a sudden, you wonder if the rest of life exists anymore."

In a skype conversation with some friends tonight, I summed it all up this way. I'm sitting here, having enjoyed a vanilla chai and a snickerdoodle as a congratulations to myself on finishing a week of college.

I'm physically exhausted, every muscle in my body feels fatigued, but my spirit is alive and encouraged; at the same time, though, my heart is burdened.

Last night I read an assigned transcript of a speech, and as I finished the last line, all I could do was sit there and pray "Oh, God..." Below the end of the text I wrote Matthew 9:36:
When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
The level of hopelessness was astounding; when man tries to fix his own problems, disaster ensues. Everything comes to ruin apart from God. Everything. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

I sat in class on Wednesday and just thought: "I can think of nothing worse than not knowing Jesus..." I am tenaciously thankful for being in this spot where salvation is coming up close and personal again. My heart, by the grace of God, it can no longer be cold toward the lost, because now they're my friends. I want them to know Jesus. I will fight and pray...fight and pray, until they know the Man who died for them.

I want this compassion to grow every day -- the compassion Jesus felt when He saw the lost. Harassed and helpless... Oh, that they would know the kindness and tenderness of Jesus. Oh, that they would know Him. Oh, that they would know.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Beginning

This morning I looked out my little basement window and decided that, like the other days of the past week, the morning might look cloudy and rainy but soon the sun will peek out and shine joy all around.

I thought about what to wear to my first day of classes, and knew I had made a brilliant plan last night but couldn't remember what it was. Finally it came back: red shoes! Sadly, this plan became impossible, as my white shirt is in the laundry basket. Plan B became a purple shirt and black flats that click when I walk. I'll be changing those shoes before my next class.

I got hugs and high-fives from the little boys I live with, ran out the door, and leaped down the stairs to the sidewalk. I thought I wanted a upbeat, high tempo song to pump me up, but ended up listening to Tim sing about joyfully not being able to wait. There is a mist in the air, that at first makes you wonder if you're being rained on, but then you realize that instead it's a cool, wet breath pressing on your face. The tops of the high evergreens are surrounded by fog, and it's a very Pacific Northwest morning.

The class itself was more of an overview of how to do the work and take the class, but that didn't change the fact that it was revolutionary, beginning something new. It happened -- I started -- I'm a college student.

Wow.

Music, music everywhere!



These are my lovely friends Christina and Chelsea, singing to me at my goodbye party. Christina and I have the sort of friendship where my heart just gets so full of love for her, and I'm reminded to look back at Jesus and say "You! You did this...thank you." There are just those people that you know Jesus set you up with, and Christina is one of those people in my life. We always talk about Jesus, and we laugh together, and we're still growing to know each other more with 2,000 miles between us. She said the grand goal of this song was to make me both laugh and cry in the process of one chord progression. It happened! Congratulations, girls...

Plus, don't they have the prettiest voices you've ever heard?

******

I just wanted to say that Amy is doing a give-away of Bethany Dillon's new cd! I only got my first cd of Bethany's a few months ago (even though I knew some of her songs already), and every time I listened to it, I just kept thinking that she would fit so well as a worship leader at IHOP! That's a set I want to be in. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Google Calendar is my friend

Click on the picture to see it bigger and know what I'm doing every moment of every day. Should this be on the interwebs?

I'm beginning to feel like my life is defined by various shades of blue, red, and one very burnt orange.

Classes mean studying, and music means practicing, and once everything adds up, I find myself scheduling every moment of my day. The yellow you see above is committed time to studying (and yes, I know I'll need more than that -- this schedule is still a work in progress). If you notice, the purple-ish colored boxes are labeled simply "Jesus". I HAVE to get time with him, or I will burn out in exactly 2.5 seconds. I think I'm even going to give myself set time to be on facebook or blogs, and I was planning on working in one mid-week nap, but the chance of that is looking slim. When I was working on this last night, I totally forgot about needing to schedule in work, which is a pretty bad thing to forget to schedule. Also, piano lesson. I should e-mail my teacher and say: "Sorry, my only available time for a lesson in Sunday morning at 6am. Work for you?"

