Monday, June 29, 2009

Having your Heart Guarded

~ "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6,7 ~

Glorie and I have been getting into a new routine; often when I take care of her on Monday and Thursday, I'll stick her in the jogger stroller and go for a walk/jog on the streets around the house. I love it that I get to work out and I am so thankful that she is at peace with sitting in the stroller for that long.

Today we stopped by to say good morning to Amy, as we often do. As we walked away from her house, in slightly pressing heat and humidity with sunlight streaming through the trees, I started to think more about something I had said to my sister: "If only I could have a free night, with nothing going on, just to rest..." This "if only" feeling is one I know well; it's one of those ones my heart feels, then takes a step back and says "Hmmm....there's something off with that."

It's most familiar home used to be back during school. "Oh, when I have no homework I will feel so rested!" Well, I've spent a year out of school and still struggle with the feeling, so obviously it's not homework's problem. This year it's become more of: "when I don't have to babysit" or "I have enough money" or "when I don't have to work" or "when I can get a good quiet time done" or "when I can go on vacation"...which eventually has turned to the more real answer: "Man! When I get FREEDOM from this driving un-peace in my life, I will feel a lot more at peace." *badoink* I think that last one's the ticket. :)

So today I walked down Amy's street thinking of this. There will always be something to do. Always. Life is life. The answer is not to never have anything to do; that would become miserable fast. I thought about all of the things I have to think about, all of the things happening in my life: things I'm doing, things people around me are doing, things I have to do, things I don't know if I should do... There's just so much to think about! Some HUGE life-change is coming up for me, and no matter what I do, mid-August, when I pack up my life in Kansas City and get re-planted in Tacoma, is getting closer every day.

I thought about these things and just said: "Lord, I need your PEACE! There will always be stuff going on, but what I need is your peace through it all. THAT is where rest for my heart comes from."

So in the decisions you have before you, and the craziness of your day, and the length of your to-do list, remember: Jesus is called the Wonderful Counselor. Go to Him with your questions. Then remember, He is the Prince of Peace. His peace will guard your heart and mind. I once heard a preacher (ha! I'm going to be living with his family this fall!) explain the verse this way: Peace will guard...that means it'll keep the good things in, and the bad things out.

Choose to say yes to the Lord's peace today! His plans for you are sure, and His pleasure in you is secure. He has plans to prosper you, and He is absolutely thrilled by the little bit your heart can say to him today: "I am Yours...No matter what, Jesus, I'm Yours."

"The Lord is my rock" -Psalm 18:2

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sometimes Dreams Don't Come True

And that's a good thing.

If you look one post down, you'll see I had a semi-nightmare (because, let's be real, it would be really bad if that actually happened) concerning this whole screens deal.

I ran screens this morning in that building and I found the screens cave. I mean, that alone is a victory.

Plus, I got a grade of 100% from the speaker on how I did his notes afterwards, so, I think we're all good.

The end.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Too Much

I am bearing the brunt of my family's jokes for my new screens endeavor.  Don't worry; they all love me and support my growth in life, sometimes family life is just interesting.  Peter's reasurring glances over to me along with his: "Don't worry, Annie.  I think it's great you're doing screens" are helpful.

This issue is on my mind, which is probably why I just had the following nap-dream:

There I was, hanging out with Tim's team.  Oh look!  We're headed over to FSM to do worship for the Israel Mandate Conference!  We just stand around, hanging out in the un-open bookstore, and eventually begin to save seats for ourselves.  Tim asks for a Pellegrino.

When it's time for everyone to go up, I suddenly realize: "Why am I here?!  Oh no...I'm here to do screens, of course!  I've never done screens at FSM!!"  I proceed to go back and forth around FSM, searching for the "screens cave" as I've heard it referred to, and cannot find it.  While I'm lamenting the thought of not getting to listen to the talk-back mic [seriously, that was going through my dream-head], I'm panicking about not being able to figure this all out.  I spend a lot of time hurriedly walking, while trying to search for "Abby" in my phone so I can call her and get help, but my phone just will not work with me.  It keeps deleting letters I type in, and when I try to hit [SEND] it doesn't have the right number selected.  Panic sets in.

