Friday, December 23, 2005

Bride of Christ

Weddings weddings everywhere...

it's crazy.

This time next week, I'll be all glammed up in a floor length red gown, hair done up with curls draping down, makeup on my face, diamonds around my neck, freshly painted finger nails, and 2 inch black heels thrown in some corner as I dance away celebrating the marriage of Ms. Amanda Cavender to my new brother in law, Mr. Elliot Bennett. I hope that the tears will have settled by this time.

It seems that rings are beginning to pop up on fingers left and right. And I'm not talking about people I know from a distance, but good friends. One of my roommates from last year called me last night to tell me that her boyfriend had just proposed.

That's 4 good friends now... (not including the 3 that tied the knot this past year).

Usually I would think that all this wedding talk would get me all sad because I'm not in a relationship and blah blah blah... but thankfully, that is not even close to how I'm feeling.

Thank the Lord.

Don't get me wrong, yes I do want to get married and yes, whenever I find out who that amazing man is, it's going to be simply incredible...

but all I can think about amongst this "season of weddings" is how I am (and you are) constantly being perused by the greatest Husband I (we) could ever have... by the One who calls me (you)beloved... and by the One who calls me (us) His bride. How absolutely amazing is that...?!

I get butterflies and teary eyed when I sit and try to fathom how madly in love with me (you) the Lord is.

Oh how I wish I loved Him more.

The Father has renamed us, just as in Isaiah He renamed Jerusalem:

Never again will you be called the Godforsaken City or the Desolate Land. Your new name will be the City of God's Delight and the Bride of God, for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his own.


I love Song of Solomon because it is a beautiful book that displays a relationship between a husband and a wife, but even more so it represents the passion and love the Father so heavily feels for you (and me). How amazing.

No one could ever love you more,

Bride of Christ.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

THAT Moment

Do you ever remember that moment of actually understanding [something]? Not just understanding in your head, but understanding in your heart?

A time when you've always been aware [of this something] and you're able to repeat it over and over again to yourself and others, but it hadn't yet grasped your heart...

That moment when finally [that something] pierces your heart so hard that tears of joy and thankfulness flow out, because you finally get it...

That moment when you feel the release of the chains from around your heart, and feel nothing but the Spirit overwhelming you with an aroma of freedom...

... The moment when [that something] suddenly seems so far from important, that all you desire to do is drop to your knees and shout praises to the King...

... that moment...

That moment when you begin to remember what... Who... you live for. Suddenly everything you've been worrying about no longer matters and all that matters is falling madly in love with a Father, who has never once stopped pursuing you... or me...

That moment when everything comes together because He is King.

That moment when you are so close to Him that you can smell His presence and you can taste His goodness... that you can see the Kingdom.

... That moment when He reaches His hand out to you, and this time you couldn't bare not reaching back.

The moment when all you are able to see is the One.

That beautiful moment...

I love that moment.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Baby Names

So a friend of mine and I were talking about how many kids we each want to have and what names we really like... Since I want boys (along with one girl), I expressed my love for a few male Biblical names: Caleb, Elijah, and Noah.

"But I don't know if I could be that lady who names all her kids after people in the Bible... I'd turn into the mom from 7th Heaven... Matthew, Mary, Lucy... Lucifer?, Simon, Ruth, David, and Samuel. I don't know..."

My friend then went on to tell me about a family she taught swimming lessons to for 2 years. They had four boys, and I kid you not, their names were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.


So what were they going to do if they had a fifth child? Name him Acts? What if they had a girl? Still name her Acts?

So I got this great idea... I'm just going to become one of "those mom's", but I won't use any of the common Biblical names like James or Peter. If you're gonna be "that lady" you might as well just go all out...

Habakkuk perhaps? Haggai? Jehoiachin? Or one of my favorite, Xerxes?

Philemon is a great possibility as well.

Oh Christians. They make me laugh.

Side note: I just found out that my name means "to protect". Good stuff. What does your name mean?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Good ol' Davy

Psalm 69 always seems to leave me in awe. David's love for the Lord and his faithfulness to Him is astonishing.

David had been over taken with depression and pain, yet he still lifted praises to his Creator. At this moment in his life, he felt nothing but sadness, yet he continually said "Your great love for me", "Your love is so good", "Your great kindness"...

Though David saw no result of God answering his cry, never once did he think the Lord would not be there to save him from his depression. He never once walked away from Him amidst his hurting.

There is so much I could say...

The cry and faithfulness of David:

1 Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
2 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can't find a foothold to stand on.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
3 I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched and dry.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
4 Those who hate me without cause
are more numerous than the hairs on my head.
These enemies who seek to destroy me
are doing so without cause.
They attack me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn't steal.
5 O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
6 Don't let those who trust in you stumble because of me,
O Sovereign LORD Almighty.
Don't let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.
7 For I am mocked and shamed for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
8 Even my own brothers pretend they don't know me;
they treat me like a stranger.
9 Passion for your house burns within me,
so those who insult you are also insulting me.
10 When I weep and fast before the LORD,
they scoff at me.
11 When I dress in sackcloth to show sorrow,
they make fun of me.
12 I am the favorite topic of town gossip,
and all the drunkards sing about me.
13 But I keep right on praying to you, LORD,
hoping this is the time you will show me favor.
In your unfailing love, O God,
answer my prayer with your sure salvation.
14 Pull me out of the mud;
don't let me sink any deeper!
Rescue me from those who hate me,
and pull me from these deep waters.
15 Don't let the floods overwhelm me,
or the deep waters swallow me,
16 Answer my prayers, O LORD,
for your unfailing love is wonderful.
Turn and take care of me,
for your mercy is so plentiful.
17 Don't hide from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!
18 Come and rescue me;
free me from all my enemies.
19 You know the insults I endure--
the humiliation and disgrace.
You have seen all my enemies
and know what they have said.
20 Their insults have broken my heart,
and I am in despair.
If only one person would show some pity;
if only one would turn and comfort me.
21 But instead, they give me poison for food;
they offer me sour wine to satisfy my thirst.
22 Let the bountiful table set before them become a snare,
and let their security become a trap.
23 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
and let their bodies grow weaker and weaker.
24 Pour out your fury on them;
consume them with your burning anger.
25 May their homes become desolate
and their tents be deserted.
26 To those you have punished,
they add insult to injury;
they scoff at the pain of those you have hurt.
27 Pile their sins up high,
and don't let them go free.
28 Erase their names from the Book of Life;
don't let them be counted among the righteous.
29 I am suffering and in pain.
Rescue me, O God, by your saving power.
30 Then I will praise God's name with singing,
and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
31 For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing an ox
or presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.
32 The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God's help live in joy.
33 For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones;
he does not despise his people who are oppressed.
34 Praise him, O heaven and earth,
the seas and all that move in them.
35 For God will save Jerusalem
and rebuild the towns of Judah.
His people will live there
and take possession of the land.
36 The descendants of those who obey him
will inherit the land,
and those who love him will live there in safety.

Revival vs. Tea Party (you pick)

As Christians, our responsibility is to be witnesses for Jesus - not to be politically correct people pleasers. I like what an English Bishop once said, "Everywhere Paul went there was either a revival or a revolution. Everywhere I go they serve tea."

I hate tea if you get my drift!

Enough said.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005


So... I'm totally stoked for Friday morning at 12:01am. Why? Because of this:

Yes that's right folks... myself and some friends are going to see the midnight showing of The Chronicles of Narnia. I've never been this excited to see a movie before (except maybe when I was in 7th grade and Titanic came out...) but this is a tad bit different.

This is MY Matrix... this is MY Lord of the Rings... this is MY Harry Potter... this could be one of the only movies I ever buy tickets for a week in advance and attend the midnight showing. But, I will not, and I repeat NOT, be dressing up. No lion costume, no witch costume, no faun costume, no beaver costume, and absolutely no wardrobe costume.

I'm so giddy... I feel like a little kid again.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

happiness/joy #76-100

here's the final list for ya, #76-100:

76.) spending time with good girlfriends
77.) art museums
78.) visiting my best friend in cali
79.) prayer walks
80.) getting a foot massage
81.) when my sisters and i chase eachother around the house (yes… we chase eachother… screaming, laughing, hitting)
82.) going to professional baseball games, and eating peanuts with a huge soda
83.) driving into a big city (ex: chicago) late at night
84.) the words “i love you”
85.) oreo’s and peanut butter
86.) laying on a blanket late at night looking up at the stars
87.) 24
88.) witnessing Christ transform lives
89.) long funny voicemails from friends
90.) sleepovers
91.) junior high kids
92.) walking into a newly painted room
93.) feeding ducks
94.) seeing a dad playing with his kids (especially when it’s obvious that he’s a fairly new father)
95.) petting huge furry dogs
96.) falling asleep outside under the sun
97.) making snow angels
98.) holding and playing with a baby
99.) dmc’s (deep meaningful convsersations)
100.) sitting on the very top of a mountain, above the clouds on a sunny day staring out at God’s gorgeous creation

Monday, November 28, 2005

this i believe

"there is no God" writes penn jillette.
all that is released are tears of saddness and pain.

psalm 121

i look up to the mountains -
does my help come from there?
my help comes from the Lord,
who made the heavens and the earth!
He will not let you stumble and fall;
the one who watches over you will not sleep.
indeed, he who watches over Israel
never tires and never sleeps.
the Lord himself watches over you!
the LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
the sun will not hurt you by day,
nor the moon at night.
the Lord keeps you from all evil and
preserves your life.
the Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

happiness/joy #51-75


51.) the smell of the mountains in colorado
52.) falling asleep in the middle of the day and waking up hours later
53.) my squishy massage pillow
54.) witnessing an awkward moment
55.) putting on dresses that make me feel like a princess
56.) 2500 ab workouts
57.) restaurants that prohibit smoking
58.) leaving suprises for my friends
59.) getting caught up in the Word
60.) downtown chicago during the holiday’s
61.) going canoeing
62.) spur of the moment road trips to random places
63.) the smell of freshly cut grass
64.) painting
65.) going out on a date
66.) dancing (preferably to *nsync and britney type music)
67.) singing as loud as i can in my car
68.) buying a new outfit
69.) taking black and white pictures
70.) reading a new book
71.) diving into a pool
72.) getting dressed up – makeup, hair done, manicure, pedicure… the whole deal
73.) snuggling up on the couch, watching a movie, while eating m&m’s and popcorn mixed together
74.) a large mocha mint frappe from java g’s
75.) not setting my alarm before i go to sleep

Thursday, November 17, 2005

rock on

last night i went to the david crowder/shane & shane concert with a friend of mine. we arrived a bit early being some of the first people in line. as we waited, my friend and i got to talking to this older women (maybe in her late 70's) who was there with one of her sons. she shared with us her love for crowders music, then going on to list other worship leaders she absolutely adored...