I'm currently desperate to listen to Mike's Power of a Focused Life message, so as to jumpstart myself in this. Well, by the colors above, you can tell I've kind of already jumpstarted.

Using Google Calendar makes me happy. Something about the colors, and feeling like everything is organized, and figuring out the best way to alert myself to Chloe's birthday only being a week away... On my backpacking trip we had to share "guilty pleasures"; mine was reading Real Simple. Real Simple's tagline should be: "How to Make Everything in Your Life Perfect." Actually, it kinds of makes my perfectionism (that will die...it's a process) manifest like crazy. That and The Container Store -- the combination of the two would be scary.

Any tips on my schedule? New color to add? Schedule time to drink coffee? Actually a little "you will survive this" comment would be great right now, thanks.

**Also, if you look closely in the picture, the tab next to the Calendar is labeled "How to take a screenshot..." I put effort into my blogs. :)**

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The update of all updates

Pardon my partial absence from the blog for the past few days...starting a whole new life takes a little bit of time and energy. I intend to catch you up though, worry not.

A good portion of that energy was spent on a backpacking trip in the Olympic mountains. To orient you, here's a map:


So I live in Tacoma (see bottom right of map) and I hiked a mountain somewhere in the Olympic National Park. (I think...maybe we were in "Quilcene". I know we were in the actual park at some point). It's part of Orientation for school -- you get split into little groups, based on what activity you chose to do. I opted for backpacking in the mountains (a two-night trip), and got paired with a fun group, led by people who I now owe my life to. I mean, I wouldn't dare venture off on the side of a mountain and then sleep in the cold forest all by myself, but my leader Kevin is pretty much the outdoor expert at the college, and I'm alive.

As the name implies, we packed a ton of stuff into backpacks. There were all sorts of requirements: No Cotton, long underwear, fleece, summerweight wool, and the phrase "near-freezing temperatures" was thrown around as if it was as light as a badmitton birdie. I wasn't totally sure what to expect.

I got up early, said goodbye to my dad. (my dad came to make sure I was all settled here in Tacoma - WHAT A BLESSING! It was amazing; I'm so glad he came. He bought me nice things for my room to make it home and just totally blessed me being here) I boarded a bus, which proved to not be quite so simple as it sounds. Imagine me with a huge backpack on. Oh wait, here's a picture:

Okay, so we take off from the college, but as we get on the highway, we slowly begin to catch on that something's wrong because, well, we're going 35 in a 55 mile zone. 35 begins to turn into 25, which eventually turns into 15, and we start switching between driving in the breakdown lane and in normal traffic. Eventually a different bus has to come get us (after dropping off it's passengers at base camp). It was a hurdle, but we all made it. Throughout the rest of the trip, random things with my group kept going different than expected. We had to turn back on our first day and ended up camping at a different campsite than planned and switching our hike plans, and when we finally finished our trail at the end of the last day, our van (which was waiting for us at the end of the trail) wouldn't start! We tried to jump it


but it was actually, truly broken. Our leader got a ride down the main highway to get cellphone service, then sat there for an hour waiting for a new van to come pick us up. Adventure after adventure...

The hike itself was beautiful, and unlike anything I've ever done before. We didn't really do outdoors while I was growing up, so strapping on hiking boots and being in the woods was a fairly new experience. It was somewhat exhausting and my legs are still sore and stiff, but man was it cool. Our first real day of hiking was pretty much 5 miles straight uphill. It was really cloudy and foggy, so we couldn't see much of the view around us. Near the top it started getting really foggy and we only had about 300 feet of visibility with which to see the view of the rocky slope six inches from our toes. It was intense [and uber cool]. We set up camp at about 8,000 feet, got to know each other better, and layered up to stay warm. Bear bags were hung (that inspires confidence right before you climb into a tent made of one-centimeter-thick fabric), and water was filtered so as to avoid giardia, which is always important.