The last I remember is that a visiting lady stopped me and proceeded to complain about how we mis-represent FSM as being too far away and thus force people to ride shuttles to places where food is so much more expensive, while the guy back where she was before was selling dinner for a dollar something.  She motions outside saying, 'I mean, this is what I would call an urban setting'.  (implying that we had represented it as hick-ville).  The street was paved better, and there were more cars and lights.  Hey, it did look a little less country-ish, but I wouldn't quite call it urban.

I just listened, perturbed that some lady had no idea that the world was falling apart because I could even find the dumb computer to ATTEMPT to put the words up for the songs.

The end.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Little Flock

Luke 12:32 -- "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Funny, I don't recall ever thinking about this verse before this morning. I was sitting in the fourth row of the prayer room (I know, I know...I was going to be adventurous and sit in the second row. Hey, there was somebody sitting in that seat.) and Pamela prayed it on the microphone.

I had just been sitting there wrestling with my shortcomings. Paul calls us to be wise in Ephesians 5, yet I feel like it's so easy to choose the unwise. "Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord"...oh, man, I fall short.

But this kind of brings a lot of clarity. You can flail and swim and flail and swim (or, as my nephew asked yesterday: "What do you do if you fall while you're surfing, but you don't know how to swim?"), but when somebody hands you a life jacket, your flailing can stop.

I don't have a lot of revelation on this verse other than to say. I'm imperfect. I'm so imperfect. I fall short of what I know the Lord calls us to; while my mind knows that there is grace and forgiveness and no condemnation, I struggle to accept those things
. You know that sigh of relief your heart breathes when you read Paul write "Oh wretched man that I am! I do the things I don't want to do..."? Well, dear flawed person who messes up...listen to what Jesus says EVEN THOUGH you mess up:

"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Monday, June 15, 2009

It is the Same With You

The set I did screens for the other day was on Psalm 139:

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways."

I wanted to share some stuff the Lord downloaded during the set; Tim (then Natasha added) started singing this and I had to grab a paper and write it down.  Remember there are parts of you that no man will ever know, but God sees.  In fact, He created them just to be seen by Him.  He understands every motive of your heart; you never have to explain yourself to Him.

The first time I was really struck by this Psalm was a morning just after I had been wrestling with the realization that I just wanted someone to want to know me; I wanted so badly for someone to spend time finding out who I was.  I opened my Bible right to Psalm 139 and the first line read: "Oh God, you have searched me and known me."  It was exactly what I had been aching for!  Remember that you are wholly and completely known by the One who created you.
There are parts of the galaxy no one will ever see
Depths of the ocean no one will ever plunge.
The same is with you...
I made you just for Me
Though other eyes would pass you by, you are My creation, you have My attention.
I made you for Me
I made you for Me.

Even now you have My gaze
I never look away
You're the apple of My eye

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Verse 1, Verse 2, Chorus, Bridge

I think new experiences are really quite exciting; whether or not you think my new experiences are exciting is up to you...if you don't actually find enjoyment in hearing about them, though, I would suggest you reevaluate why you would want to read the blog. I'm off topic already.

Screens. Screens are not new. I take that back - compared to how they knew what words to sing in church in the 1800's, screens are new. In this day and missions base community, they're not new. Doing screens is new to me, though.

The wonderful Abby invited me to get trained, in case I do get to help Tim R's team out with it... So yesterday morning I got up at 4:45 and got to spend the day feeling like I was on a worship team -- Abby taught me the first set, and then the second I did on my own (scary! :/). It was splendid. A friend said a while back how your team is like your family, and now I understand why! Everyone was so kind to each other, encouraging and blessing each other like crazy after the sets about how they all did, and Tim was basically like a little pastor -- we got like 5 minutes of great teaching on some revelation about Psalm 139. As I said, it was splendid.