i love tim hughes... and that chris tomlin! oh he's so good! i love casting crowns, they were one of my favorite. and mercy me is good... but that tim hughes and chris tomlin! they are just fabulous... i just love chris tomlin's song "how great is out God"! i could listen to that song over and over again.

listening to a woman of her age display her love for these singers was beautiful. it's not very often you meet elderly people in the church that enjoy the "harder" kind of worship music.

when i first heard a church playing this loud music, i couldn't believe it and said, "this isn't church!" and then i saw people dancing... i just walked out. but God has shown me that their music is the same exact worship music as any hymn i would ever sing, just a different style. and the dancing... He tells us to dance, so i just need to get used to that and do it!

it was beautiful.

i then met 4 guys who drove down from minnesota just to see the show. they had even made shirts that said "we drove 240 miles just to see david." talking with them i could see their love for the Lord. their eyes glistened and shined brightly. they didn't even need to mention much about God; i could just see it in them.

when the doors open, my friend and i joined them in the front center of the hall. their excitement was undescribable. they could not wait until crowder came out and caught a glimpse of their shirts... and in fact he did. david looked down at the 4 of them laughing and thanking them for their faithfulness to his band. one of the guys, matt, turned to me, looking like a little kid in a candy store and said, "can you believe that?! david just asked me what my name was!"

besides the blessing of being with hundred of believers and getting to worship the Lord, i was also blessed with the conversations i had with the different people that i met. this concert reminded me of being at passion '05, yet a ton smaller (sidenote: go to passion '06 if you can -

oh and i think crowder is ten times cooler simply because he plays the keytar. (i posted my photo's from the concert, feel free to check 'em out).

and He's set me on fire, i am burning alive
with His breath in my lungs, i am coming undone
and He's set me on fire, i am burning alive
with His breath in my lungs, i am coming undone.
and i cannot hold it in and remain composed
loves taking over me and so i propose,
in letting myself go
i am letting myself go...
You are my joy, You are my joy, You are my joy, You are my JOY!
You are my joy, You are my joy, You are my joy, You are my JOY!

Monday, November 14, 2005

brand new

last night i gathered together with people in one of the most beautiful scenes i have witnessed in a long time.

i was able to go downtown des moines and join together with hundreds and hundreds of people from my church, as we celebrated God's goodness and grace. we praised Him for the lives that He has changed within the church, and the blessings that He has provided to our community.

i sang. i danced. i laughed. i wept... and i wept hard.

in the middle of the singing and worshiping, about 20 people from the congregation, male and females ranging from 13-50, graciously stood up in front of the crowd each holding a sign that on one side shared what things them captive before Christ, and on the other revealing how their lives are now that they have the Father in their life...

ugly --> BEAUTIFUL
slave to possessions --> FREE TO GIVE
boy crazy --> CRAZY ABOUT JESUS
skeptic --> CONVINCED
led by guilt --> LED BY LOVE
following peers --> FOLLOWING CHRIST
lost --> FOUND

my eyes filled with tears the second the group began walking across the stage. one by one they revealed the trapped side of their sign while a coldplay song played in the background, then slowly they each flipped over their sign revealing their new life in Jesus.

i shed tears of thankfulness for the transformation in each of my brothers and sisters, but also because i could see myself. it was hard for me to admit that i am still one of those people stuck in certain areas of my life, but i was still able to worship and find joy in the Yeshua. thank the Lord for that. thank God that we do not have to live a life of imprisonment. thank God that He will set us free. though it takes time, the beauty of the process is astonishing.

witnessing the transformation of people from one life to another is one of the most beautiful things that takes place in this world.

praise God. praise God. praise God!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

happiness/joy #26-50

here's #26-50 for ya folks...

26.) giving back massages
27.) driving a jet ski
28.) picnics
29.) movie previews
30.) inside jokes
31.) puppies
32.) going to the zoo (yes... i'm 5 years old...)
33.) the month of may
34.) mud fights
35.) meeting new people
36.) falling asleep in the huge red chairs in drakes student union
37.) shoe shopping
38.) wearing my cowboy hat
39.) putting on clothes right out of the dryer
40.) going out for sushi with my parents
41.) california
42.) long flowy gypsy skirts
43.) putting lotion on my face after i take a shower
44.) incense (preferably nagchamba)
45.) hearing and watching my little sister laugh uncontrollably (including snorting, spitting, and body convulsions)
46.) the feeling in my stomach while on a rollercoaster
47.) jenni terrills amazing peppermint dessert
48.) going to a concert of a band i really like
49.) the noise of rocks being thrown in the water

50.) kate t's tree swing

Sunday, November 06, 2005

happiness/joy #1-25

i'm following the crowd... top 100 things that bring me happienss/joy.


1.) hearing the Lord's voice
2.) laughing so hard i can't breath

3.) snowboarding
4.) sleeping with 5 or more pillows
5.) romania
6.) walking on the beach barefoot
7.) brushing my teeth
8.) hugging my family after not seeing them for a long time
9.) cuddling/spooning
10.) dipping french fries in a wendys frosty
11.) bouquets of sunflowers
12.) having someone brush my hair
13.) having a friend smile at me for no reason
14.) picked up, off the ground, double armed hugs
15.) when someone calls you just to say "hi" because they "were thinking about you"
16.) holding hands
17.) discovering a new band
18.) snow on the ground that hasn’t been touched
19.) praying for people/being prayed for
20.) driving towards a sun set
21.) down comforters
22.) sharing my testimony
23.) falling asleep on the terrill’s kitchen floor
24.) sunny days with a light rain