Our first night of camping we were all fairly warm. When we were up higher, though, I was cold all night. I found it to be such a crazy phenomenon - it got so warm as I hiked that I would have been comfortable in a t-shirt, but if we stopped walking and stood still I got cold fast. It was cool to feel so hot but pull out your water and have it be ice cold. We woke up in the morning to completely clear skies and got to see the breathtaking surroundings we had no idea we were in.


At the end, I was tired, ready to be home and filthy. I didn't actually get back to my house until 11:30pm or so, but I was determined to shower right then and get clean. I don't know where exactly the smell was coming from, but my clothes, my skin, my hair...all of it needed washing. My hair...my hair got all sweaty and then got cold, which left it with this weird coated feeling. My nails had lines of dirt underneath them, so I cut them (at midnight). Oh, it was lovely to be clean and get into clean sheets.

It was such a new experience, getting dunked into a totally new community where I didn't know anyone and didn't even have the common bond of the Lord with. I found out what it's like to truly be different -- to be the only one who cared about whether or not I slept in the same tent as a boy, to never have seen Harry Potter, to never have heard the music they were singing or tried the drugs they talked about. Talk about learning! I loved having the chance to connect with God up there...there were moments literally where I would pray and everything felt easier -- emotionally, physically...Jesus met me, and Holy Spirit walked with me.

The three days went great, and I loved getting to know people -- I could tell it made a difference when I got back and walked on campus; I feel like I have a community of my own now at the school, and I am stoked about building these friendships. Yay!


*************
I registered for classes today! I spent time looking over the classes the school offers and writing down the ones I thought sounded interesting, only to realize that I was forgetting to check whether or not they were freshman classes or upper level. When I went to meet with my advisors, we got it straightened out and after hearing my major interests, they suggested working toward International Political Economy as a major, and it sounds fascinating, so I'm taking the intro class, as well as Statistics (which will fulfill my math requirement AND perhaps come into play later for this major). My English class (which the college assigned me, after I listed it as 2nd or so on my preference list for a special required seminar) is called Sub/Urban America, and I'm not totally sure what it's about; the professor promised that people find it more interesting than they think it will, so hopefully it will turn out alright. I just hope we don't watch Edward Scissorhands (which I was forced to watch a clip of on a college visit in a class looking at suburban America...it was icky).

I have to say I'm most excited about French! Something in me is so happy every time I hear my sister speak any French, and after I found out that she learned everything she knows in college (with no classes before), I knew I wanted to take it. Can I just say, though, that the French textbook costs a whopping $168? How crazy is that?! It comes with an online learning deal, I believe, though, which helps explain it but still...craziness. My books:

Lastly, I'm taking private piano lessons! I don't know how they will compare to this one, but the teacher was overflowingly nice and made me feel like she was excited to know me and teach me and hear me play -- I am SO EXCITED! And choir...I signed up for the general university choir. You see, these two things make my heart smile, and getting back into them will be so fun {i hope}.

I'm starting to be able to walk around campus without a map, which is good. I ate at the cafeteria for the first time today, and in true Freshman 15 (I break that, I break that! ;) style, I had a grilled cheese sandwich on white bread and french fries. Don't look at me like that, I wanted to celebrate.

Let's be honest, getting food or ordering a drink at the coffee shop and just handing over a little swipe card with a magnetic strip filled with magical points gives you a nice feeling of power. It's as if you finally can feed yourself...that or the government is shelling out money so you can eat and sit in classrooms for four years. Either way, the grilled cheese was yummy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Welcome to the Northwest

Tonight, as we finished off a night of grilled steak and veggies at some friends' house, it began to rain.

On the way home my hosts made a comment about it looking like winter.

"Oh, is this what it's like in the winter?" says me.

"Annie, this is what it's like for the next seven months."