Plus, it turns out I actually really enjoy screens itself. I like stuff like that -- where there's a set procedure and everything just fits exactly where it should be; it's like math, very exact...nothing ambiguous. It's a good experience in not being too hard on yourself, too. I kinda messed up with some bridges that sounded very similar and took a few tries for Tim and the chorus leader to get on the page...sorry, guys! :(

I have to say, one of the most fun parts about it is getting to listen to the talkback mic. There was really only a couple times it was actually helpful to us (leader says: "we need the words for Here is our King" cue mad dash to get it up ASAP), but it's still just fun to listen. I'll honestly admit, it made me understand a bit more realistically what it would be like to be a musician up there. Tim would give them a chord progression: "D/F#, G/B, C#m..." and I would want to move my fingers to play it on the desk where I was sitting. Other times, though, he would just give them the numbers: "6, 5, 4, 1..." and I thought to myself "wow...I'm not sure I could follow". I'm sure I could get the hang of it, and musically I understood what he meant, but it still seemed like it would be a little stressful. The musicians here are seriously some of the most gifted people ever.

Alright, there's my exciting experience. At least, I'm fairly sure it was exciting. If you don't think so...just trust me. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Old Friend

My stomach hurt off and on the whole morning. One big ball of nerves and excitement, I counted down the minutes until I could tear out my door and down the hallway sidewalk. "Do I still remember the code for the briefing room?" and "Argh...I hope he's not offended that my piece is in bad shape!" swirled through my thoughts. Besides all of this, there was a blue ribbon on my sweater and I felt special. (Because, I know you wanted to know)

Sure enough, I punched in what I remembered on the lock and it worked! First hurdle jumped. Next I scoped the room -- guitars lining the far wall, a circle of chairs just where it always is, and empty, perfect. I sat down at the keyboard; the chair was too low and there were no books around for me to sit on. Oh well.

I pulled out my piece, laid it out, and dove straight into trying to play it. Someone walks in the room, I just keep playing. (Second hurdle jumped). My cheeks are already turning pink and my fingers are probably slightly shaky.

Of course I kept looking at the clock; I was five minutes early, and was slightly nervous..."We haven't talked about it for a few days...what if Jon forgets?" Silly me, of course he didn't forget. Right on time, my piano lesson starts.

My piano lesson. Sigh. It's been a year since I've had one of those.

He's kind, as some piano teachers are. (Hallelujah for kind piano teachers!) I'm nervous, as new piano students always are. (Let's have some breakthrough, people). Of course I attempt to play the piece for him, of course it hardly works. My fingers fumble all over the place, I can't manage the note patterns I've been playing for a year, and I stop in the middle of measures, cringe and mumble "I'm sorry". Like any good piano teacher (well, the nice ones...see three sentences ago), Jon keeps trying to get me to just play the piece: "It's's okay...just slow down..." Gosh, you'd think I was playing in Carnegie Hall.

I finally got to the point in the Mozart where I stopped being even somewhat comfortable, and fumbled around for my excuse of "and...after that, I just don't really know."

Once the first awkward playing was over, it was back in the rhythm of a piano lesson, just as if it HADN'T been a year. And it felt...


We talked about wrist-loosening up, and how important the fingering is, and OH. MY. GOODNESS. I need to take my time and slow down and just learn the notes. It was nothing revolutionary. Wait, scratch that.

My last teacher was amazing. I never felt pressured by her to perform perfectly, she was sweet to me no matter what, she always had expert advice to give but never put me or my playing down. She was seriously such a gift, and I adored her. I didn't think it could get better. Until Jon started talking about the fruit of the Spirit and how seriously, we just have to give up perfectionism and ask the Lord to give us a spirit of patience while we practice. This was the first time I had a fabulous experience musically combined with practical piano-discipleship. We need more of that in the music world.

After Mozart came practical tips on improvisation and how to build my ability in that and better the worship-piano side of things. The whole thing made me feel so at home.

I left, and wanted to cry I was so happy. I had no idea I missed piano that much. I don't know exactly what it is...there is something so familiar about a piano lesson. When the teacher sticks their hand up on the keys to show you how it's done and they have perfect finger curve and have the weight they give their fingers worked out to a science as if it were a Chemistry lab, something feels so right. Nodding and saying "ya, ya..." to all the tips they give you comes like second nature, and you just leave bursting with the desire to make beautiful, beautiful music...make it with your own fingers. It's wonderful.

