Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stop tripping on your safety nets!

Life is so unpredictable.

However, I often find myself trying in my very most stubborn attitude to predict it. I am a planner. I very rarely enjoy spontaneity...only if it's pertaining to something trivial can I find myself being spontaneous. I like to make decisions quickly because I want to be able to plan accordingly. Also, the longer I take to make a decision the more I stress out about it. (by the way...I'm also indecisive. Go figure. God and His sense of humor...)

While talking to The Boy on Sunday about some very important education decisions that we've both been considering, I became very overcome with emotion. So many times we lay down all these "Safety Nets". We literally cover our future with prospective options and ideas just in case something "Falls Through". For instance, someone might think "I shall get a degree in Music Education. That's the responsible thing to do because, you see, education is a sturdy field to pursue. Yes, I feel God calling me to music ministry but that can wait. There's no way I can make a living and provide for a family with those plans." Or someone else might say "I think I'll get my Master's degree from a respectable seminary even though they don't offer the program that will prepare me for the type of ministry I feel called to. I don't really need the education, just the degree, right?"

So. I had a thought. This is something that happens to me often, believe it or not.

This "Safety Net" crap is pointless! If I am truly following God's will, listening to His voice and understanding his protection then why do I need to lay down all these Nets? I don't need to think about every option and have a finger in every pie, if you will. Now, I'm not saying that being prepared for wherever God takes me is a mistake, not at all, but I am realizing something important. If I start walking along the path that God has prepared for me and I have all these little "Safety Nets" at my feet just in case something "Falls Through" Then I am going to be distracted and I will get my feet tangled up and trip on them. However, if I start walking that path with focus on Jesus Christ and His perfect will, then I have no need for Nets.

I have a million more thoughts running around in my head about this, but this is all that I can write that would make sense in actual words.

So, I leave you with the original quote from my conversation and I hope that it does some good for somebody...
"You have got to stop laying down all these safety nets! Otherwise, you're just going to trip on them!"

Adventures of the Froomies!

I live for my weekends.

My weeks are wonderful, don't get me wrong. I really enjoy my jobs and voice lessons and practicing. But, my weekends are just a nice, relaxing get away.

This past weekend I went to see my Froomie a.k.a Sammi Slamma Jamma. Both of these names involve long stories which I shall not disclose here due to, well, not wanting to take the time. Anyways, I digress too often. I left HPUville on Friday morning and went to spend the weekend with Froomie in her hometown. I had never visited and since a mutual friend was getting married very near SSJ's home, we figured this was the perfect opportunity. It was a lovely weekend. We got to catch up over dinner before going to a bible study with some of her friends on Friday. Then Saturday was the wedding!!

But. (there's always a but) (and a butt). I forgot my dress in HPUville!

Seriously. Who does that!! I had two dresses set aside; one for the wedding and one for church and they both stayed hung up in my apartment. The funny thing is, I remembered the coordinating jewelry. But not the dresses. I crack myself up sometimes. So...my Froomie and I made a little trip to the local Walmart and picked up a super cute dress which happened to match the jewelry, nail polish and shoes that I packed. Also, it was $9! So maybe, overall, I'm glad that I left the dresses at home.

So, now I shall post a few of my favorite pictures. :-)

My Froomie and I when we arrived at the church.
We were early so we had fun taking pictures at the church playground :-) This showcases my cute new dress!
He sang to her! Oh my goodness, it was beautiful!
The stunning bride and I.
The Risners!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ich vermisse....

This past Sunday, June 21, marked one year since I left for Germany. I started the process of praying and looking for an opportunity to serve there in August of 2007, and thanks to a friend that God placed in my path at exactly the right moment, everything fell into place. I had been longing to go back for 4 years. God is so good; He sent me back with wonderful plans. I was able to meet some of the most amazing people in the world and also to reconnect with old friends.

This week has been rough for me.

When I first came back to Texas I was ecstatic to be with my family and friends again, but it was a difficult transition for me. I know why God brought me back; I couldn't stay forever. :-) But big parts of me wanted to stay.