Oh, right. Hand me an umbrella.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I think I became a college student today

I walked onto campus for the first time (and stylin' no less -- hiking boots and massive backpacking gear!), passed my fellow students for the first time, and actually shook hands with other Loggers. I sat there wondering: "So, am I a Logger? Will I ever actually be a Logger? Do I have to get excited about football to be a Logger?" These are the deep questions of college existence.

I may have walked in feeling like a draft horse with blinders on -- "Uhhh...I'm just going to walk on, because I have no idea how to initiate with you", but I left with a huge smile on my face. Let me tell you...I left remembering that there is something different about me. I can think and strategize to the enth degree about the best way to get the Gospel on this campus, but tonight I was reminded that -- wait a minute! -- the Holy Spirit is in me! I don't have plan encouraging statement (Mr. Collins, anyone?) or glue my smile open as far as it can go. When I talk to people, there is something different about me that they don't encounter in the next person, and His name is Holy Spirit.

I am thankful to be here, and I am thankful that I get to be out on an adventure, I have a mission, I have a purpose, and I know why I'm here. It's not about studying 3rd century Rome or re-learning Chemistry and Spanish. Nope, my whisper to the Lord this morning as I sat before the Psalms and cried (for the only time today -- victory, eh Christina?) because I just wanted to be home with my sisters and in familiar Kansas City was "Oh Jesus, this is all for You." That puts it in perspective. He will sustain me; He's already doing it.

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me..."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Partying It Up

Apparently I always arrive in Tacoma during wedding season. The last time I came, I got picked up by OJ, brought to the house, changed, and got dropped off at a wedding. I walked in not having seen anyone in a year and began seeing everyone I loved! The most hilarious memory of that day is that Suz and OJ couldn't come to the ceremony, so I was there without a ride to the reception. I ended up riding in Moberg's big truck, aka the Present-Mobile. Classic.

Tomorrow is my dear, dear, dear friend Callie's wedding! She is marrying one of OJ's best friends, so OJ is in town (glory hallelujah!) to stand as best man. He stopped by my house this morning with my two bags that came with him, and I nearly cried at the sight of him. I successfully choked it back, gave him a hug, and was so thankful that a piece of home is here, even just for a few days.

In other news, I still haven't walked through my campus; I might attempt that this morning. There is a Convocation Ceremony at 4 - I have no idea what that is, but hopefully there'll be cake. (Probably not).

Stay tuned for more updates from the Annie-Goes-to-College Saga.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A nice, happy, light-hearted update

To update you all (and to make up for yesterday's tear-jerker), here I am blogging. Ta-da.

I think the most poignant indicator I've seen in myself so far that says "Annie is definitely in college" would be my menu today. I got to about 4pm and realized that all I had eaten so far was a few handfuls of goldfish (I have a bag with some left in it that I brought from Kansas City) and about eight Sour Patch kids.

After I ate my leftovers from dinner last night, Jena said to me: "How are you doing? You look a lot better!" The simplest answer was "Well, I ate dinner..."

And now here I sit, yet again offending every eating ethic (oh Tim, where are you and your nutrition tips now?!) in the book, munching on a cookies & cream chocolate bar that Amy bought me for my trip and downing a Gatorade. Let's hope this isn't a sign of the things to come.

---------------------

Did you know that putting two spaces after the ending punctuation of sentences when typing is no longer deemed necessary? Apparently, it was a trend that began back when computers were Bohemoths, and now that more people have computers than have dogs, you only need one space. Want to know more cool facts? Read the IHOP typeset and form manual.

--------------------

Tonight I walked into my room and thought exactly that: "Here's my room. There's my bed." I think that's a step in the right direction. I'm still living out of a suitcase (help! dresser needed!), but there's a candle on the sidetable, and that makes all the difference. I've begun doing normal things like laundry and dishes and that helps too. On the plane I was asking the Lord about this transition, and He told me to just take it one day at a time. Okay, I can do that. Whew.