Later, in telling my sister about it and trying to describe parts of it that made me happy, she identified one key one: "He spoke your language!" It felt like I'd been speaking Portuguese in Canada for a year and all of a sudden someone walked up to me and we discussed the current economic state of our own language. Jon was showing me some improv stuff, and I asked with a tinge of pre-emptive disappointment: "Did you do jazz piano?" His face lit up and he practically yelled: "NO!" and I practically exploded, half because it felt so validating to be understood right away. I have never done jazz piano, I've never wanted to, but it seems the best way to learn improvisation, which you use in worship piano. Instead, Jon studied classical music (those guys really knew how to make simple chords sound way cool) and tried to copy what he heard in all sorts of styles.

Hoorah. I can live without jazz piano.

Lastly, I felt so validated. You can say you play piano all you want, but I've spent a year reminding myself that I play but then sitting down every few weeks and having it not sound nearly as good as I want it to. It makes me sad that my pieces are rusty, and it felt really good to have an expert pianist say: "I can tell you've been trained really well..."

Can you tell I loved it? Next up: must. practice.

Anybody have a nice piano I could borrow? :)

Monday, June 08, 2009

One Yummy Package

I have something splendid to tell you about.

Yesterday I was introduced to food. I mean, I've had lots of stuff before that I chewed and it kept me alive, etc., but today I found out that food can truly taste amazing. Some friends of Vicky's family own a wonderful, chic restaurant here in Chicago and invited her and a friend (that's me!) to come eat. We were blown away. The owner suggested some wonderful dishes to us, and then when we chose two, she went ahead and ordered a third, just so we could try it. Incredibly creative french cuisine with Mexican ingredients and influences...need I say more?

I think what made it really wonderful was just the presence of the Lord. This couple seriously love Jesus, and it shines around everything they do. Our hostess got to sit with us and talk, and she was so encouraging! Not only do they run a wonderful restaurant, they love Jesus with their everything and just showered the love and joy that He's put in them on us. It was really a wonderful, wonderful time. Multiple visits from her husband the chef to make sure everything was alright...I don't know about Vicky, but I felt like royalty! We finished our unbelievable food (did I mention it was unbelievable? oh, okay) and then got to pray with the owner! Gah. So much astounding amazingness, rolled into one package.

Me & Vicky! Together again...
The dessert plate. Beautiful, no?
Vicky cutting the chocolate crepe. We laughed, so it was picture-worthy. :)
Smooshed chocolate enchilada.

Thank you so much, Iliamar and Carlos! You blessed our socks off.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


See above: Amy Lynn (she's unbelievable. It's almost like my heart was cut in two at birth and she's my other half), Laura (how long have I known this girl? FOREVER. and she can always make you laugh), Happy (aka Annie), and Vicky (and I think I've known her forever and a day. it's a soulmate type of thing. AND...isn't she BEAUTIFUL? gorgeous. they all are.) *overcome with the wonderfulness*

Here I am in Chicago, sitting in a familiar green chair, ready to begin to describe what the past three days have held.

Moving is so strange. Sometimes it takes stepping out of a place to really see what's going on inside of it. Like the tall'd be surprised what living away from tall buildings will do to you. I didn't realize how much I missed it, until I saw some on Friday and my heart nearly leaped within me. And crossing the street, dodging between cars...and cutting in front of taxis while driving, and creating your own lane, smooshed between cars downtown. It's good to be doing these things again. Coming back reminds you of these fun things, but it also reminds you of some sad things. Vicky and I have agreed that after living elsewhere, it is so easy to sense a spirit of hopelessness over this place when we come back. It's easy to get caught in it, and forget that God has done CRAZY good things for you, and He is totally trustworthy. God, infuse Chicago with your HOPE!

As far as a real-time relive the experience type of...experience, I'm not sure how much I have for you. I do know that I stepped off the plane and was almost whacked in the face with one thing: PEOPLE. I mean, I hadn't made it out of the concourse, and I was in crowds of people. Kansas City exemplifies the Midwest: spread out and sparsely populated (at least comparatively). Chicago, on the other hand, might as well be on the West Coast, the forgotten other large city of California. I walked down, past the gates, full of people waiting to travel to their exciting (and un-exciting) destinations, and found myself doing something very curious -- searching for faces! I think I've lived in KC long enough that my brain is programmed to equal large crowds with IHOP (it's the only place I ever see them). When I'm at IHOP, it's almost guaranteed I'll see someone I know or at least recognize and can smile at. Walking through Midway I had to remember that this city is not that way. I believe there are about 10 million people here, and I know personally know about thirty. Suffice it to say, I didn't recognize anyone.