25.) downloading a new phone ring

Sunday, October 30, 2005

something to think about...

if God can accomplish His purposes in this world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

joby job job

i work at a lawfirm and i love it. i really do. never in a million years did i think i'd use the word "love" and "lawfirm" in the same sentence. it seems somewhat like an oximoron. but nor did i ever think i'd work in a lawfirm...

i've been working downtown des moines with this firm since the middle of august and i'm just beginning to realize right now how much i truly do love it and what a blessing it was to get this job handed to me on a silver platter. i had been working as a nanny for 10 months but had to quit because of my new school schedule... my old roommate told me to take her job at a lawfirm... long story short, i went in and i was handed the job on the spot.

i get to dress up everyday (which i enjoy) and i just hang out in the firm library until someone hands me something to do. i'm basically a slave. but i love it. in all honesty, it is teaching me more and more about being a servant.

whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (matthew 20:26-28, niv)

my official title is: courier/runner. i drive a lot, deliver court cases to judges, file important documents, pick up things from the lawyers houses, make copies, and every now and then make a stop at hyvee or walgreens. i meet people all the time, and when i do, i'm often filled with an unexplainable joy that fuels me to keep going the rest of the day. the other day i was walking into the court house downtown shivering, this man next to me turns and says (with a strong southern accent), "darlin'! it's not that cold yet... you just get ready!" this began a conversation about me being from chicago, the sox in the world series (yuck), him growing up down south... it was encouraging in ways i can't explain.

besides having the freedom i do and meeting so many different people, i work with some awesome people. i've learned there are a few believers in the office and that one of the lawyers i had always been intimidated by actually does ministry at junior high schools with people from a christian organization he's in. since then he's become one of my favorite people in the office. i love talking to him because i can see in his eyes the passion he has for middle school kids. i don't come across that often - its refreshing.

i've really connected with a few of the other lawyers and numerous secretaries. there is one specific secretary whom i love... she reminds me of a grandma. white hair, cute, talkative... love her.

on the other hand, there are a few crazy people at the firm... i like them, but they're a bit intense. one lawyer threatened to cut someone's hand off if they messed something up and another has been called "drill sergeant." makes me laugh. and then there's this other courier... lets just say he's a little... whats the word... different. :-)

it's a blessing that i have found happiness and joy in serving people the way i do with this job.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

dracula's castle

in june when i was in romania, our team made a stop in a town in transylvania to visit one of dracula's castles. they're very well known and people come from all over the world to visit them.

when i first found out we were going to one, i didn't think much of it. "cool. i've never been to a castle." this particular castle was extremely beautiful on the outside and a few places in, but the whole time we walked through it i felt sick. not "i have the flu" type sickness, but "i feel really weird and want out of this place" type sickness. we were there during the day and there were tons of tourists everywhere, but i couldn't help but feel weird walking through that place.

tonight i turned the tv on hoping to find something to watch for half an hour before going to sleep. i stopped on a channel that had a show on called "the scariest places on earth." these kinds of shows are ridiculous... but for some reason i stayed on the channel to see what "scary place" these people were at.

some lady came on and talked a bit about dark spirits and what makes a place scary. she then began to introduce this episode...

"tonight the mason family is going to be visiting one of dracula's castles in transylvania, in hopes of discovering the spirits that lurk behind these castles walls."

i thought about how it'd be weird if it was the same castle i visited over the summer, but pushed the thought aside. they interviewed the family then zoomed in on the castle they'd be visiting...

yeah... definitely the same castle i was in...

my heart just about stopped.

again, i hate these shows, but i really wanted to watch, yet i was really scared to. i do believe places like this, where in the past there were witches and satanic worshipers, that evil spirits or demons dwell. when we think of the spiritual world, often times only think about God and the good side... we forget that there is in fact an evil side and it is just as real as the Father is.

james wrote to the people saying, you believe that there is one God. good! even the demons believe that - and shudder (james 2:19, niv).

if we believe so strongly in the Lord, then we must be aware of the darkness of the spiritual world. i believe in satan and demons, but in no way does this mean i follow them or worship them. there is a difference between believing and following.

as i watched part of this show i again felt sick, but i also found myself getting a bit mad. the host talked in a creepy way trying to make the mood even moreso frightening. in ways it reminded me of a bad haunted house - slow quiet talking, noises, black cats, rats... everything was most likely staged. i felt sick probably because i began to remember how horrible that place was when i visited, but i was a little upset because of the way they were talking about evil spirits. they talked as if it was all a joke and a game - which i know it was a "game" for this family to go into this castle alone in the middle of the night, but they had them praying these prayers alone and together as they were put in different rooms by themselves. one of the prayers asked the spirits for forgiveness and asked if they would not harm them. i wanted to puke.

by no means was this a christian show, so of course they never once mentioned God, but it seriously got me flustered. i dont think thats the type of stuff to mess around with even if it is just a "game." just like tarot cards, ouija boards, witchcraft... it may seem harmless, but i do think there is evil within those things. they are not of God... they are actually the opposite of God, so it makes sense that there would be evil in them.

i think moses makes it pretty clear in deuteronomy...

let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium orspiritst or who consults the dead. anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. you must be blameless before the Lord your God (18:10-13, niv).

i myself had always pushed aside the other side of the spiritual world, but for the past 5 months i'm beginning to understand just how real it is and how serious it is. it's a lot more serious then people think...

i'll stop here, i could go on forever about this.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

ps - i'm going on episode 17 of season 2 of 24... oh... my... gosh... i am addicted and can't stop.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

heads-up seven-up

i spent the morning playing heads up seven up with 35 6th graders.