-------------------

Yesterday I opened my suitcase to find that my entire bottle of Heat Tamer spray poured out and was soaked up by my belongings. I just sighed about it and moved on, until today I realized that my fancy dresses were in that bag. Sure enough, I pull them out of their garment bag, and they are soaked. The white one with big blue and green flowers I was planning on wearing this Saturday to a friend's wedding had a huge spot on it. One of the amazing ladies here in Tacoma drove me around today to drop it off at the cleaners, only to discover that they can't have it done until Tuesday. That's a bummer, except I didn't really have shoes to match it anyways. My other dress will have to work. I know, this is a thrilling story for you to read. Just wait until the dust bunnies jump out and the purple dinosaur chomps them and then everyone flies away.

{{{{who's still reading??}}}}

--------------------

Today one of the wives who was in Kansas City a few weeks ago picked me up to help me figure out all the stuff I need for my hiking trip. There were just so many layers of fleece and wool and long underwear and bandanas that I just didn't have. She took me to her house and handed over all her hiking gear, and I just stood there while she found the bug spray and got out the rain gear and loved me so well. Thank you Jesus for Paulette.

--------------------

Lastly, I haven't cried in two and a half hours. Sweet victory.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I moved.

I'm here. I'm alive. And I've been crying.

Honestly, the crying caught me off guard. I have been over the moon the last few days, just blown away by how much joy the Lord had given me...When I knew I could be all weepy over leaving Kansas City and every friend that means I don't see daily, etc., I had joy! I've been excited about moving to Tacoma, and excited about what the Lord's going to do. Even through the flights today, I was smiling, and just opened the Bible and went for it. I can't tell you how many phrases I underlined, my heart totally came alive just studying.

I got picked up from the airport and somewhere on that drive it hit me: I'm here, 2,000 miles away from all those people I love. The tears started coming, and they were still hard to hold back when I got to my new, beautiful home, and I keep having these feelings of needing to prove to everyone that I really am so happy to be here, but I'm sorry, for some reason at this second I can't stop crying because, well, you don't understand, Christina is just so wonderful, and I miss the prayer room, and I want to sit in that familiar briefing room and go make copies, and I miss those little kids, and me being gone is making Katrina cry... Thankfully, all these wonderful people I adore here keep smiling and saying: "Really, it's okay...it's hard! It's a big transition, and it will just take some time."

Jesus knew exactly what I needed. A couple teams from Tacoma spent the last few weeks in Kansas City, so when I saw them here, it was like I was seeing the really familiar people. Brian was here still, and we all went out to dinner, and it was the perfect welcome-back-to-Tacoma night for me.

So I am going to take their advice (and the Lord's -- He totally spoke to this before I came, of not giving in to a pressure to be strong), and give myself a few days.

In other news, would you like to hear the funny parts of my trip here? Yes? OKAY!

So, I carried my guitar around with me and got what seemed to me an odd number of comments. None of them were mean, but I guess people just aren't used to the idea of taking instruments on planes. One guy in the Starbucks line said to me: "So, you carry that on? Where do you put it?" The security guy said to me as I walked through the medical detector: "Either a folk singer or a rocker..." as if he was trying to peg me as one or the other. Ummm, neither, I thought.

Really the only other funny story I can remember is that once I picked up my bags, I wasn't sure how to move them all. Two huge bags, plus a guitar, plus a heavy backpack on my back, and I needed to get myself and all of it out to the sidewalk. For a while I just did a relay system. Move one bag and the guitar a few feet, then go back and get the other one. Finally I figured out I could carry the guitar sideways, on top of one of the suitcases.

Goodnight, people, I'm tired. Please come visit me in Tacoma. Thanks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

True Religion

Tonight, in reading through some blogs, I found myself once again directed to the Loux's blog and have to share it. Reading the post that updates about the progress of their boys since they arrived from Ukraine five months ago made me smile and tear up. What a wonderful, wonderful thing God is doing.