This week has been rough for me because:
It's been one year. One very blessed year, but not a year without daily missing Germany.
I miss my friends and host families.
I long to go back.
I miss travelling on the U-bahn and the buses every day. Who needs a car, anyway?
I want to sit in a German worship service and only be able to understand half of the words, but still feel God speaking to me.
I miss the great conversations I had with Jackie while cooking in her kitchen.
I would love to be picking strawberries with Anneke while talking about silly boys and an amazing God.
I never got to go to the theater and see an opera. I want to do that.
I miss Lennart. His funny jokes and perfect english.
I want to see how much John and Tom have grown and talk about life with Van.
I miss Gisela and Bernd. And Paula. Wonderful host parents.
I want to be riding in a BMW with Philip even though he's a crazy driver on the autobahn.
I miss being able to laugh at my broken German, but knowing that it was getting better everyday!
I miss the team from Cali and spending time with Theresa.
I miss the NC team.
I miss everything. And everyone.

So, during this rough week, I'm trying really hard to focus on these things:
I work with beautiful children at FBC.
I love hpuville even when I'm bored out of my mind.
My family is in Texas. They love me beyond what I deserve.
I have friends here that have had similar experiences to mine. They are the best about really knowing my passion.
I see my nieces and nephews every few weeks. They grow so quickly and I would miss that if I wasn't here.
I have an incredible relationship with the boy and he is very understanding of my love for Germany.
I am learning about God's will.
And God's will is for me to be here.

Anneke and I in my first week.
Andi and I in Regensburg.
Inside joke.
The Kloepfers.
The Ingrams.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not Me! Monday...oh yes, Malissa, I've jumped on the bandwagon!

Because my sister has gotten me sucked into the MckMama vortex, I am going to join in on the fun of a "Not Me! Monday" blog experience.


This weekend I definitely did not wake up at 5:25am to drive back to HPUville in order to be at church by 10:30.
And...whilst making this drive...I didn't see a sweet turtle cross the middle of the busy road. Even if I had seen a turtle, I never ever would have pulled over, turned around, ran into the road, and picked up said imaginary turtle. And after all that I would never be caught placing the turtle into my car to take home and live in my bathtub for the morning until I could come home from church and take it to the local park. I mean, what kind of insane person does that? NOT ME!

I also didn't decide that "Heart Healthy" tortillas were, as they say, "for the birds". And I never would have taken that notion so far as to actually go feed about 15 of them to the ducks and geese at the aforementioned local park. Never would I be so silly as to feed crappy perfectly lovely tortillas to a combination of fish, turtles, ducks, geese and squirrels. Nope. NOT ME!

When I talked to my Schatz on the phone this week, I never nagged at him for "never telling me anything". I don't nag. Never never never. And, in the same phone conversation I wouldn't be caught trying to coax out information about upcoming events in our relationship. I am always completely patient and am never nosy. I leave being nosy up to my sister.

Last night, after eating dinner I did not eat a huge bowl of ice cream and justify it by putting blackberries on top! I am always a very healthy new-veg who watches everything that I eat. Besides, I never let my cravings get to me. I am strong.

Ok. That's all for this week. I feel much better.

Monday, June 8, 2009


You've been hijacked!!

Just wanted to take a short minute to tell you how proud I am at the woman you have become! It has been amazing to watch as you have followed the Lord's will for your life with such bravery and grace...it takes a lot of guts to accomplish some of the things that you have, and I am so proud.

Can't wait to watch and see what's next....
Your amazed sis

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Caution: God's timing is not to be questioned.

This is sort of a continuation to my last post. I've been realizing today (well...over time, but especially today) how the tiniest details are orchestrated for a bigger plan long before I ever even know it's coming.

Scenario 1: I began considering living in HPUville this summer in January. I knew that staying in here meant that I could have an ocassional voice lesson to help prepare for my senior recital and probably find a job easier than in my hometown. Then I thought, "Hey...I've never...ever...lived by myself." That's definitely an experience that I need. At some point in my life I'm going to have to learn how to be semi-independent. Better now than later, right? So this definitely seemed like the perfect plan. Because members of my family were...ummm...less than enthusiastic about this plan, I seriously considered just staying at home and giving up on my summer in HPUville. However, somehow I just knew that I was making the best decision for me. It was difficult and it didn't come without tears but I just knew I was heading down the right path.