remember that game? when i was in junior high, heads up seven up was the game to play. everyone who is anyone played that game, and if you didn't, you were a loser. that still seems to be the way it is today. the second those lights go out and those thumbs go up on the air, it was on. no messing around here... serious business was taking place.

i have a confession though...

i was one of those kids. and by "those" kids i mean the ones who were brutally intense and treated the game as if it was a matter of life and death, but secretly i was cheating. people praised me for being so good and for rarely making an incorrect guess as to who tapped my thumb. i remember friends of mine and classmates thinking i had some super sense where i could tell who tapped me by the feeling of their hand. others thought i could tell who the person was because of the way that they breathed over me. and some people even thought that i had some sort of psychic power. i played along with all three. "i'm so good... i know."

i had this special technique that, at the time, no one ever caught onto. i am probably not the only kid who as ever done this, but i felt like i was. the key was to shift; re-adjust in my seat right before everyone started walking around. i never lifted my head or looked up, but my focus stayed on the ground. for a brief moment, i was able to catch a glimpse of the person's shoes who was doing the tapping. i thought i was a genius. after i saw the shoe, i re-adjusted once more.

i'd make my guess, get "oohed" and "ahhed", then it would be my turn to pick someone. it's harder to cheat when you're the person doing the tapping, but i was always sure to walk silently, and change up my tapping styles. throw people for a loop. tap softly, then slam down on the thumb. squeeze it, then pinch it. flick it, hit it. etc.

this morning brought me back to that. i chuckled as i watched these 12 year olds laughing hysterically and running around as if they didn't have a care in the world. all that mattered what who hit their thumb. kids who hated each other came together during the game. any drama that had been taking place between groups vanished for those 45 minutes. anyone who came into the classroom upset, found joy in this game and couldn't help but have a smile painted across their face. what is it about heads up seven up that gets kids so pumped?

i then began thinking about our walk with the Lord... what if we were as passionate about Jesus as kids are about heads up seven up? ridiculous comparison perhaps, but seriously...

if i walk into a room and someone mentions Jesus, why do i not drop all my fears and concerns and get completely hyped just like kids do when they hear the words "heads up seven up"? for the short amount of time that the game takes place, kids are immersed in it and see nothing better about life. i want to be that immersed in Yeshua.

like i mentioned before, i was a huge heads up seven up cheater. i cheated so i could be admired and to seem like i had it all figured out. i think we all play this type of game with the christian life and with the Lord. we try to act like we have all the answers and know exactly how to "win the game" when in fact we're only cheating. we pretend. we put on a happy face when we have found ourselves in depression because we think we'll be loved more if we're happy. we run around doing 80 things at once in order to look like a hero and to be appreciated and admired. it's a complete cop out. we're cheating, and we know it... yet we continue because it makes us feel good.

we do the same thing with God... we peek out thinking that He can't see us cheating. we continue to hide our desire of being... God... and think that He can't see us trying to be Him. since no one else can see us cheating, we automatically think that He cannot either. we're so sly. we think, "look at me God, look how good i am and how i have it all figured out", where in reality He can see right through us. the Father can see that we're acting the way we do and doing the things we do just to be admired.

we get in the habit of not reading our bible, but since we know scripture like that back of our hand, we can still quote verses nonstop in conversations - we then are seen as wise... i'm so great, look at me. we know the right words to say in prayer, even if our heart isn't there... listen to me, i'm so godly. we get involved with 8 different ministries to look good - look at me, i can do it all. we know we're cheating, but we haven't been called out, so that must mean that no one knows... we act like He doesn't know... we cheat and we shove it in His face.

don't be a cheater like me.

Monday, October 17, 2005


for the past few months my family and friends have been telling me about this show called 24 that is, and i quote, "one of the best shows ever." i really hadn't been that interested in watching it, but decided to give it a go the other day. i went and rented the first season on dvd just to see what the craze is all about.

i was only going to watch an episode or two...


i'm going on episode 13 of the first season.

i'm officially hooked. i don't know what it is, but there is something about this show that continues pulling me back. now i can see why everyone loves it. jack bauer is pretty much one of the coolest people ever, and watching 24 continulously (i'm on fall break so i'm allowed to sit on my butt all day and watch tv) makes me want to become a federal agent and fight crime.

so go watch 24. now.


sidenote: check out a band called mute.math. i first heard about them a couple of years ago, but hadn't really heard much from them since then. last night i went to see mae at the house of blues downtown chicago and mute math actually opened up for them.

i'd describe them as a mix between a hardcore postal service, u2, coldplay, 311.

"the heart of this project is worship and getting back to the basics of life by simplifying how you choose to lead yours." -paul meany, lead singer/keyboard

"the underlying message of the songs on this ep centers on accepting life's uncertainties and finding peace in giving it up to God."

Friday, October 14, 2005

that hurts

"why in the world are you spending so much time with grounded...?"

"have you guys even done anything with it yet? are you ever going to?"

"honestly, no one is going to help you."

"you're not doing it right."

"you don't know at all what you're talking about..."

"i think you're wrong and need to study your theology more."