I love watching it, this adoption movement beginning. I know God loves adoption, because He did it first. James 1:27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." The Zoe Foundation, the Bohlenders, the other Louxes...the Meiers are adopting from Ethiopia, and the Dinsmores from New York. The children just keep coming, from every corner of the world, and it couldn't be more wonderful.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Magnificent

I would like to say first that there is a burrito in the microwave with my name on it. I ordered it at Cheesecake Factory on Monday, ate some for dinner then, had it for lunch yesterday, and I'm having it for lunch again today. Now THAT is bang for your buck.

More importantly, I would like to say that Jesus is kind. Yesterday, I ducked into the prayer room to pray through a couple things the Lord had just shown that were stealing my joy and peace. The Tuesday noon set is my team's, but I can't do it because I work. I always try to visit, though, during my lunch hour, and I would say that a majority of the time, I end up crying over something or other. Yesterday was no exception, as Tim began to sing "I am Your Father, I will take care of you. I am your Maker, I will sustain you." 1) I was praying through stuff having to do with the move and come on, if anything applies to this huge change, it's the promise that the Lord will take care of me. 2) Tim has been encouraging me that the Lord will sustain me when I go, so when he started singing it, it hit straight home.

Over and over and over and over again, God has done kind things for me in Kansas City, and today yet another thing became the cherry on top. I just love it when Jesus makes me smile. I love the way He loves me; I still find myself surprised when He is kind to me. You'd think I'd have gotten the message by now, but the truth is I'm still learning...but learning is really fun!

"You owe me nothing, I deserve hell. You owe me nothing, yet You've given me mercy..." Friends, He is lavishing His love on you right now, and if you are having trouble seeing it, ask Him to show you. God is close: talk to Him, then listen for a response.

Monday, August 03, 2009

He is Faithful to His Word

There is a track on a recent Limited Edition cd out of the prayer room where the main line is: "He is faithful to His Word" and singers keep adding into it: "He's not a man, that He should lie" and "He doesn't give a word, that we might hope in vain." Oh, I love that last one. He doesn't give a word that we might hope in vain. We do not hope in vain.

Today is a day of dreams come true. Literally. Like, prayers answered, desires of the heart met... My pastor from Tacoma is here in Kansas City, beginning a Freedom Class in an FSM classroom right this moment.

I remember, probably four or five years ago, walking around Suzanna and OJ's house just thinking "Tacoma! and Kansas City! they need to meet." There is a fire that God has just dumped on each one of them, and the idea of the two together seemed like it could only produce FIRE that would revive the nations. My next thought after "they need to connect" was "And I'm gonna be a part of it."

And here I stand. I'm part of it. I could cry with delight.

I'm not the only one who longed for this. My sisters, they saw it coming. I love it that I can look back and see that the Lord gave a little pointer to this happening. It wasn't just me that wanted these two power-houses that I've seen affect MY life affect hundreds of others. HE wanted it. He wanted it, and then He whispered it to my heart, and Amy's heart, and Suzanna's heart. And then we hoped, and we prayed, and today it's happening.

And then I'm reminded that moving home to Tacoma is a desire of my heart. It's been forgotten under months of dryness at school in Chicago and piled under stacks of papers from TheCall, but it's there. I know why it's there.

It's there because God put it there. Those times when my heart broke in two at the end of the summer when I had to leave and go back to Chicago? That wasn't just silly girlish longings that just got excited about new friends. God touched me in massive ways while I lived under the shadow of Mt. Rainier, and the longing to be there is something HE put in my heart.

He put it there, and now He's fulfilling it. He's fulfilling that and hundreds of other little plans and desires and needs... Wow. He is good, and He is faithful.

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me..." -Psalm 138

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jesus is a Friend of Mine

Nope, no video of singing 70's people, although that's still kind of hilarious.