Since my dad picked me up, I've been in a non-stop whirlwind of hugs and old friends, pictures and tired feet from walking too much. It has turned out splendidly to be home, actually. I haven't seen Vicky in two years; she and I are getting some quality time. Have I mentioned that I'm SO excited for when she (Lord-willing) moves to come to college next fall...we'll finally live on the same continent [again]! Yippee!!!

I'm happy. :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It's the People

For the last week I've wanted to sit down and write something, but (obviously) haven't. I mean, I've written a bit for myself and Jesus (which is always good), but I've literally opened a "Create Blog Post" page and had nothing worth writing. Now I'm sitting here at the Bohlender's kitchen table, the babies are asleep, and I figure if I'm gonna write, it might as well be here on Randy's computer. Here it goes.

I'm moving in a few months. Practically, there are a few loose ends to be tied up here in Kansas City: I need to earn more money (thank you Jesus for my job!) so I can pay rent when I arrive in the Pacific Northwest, I haven't yet been to Blue Koi, and I haven't learned how to drive stick shift.

I love working at IHOP because I get to be on base and see some of my favorite people all day long. If I never taste the fancifulness that is Chic Chinese Cuisine, I'll live, but the plans to go to Blue Koi were made in the back parking lot on base after going to eat Indian with a fabulous group of people. And while I'd like to be able to answer "actually, I TOTALLY know how to drive stick shift!" when people try to deny me use of their car on such petty grounds, I only want to learn because a friend promised they'd teach me.

It's the people.

Katrina twittered this the other day while we were hanging out:
On my way to chipotle w/ @Anniepeterson. She made a comment about not knowing where she'll be this time next year. I grunted grumpily back.
You know how that makes me feel? Loved.

I can't tell you how many times Randy & Kelsey have threatened to sabotage my move. Katrina makes sad faces when I talk about leaving. The thought of not seeing Christina's lovely face almost every day makes me want to melt like ice cream in Houston. It's the little comments: Tim saying it'll be a sad day when I go, and Joshua pretending like it's not even happening.

These people I call friends in Kansas City? They're really special.

So while I'm joyful about what's ahead, and excited to be part of the community in Tacoma again, I want you to know that what the Lord has done with me here in KC has been really, really special. Someone made a comment the other day to the tune of "My goodness! Go away from Kansas City for two weeks and you might as well have said goodbye forever...things change so fast!" That made me ache inside.

I want to do whatever's necessary to ground these friendships now, so that in a few months when I am having the time of my life dancing in Northwest rain, I can stop in the middle of a leap, run inside, pick up my phone and call them: "Oh, I wish you could be here!"

So remember this unbelievable group of friends for a second... There's another change-dynamic that moving puts on things. I have spent the past year living in the same city as my oldest sister Elizabeth. This is momentous because she was in college when I was born. (Read: we haven't lived together all that much before KC). Suz & OJ moved here a few months after I did, which results in me doing life with Liz & Suz at the same time. This is new, I think. I'm fairly sure that for the short time Liz did live back at home with us, Suz was in college, or living in an apartment with some girls. Then, in December the cherry on top, lovely Amy moved back to KC. NOW we have all four sisters in one city. This is literally unheard of. This time has been so precious. I have gotten to know my sisters better than ever before, and I have felt almost like the one on display, as if I was getting found out. The three of them have grown together, lived together, gone to Europe together...but this is the first time all FOUR of us have done life together with me old enough to interact on the same plane/be an actual almost-adult. Crazy.

Then, add in the kids! What am I going to do without all my little nieces and nephews running and chubbing about?? *sigh* Good thing there are crazy awesome amounts of kids in Tacoma -- children are certainly treasured there!

My parents always tell me I'm a people person. It's really true. It's not the Super Target on 135th I'll be going without when I move, or the opposing gas stations at Holmes & Red Bridge, or even the tragic concrete scenery of 435... No, no. I can tell you what I'll be missing:

the people.