... a few of the comments that i have received within the last week from friends of mine.

i'm gonna be honest... i'm tired of it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

theology smology...

recently the Lord has been breaking down my heart; in a good way. a lot of my focus the past few weeks has been on theological issues within the church and trying to understand exactly what God means by each verse in His book.

i am 114.65844675% sure that He's been chuckling at me, shaking His head sighing, "oh My child jackie..."

friends started asking difficult questions and estasblishing situations relating to the church and Christ that stopped me dead in my tracks. "that can't be right... but i don't know why..." and "good question, i'm gonna research it". i began emailing people like crazy, asking for their thoughts and/or if they knew of any books where i could get answers...

all i wanted to do was read theology... in my mind, that was going to help me have answers to any question ever presented to me. i started desiring to know as much information (and even more) as some of my friends and i wanted to be able to stand firm (and win) in complex debates concerning Christ. i wanted to be right. i wanted to know it all. i wanted to be the one people turn to with a question. basically... i wanted to be "the poo" (aka "the sh*t").

God has been good though. so good. by about the 3rd chapter of each book i began reading, He was not allowing any information to enter my head and make any sense. the words i read were quite similar to the teacher from charlie brown. "wah wah wah...wah wah wah..." this occurred with every book... i wanted to scream. and i did numerous times. usually it was when i realized there was no way i could understand what any of these theologians were talking about. after the 6th attempt at one of these books, i could finally see God getting a kick out of me... ever have one of those dreams where you show up to class in your underwear?... i haven't, but this was probably just as, or even more so embarrassing then that.

i had been caught craving knowledge and... wanting God's mind. yikes. that'
s embarrassing.

i'm so glad that i can't understand certain things; i know it would do more harm then good. when the Father wants us to understand something, He will allow us to. we cannot force knowledge. i'm also glad that He has created our minds to not be able to understand the bible to it's full. no way would we be able to handle the complete and utter Truth of every word and sentence written in His Word. that makes heaven so much more beautiful... all things will be understood. that hurts my brain to even imagine.

thankfully i'm not a theologian and nor has God called me to be one. i'm accepting and understanding that even though my friends may be able to read books where i can only comprehend what 3 of the words mean, i'm not inferior and nor am i dumb; that's often how i feel. when and if the Father wants to give me the knowledge and understanding, then i believe He will.

the second we find ourselves reading or debating with the goal of being right and having knowledge, that's when we must stop and redirect.

that's when God is shaking His head.

"oh child..."

Sunday, October 09, 2005


the 4 month old pup us cavenders adopted in early september. though he weighs close to 35 pounds already, he enjoys sitting on my lap and snuggling. his name is sammy and i love him a lot.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

banter from the brain

my mom and dad are coming to visit me this weekend. i'm excited. i think i hear express calling my name while they're here...

i got a message that my dad had to go to the ER tonight. i don't really know what's up, but say a quick prayer if you could. he has more tests tomorrow. (*tests went okay*)

tonight i drove past a dunk tank sitting on the side of the road... i wanted to pull over and take it. wouldn't it be fun to have a dunk tank? i think so.

i feel the most free i have ever felt... ever. no lie. God's up to something in my life and it's more amazing then i could ever put into words. i've given Him back control, and i'm finally allowing Him to work in the huge ways He's meant to and wants to. and let me tell ya... He's rocking my face off.

i decided that i want to take a 50 months off from work/school (a little over 4 years), drive around in a van (probably like the one above), spend 1 month in each state (though i'd have to fly over to hawaii...), meet tons of people, and just be a messenger for Christ. i think that would rock. any takers?

i got out all my sweaters this afternoon and i'm stoked to wear them. the weather is getting colder and it's looking more like fall. i love it.

i read through 1 john after immersion tonight. highly recommend it.

while working in a 6th grade classroom this morning, a boy came over to where i was sitting to turn on the radio before class. he smiled at me and then cranked up the volume to a christian station. he sat on a stool in front of the radio and began singing along. i wanted to just start talking to Him about Jesus, but had to stop myself. not allowed in schools. i'd quickly get the boot.

peanut m&m's are fabulous. i'm eating some right now. go get yourself a bag and join me in this magical experience.

i just shared the gospel with a friend... pray. she believes in God but doesn't think everything in the bible actually happened and struggles with believing Jesus is the only way to the Father. again, pray.

there were bouncy castles all over drake campus today for homecoming. reminded me of being 5 years old. beauteous.

i'm rediscovering how to worship. and He's even showing me new ways to worship.

it's late and i have to get up for work tomorrow. must be rested in order to carry all those files for all my lawyer friends. ps - friday is the busiest day of the week and i work all day all alone... it's exhasting.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

emo kids are my hippies

last night i went to the coheed & cambria show in chicago. it was phenomenal.

concerts do something to me that i can't quite explain. being able to watch a band find joy in playing their music for a crowd, brings me joy.

standing all around me were people wearing black shirts, with tattooed bodies, unusual facial piercings, and long shaggy hair. i found myself immersed in the emo world, feeling at first, out of place. my 7 ear piercings, which had always made me feel a little rebellious, suddenly made me feel like a pansy. as i stood around watching these people that were so fascinating to me (on a number of different levels), i wondered that maybe because i was obviously not living the emo life style, i became fascinating to one of them.

as coheed played, people sang along, heads bobbed up and down, hands flew up in the air, the mosh pit started up, and crowd surfing began... something about all of this fills me with an energy that again, i can't explain.

being surrounded by, and talking with these people, i was reminded of one of the last chapters in blue like jazz. donald miller shares about living out in the mountains for a month amongst hippies.