Scenario 2: I'm a Vocal Performance major. Vocal = singing and Performance =performing. Add these two together and you get a scenario such as opera or musical theater where one sings and performs simultaneously. Those of you who know me well know that I am not currently, nor have I ever been, an actress. I've improved, but only because I have excellent teachers! When it came time for the HPU homecoming musical auditions last month I was so stoked, but frazzled beyond my wit's end. I picked my audition piece, worked really hard on preparing it, and went into the audition with a stomach in knots. When the cast list was posted, my first reaction was disappointment. My second was pure excitement for a couple of my friends. Of course, the green monster of jealousy creeped up for a bit, but I got rid of him pretty quick. The green monster and I are not friends, you see. Anyways, I was leaving for home right after congratulating one of my friends and I had a long drive to think about things. Something inside me just didn't feel right. I can't completely explain it but I'm going to try. When I sang in the operas this past semester I had the time of my life and it was a wonderful experience. It's something that I would enjoy doing again someday but when I look realistically at my future I know that performing isn't going to be my focus. Ministry is. Being in the opera gave me the courage to reach out of my shell and know that I can actually enjoy performing. But, when I'm on stage with the chapel band my heart opens up in a way that chokes me up and makes laugh at the same time. It's joy and passion that I just can't shake, nor do I want to shake it. I can't live my life between performances and auditions. As a side project, bring it on...as a career? I just can't see it. I cried and it broke my heart, but I decided to not participate in the musical in the fall. This was not a reaction in bitterness or frustration or jealousy. This was simply my assurance that God had something else planned for me in the fall that he wanted me to focus my attention on. I had not a clue what it was but...

Then, out of no where I'm in a position that all but forces me to graduate in December. Suddenly, all of this makes sense. Had I not chosen to live in HPUville for the summer, I would be coming back in August completely unprepared for an hour-long recital in November. Impossible. And my unsettling feeling that God had something else planned in place of the musical? I believe that was God setting everything into place so that when I found out that I would be graduating in December I would be able to focus completely on my recital.

Over the past couple of weeks I have really questioned God's timing. Why December? I don't know what He has planned for me after graduation and that truly scares me. But, knowing that He's already been preparing my way gives me so much comfort. I could never ask for a more caring, gracious, sustaining God. He is never going to leave me. So, even though I'm hurting some feelings (mine included, believe me) I am going forward onto a path that has been paved by God and that isn't going to lead me away from Him. I'm not perfect, so this is not going to be easy for me but because I am finally in the place where I can see God's perfect planning I have so much peace. Praise God for his Love, Timing, and Perfect Provision.

Friday, June 5, 2009

All by myself...

In January, when I first started thinking about my summer plans, (yes, I plan that far in advance) I decided that I needed this to be a summer on my own. My plans consisted of 1) trying to find a decent job or two in HPUville b) learning how to live/function by myself c) and get into stinkin' shape!

My plans came out just the way I hoped. I'm working in an office here at HPU and also interning at my local church. My roommate is home for the summer so that takes care of point B. Point C is...well...it's developing. I thought that I would be miserably lonely but...

...enter VBS. Oh my goodness! I taught music at this year's VBS "Crocodile Dock" and it was such a blast! The only time I was alone this week was while I was sleeping. Because, yes, I prefer to sleep alone. :-D The kids were fantastic and they learned their songs with so much enthusiasm and joy. I was expecting to have at least a few whiners, but they stepped up to the plate and completely surprised me. Last night, the last half hour of our normal schedule was family night. The parents/siblings/etc. of all the kids came to see exactly what it was that rocked about the Croc Dock. Most of the presentation was taken up by them singing 4 of the songs that they learned. I was standing in the back cuing their motions and enjoying the sounds they were making and the big smiles on their faces. God teaches me so much through children. Being able to teach them something and impact them even in the smallest ways gives me so much fulfillment. Maybe this is a sign....

So back to the original intent of my post. All by myself. Next week is going to be much different. There actually will be time spent by myself. A lot of it. But, bring it on. I have some reading to catch up on. This weekend one of my 3 best friends is coming to HPUville to see me! (I should probably go shower before she gets here at noon...hmmm.) I'm really looking forward to some girl time to help me wind-down after the long week.