Today I am thankful for the friendship of Jesus. "There is a friend who is closer than a brother..." I've come to one of those moments where you can tangibly feel the way the Lord is your Rock. I am thankful that I know that I know that I know that when I get off the plane in Tacoma, Jesus will be walking off with me. I'm thankful that there is no question about whether or not I'll be alone when I leave this familiar place; He promised to never leave me. I'm thankful that in the weeks where I'm adjusting to life in a whole new place, this one thing will be the same.

Jesus will still be Jesus. The Helper will hold me up, and He will walk beside me. Down the once-familiar streets, up the Olympic mountains, into the classrooms. Good things are coming. I'm going to put my fears to rest in His security, strap on my battle gear, and march forward, because is Jesus is with me; it doesn't get any better.

"The Lord your God is in your midst; a mighty one, who will save..." ~Zephaniah 3

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where We End Up

There are those people you remember forever because you loved them to pieces... My second grade teacher was the sweetest one ever. Like, no seriously, she was sweeter than your second grade teacher. Now she is raising children to love Jesus and posturing her heart to take in those who otherwise wouldn't have a home...and I still love her.

There are those people you remember forever because something about them etched itself on your memory... where in the world is that high school girl who tickle attacked me non-stop, when I was in elementary school and what in the world was her name?

There are the people you just plain forget...

I laid in bed last night, thinking about how this all pans out. Take a look:

Two or three years ago, when Constant first came out, I called #6 "The Harmony Song" and would play it over and over again, singing that harmony line. I had no idea that a few months later I would be sitting at the Cone's dining room table being introduced to almond butter by the guy who's now one of my now closest friends in KC. I've long ago confessed to him that I don't actually know how to sing his song, only the harmony. :)

The first time I went to a Call staff meeting, I knew one person and felt like a fish two-thousand miles out of water. I remember Katrina walked in wearing one of those grey onething shirts with the blue diamonds up the side. She sat on the wall to my right, with her legs crossed Indian-style under her, massive computer on her lap. I remember thinking "who is that girl and what is that personality that's pouring out of her?" Now we've been down, up, and all around the country together, shared ROARING laughter and deep emotions, and I know why she bought a laptop with such a big screen.

Randy, Kelsey, and family were a picture on a refrigerator to me when I got off the plane in Kansas City. Liz had kept their invitation to their adoption banquet for Zoe's adoption on her fridge, and I had viewed an infant Zoe in Kelsey's arms on a previous trip. I knew they had three sons and I knew Randy was bald. One facebook message and an impromptu meeting in Lou Engle's empty office later and I was on Randy's team. How could I begin to describe how dear these people are to me now? I've traveled with them, watched them add three more precious girls to their ranks, and absolutely fallen head over heels for this family. I will never be able to think about how my heart has been moved toward adoption without thinking about these people. I hope someday there will be little ones in my family who became a glimmer in my eye after the Lord planted me to run with the Bohlenders.

For some strange reason, I felt like I knew Truman before I actually did. My sister Elizabeth is an exquisite scrapbooker, and that plus her life of world travels leaves you happy as a clam if you get an hour in her house to just sit down and look through all her pictures. Years before I moved to Kansas City, I had seen pictures of young Truman's then-toothy grin plastered on his face that was topped with an off-center yamaka, getting dedicated in Jerusalem on a trip to Israel that my sister was on. Thanks, Liz's scrapbook, for introducing me to one of the world's greatest pun-ners.

It's interesting how relationships come, and it's interesting how they go too. When I was starting kindergarten with Genesis, we were way more concerned with what color we would make the triangle than the fact that we would go through all of school together. Then there are people I totally don't remember, like, uh...those ones I don't remember.

I could go on and on. About the first time I made Christina laugh (at our hotel in DC), or how Tim played at my sister's wedding and now I'm on his worship team (and he tries to get sneaky deals out of me playing Settlers)... The stories are all just so fascinating! I love what the Lord has woven even in my own life.

On a closing note, I would like to highlight one particular part of relationships ending that I am very thankful for. Thank the good Lord I will not be marrying any of those boys my over-excited 8th grade emotions thought I might. Amen. Let's stand.