"i liked them very much because they were interested in me. when i was with the hippies i did not feel judged, i felt loved. to them i was an endless well of stories and perspectives and grand literacy reviews. it felt so wonderful to be in their presence, like i was special. i have never experienced a group of people who loved each other more than my hippies in the woods. ... so much of what i know about getting along with people i learned from the hippies. they were magical in community. people were grawn to them. they asked me what i loved, what i hated, how i felt about this and that, what sort of music made me angry, what sort of music made me sad. they asked me what i daydreamed about, what i wrote about, where my favorite places in the world were. they asked me about high school and college and my travels around america. they loved me like a good novel, a person john irving would write. i did not feel fat or stupid or sloppily dressed. i did not feel like i did not know the bible well or whether or not i sounded immature when i talked. i had always been so cautious of those things, but living with the hippies i forgot about myself. and when i lost this self-consciousness i gained so much more. i gained an interest in people outside my own skin... i cannot tell you how quickly these people, these pot-smoking hippies, disarmed me. because i grew up in the safe cocoon of big-christianity, i came to believe that anything outside of the church was filled with darkness and unlove... never in my wildest dreams would i have imagined there were, outside the church, people so purely lovely as the ones i met in the woods. and yet my hippie friends were not at all close to believing that Christ was the Son of God. this did not confuse me so much as it surprised me."

it's amazing how accepting and loving certain groups of people are. too bad christians are not usually considered to be one of those loving groups. that is down right sad.

these people at the coheed show were to me, what the hippies were to don. yes they drink enormous amounts. yes they swear uncontrollably. yes they smoke cigarettes. yes they smoke pot. yes they most likely do other drugs. but they sure do know how to love people. how is it that a lot of these people, who have no interest in knowing Jesus Christ, share so much love, while those who desire to be like Christ (love), are constantly judging and condemning people we don't know, along with our own brothers and sisters?

i think i love being at concerts like this because i'm surrounded by such loving people. people who want to hear your opinion, even if they don't agree with it. they love to hear others speak passionately about something. just as the hippies taught don how to love others... i feel that just being engulfed by different people at a concert or a bar teaches me more about how to love everyone i come into contact with. could it be possible that the Lord is using these people to teach me how to love more?

i know a christian organization that looks down upon hanging out with those who are not believers. going to clubs/bars, being in certain social organizations (sororities/frats, etc), and going to non-christian concerts is unacceptable. if you hang out with someone who doesn't know Jesus, it's because they are working on leading them to Christ, but once the person becomes a follower, they drop them and move onto their next project. yuck.

if i had to be around christians 24/7 for the rest of my life, i may go nuts. no... i would go nuts. i want to go into places like bars and nonchristian concerts. i want to go into these places because it's exactly where Jesus stood. i guess i want to be a rare example of a person passionate about the Lord, who listens and loves the people who hang out in these places daily. yes i will be persecuted at times, and yes some people will flee when they find out i go to church, and yes i will even flee at times, but i still have a deep desire to be put in the middle of this lifestyle.

plus... it's refreshing to be around people who aren't so tense and sheltered all the time. they're funny and really a lot of fun. now i know why i hung out with nonchristians all through high school. i'm able to connect with people who aren't believers on a level that i could never connect on with christians.

i'm ready to be put back in.
i'm ready to be taught more about love.
i'm ready to be a light.
i'm ready to be real.

Friday, September 30, 2005

box (with or without a lid?)

what would you do if you had no fear?

this question was raised to me a number of years ago, but has recently been brought back into the picture. can you imagine what our world would be like if we lived free from fear? the absence of fear in sharing the Truth, the absence of fear in sharing your story, the absence of fear in letting Yeshua be fully and completely in control.

man alive. just imagine...

we live today with little faith. though we like to think we have faith beyond belief, we really don't. we've taken the Lord, put Him in a box, and we allow Him to work as much as we allow Him to. why don't we understand that He wants to do so much more then we're letting Him? just as He won't force anyone to believe in Him, He won't force us to let Him do what He desires to do. we've opened the lid of the box this much -...

but what would happen in our lives... in our country... in our world, if we took the lid off completely?

"satan, who i believe exists just as much as i believe Jesus exists, wants us to believe meangingless things for meaningless reasons. can you imagine if christians actually believed that God was trying to rescue us from the pit of our own self-addiction? can you imagine? can you imagine what americans would do if they understood half the world was living in poverty? do you think they would change the way they live, the products they purchase, and the politicians elect? if we believed the right things, the true things, there wouldn't be very many problems on earth." ~donald miller (blue like jazz)

why can't we start living like people did way back when? why can't we live like paul? barnabas? david? nehemiah?

what is happening to our faith and trust in Him?... we're dying. why are we, servants and children, attempting to control our Master and our Father?

do we seriously think we know better?

fear is that lid on the box...

what would happen if we didn't have a lid? what would happen if we stepped back and gave the Lord His control back? what would happen if we died to ourselves, and let HIM lead?

He has so many incredible things He wants to do and show us, but He's just waiting until we're done trying to be the one in charge.

just imagine.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


is it bad that i think protestors are... let's say... ridiculous?

i couldn't help but laugh when i drove by kfc this afternoon, where 5 people stood outside marching back and forth, waving their signs, telling no one to eat from kfc ever again. not to mention, some dude dressed in a chicken suit sat there holding a sign with a picture of a chicken about to get it's head cut off.

i cracked up... it was ridiculous and it reminded me that i think protesting is, again, ridiculous.

i myself am not a religious kfc eater, and nor do i think their food is good. also, like these animal rights activists, i too love animals... but when it comes to chickens, cows, pigs... kill 'em all you want cause that just means i have some meat to eat.

sure, there are definitely things that are probably worth protesting, but kfc...? c'mon guys...

at least protest something that has some sort of value to life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

the cavender clan

my family is amazing.

they're weird, crazy, funny, ridiculous, and huge dorks... and i love it.

tonight i got a phone call from the whole crew; denny, gail, amanda, and bethy. they thought it'd be funny to call me while they sat around the dinner table eating dinner, and put me on speaker cavender's, are classy folks... my mom spent the whole day slaving behind a hot stove cooking macaroni & cheese and hot dogs for everyone. i love that my mom made macaroni & cheese and hot dogs for family dinner... that freaking rocks.

being put on speaker phone for the 30 minutes that i was brought me back to our family dinners we used to have when i was living at home. there was never a moment that someone wasn't laughing. i could hear my little sister snorting, and her food flying out of her mouth as she laughed. which then trigered a mental picture of amanda falling out of her chair, laughing silently trying to catch her breath. my moms eyes squinted shut trying not to cry from laughing so hard. i could picture them sitting there, seeing who could eat all their macaroni first without using their hands... the best is when my dad jumps in. food'll be hanging from his face, he'll know it, but he'll pretend like it's not there. classic denny.

the burping contests have to be the best... though i always lose, they make me laugh.

a couple weeks ago amanda gave me a "family update":

"mom's getting mommier, dad's getting weirder, and bethy's getting sassier."

tonight i could actually see these changes. i guess the other day, my dad ambushed my sister with water balloons for no reason. he just found some water balloons in the house, filled them up himself, waited outside for her to come home from work, and then chased her down, throwing as he could.

i just began to see these changes, though it all started a few years back... my mom emails me daily, calls me to see if i got her emails daily, leaves me 5 minute long messages daily... my dad decided to buy a 1960 tbird off of ebay, which then led to buying a house in colorado just for kicks, which then led him to almost buying 100 acres of land... my younger sister became an "upperclassman", she hangs out with her friends all the time, and uses sarcasm like it's her job. as for amanda... she's getting married... other then that, i think she's the only sane one in the house... maybe.

jokes were flying left and right over the phone... i wish i could have recorded this classic cavender moment.

i share all this because i love how insane and spontaneous my family is. i almost forgot how much fun i have when i'm with them; even if it is just over the phone.

pound it sistas.

spiritual makeover

a big thanks to the people who have been lifting me up... He's definitely listening and changing things. the physical pain is definitely still here (for now), but over night i've gone through an emotional and mental makeover.

praise the Lord.

my face currently:
still obviously in pain, but the joy is pushing its way through.

Monday, September 26, 2005


i think heaven is going to look something like this:

and that makes me smile.

a lot.

Friday, September 23, 2005

7 hours in the ER

starting at 10:30pm wed night, i began receiving horrific sharp pains on the left side of my lower back. because i do in fact have a weak back from an almost paralyzing snowboarding accident 3 1/2 years ago, i figured the pains were just my usual back pains. as the night went on, they got worse... and worse... and worse. the pain got to the point where i couldn't stand up straight and any position i put myself in (even when i was completely still) the pains only grew. after not sleeping for more than an hour that night, i made my way to the the ER at mercy hospital around 12:30pm thursday afternoon.

i was admitted at about 1:30 where right away i was handed a cup and directed to the nearest bathroom. peeing in a cup... life doesn't get much better than that. the doctor pushed, pressed, and poked the left side of my body which, did not make me a happy camper.

"look's like it's your kidney hun... we're gonna test you for a kidney infection or kidney stones. i'll have a nurse come in to take some blood."

wonderful. take blood from the girl who is terrified of needles. thankfully my roommate was there with me and graciously offered to hold my hand. yes, tears fell, but 5 vile's later it was over.

from 2:30-6:00, keely and i sat and waited for results of my tests. people go crazy while having to wait long periods of time in hospitals; i had forgotten this... yet it was entertaining. finally at 6:00 i was taken to get a CT scan and an xray of the area they were worried about...

good news: no kidney infection or kidney stones

bad news: something was found in which there is no way of fixing it (right now)

i'm currently on pain medication because that's all they can do right now. in the middle of october, i have to go in for more testing to see if things are better or to see if i need surgery.

i'm gonna be real... i'm really scared. whatever happens in october can affect my future and things that i've always wanted. i sit here almost in disbelief because it doesn't feel real. i'm trusting the Lord... i am putting my trust in HIM. i trust my Daddy, but i've never been so scared... ever.

request: pray. i'm being bold... pray for complete healing. both physical and emotional.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

workin for the fuzz

a friend of mine who works for an anti-tobacco company hooked me up with doing alcohol checks for the waukee police department. going into bars and gas stations trying to buy beer sounded like fun, so my friend jenny and i headed to the police station for our assignment last night.

sergeant troy and officer rod had 5 bars and 7 gas stations we needed to check out. things got even more interesting when we found out we'd all be riding around in an undercover cop car together. sweet... i had never been in a cop car, let alone doing secret agent work for the popo.

our assignment: go into 5 bars (mikeys, bank bar, the pub, los [something], and... another...), sit down at the bar, order a beer of some kind, see if they check id.

say not old enough - leave bar causally and don't make a scene; go along with whatever they say.
if served (whether id is check or not) - sit for a few minutes with beer in hand (NO DRINKING), pay, walk out to let officers know what happened, officer's go in and fine that person $700 and the bar/station will be put on a watch list or have their license suspended.

bar #1:
jenny and i entered, walked right up to the counter, and sat down. quickly, a guy came out from the back room, saw us, asked us what we wanted, gave us our order, and left quickly back into where he had come from. we sat for about two minutes, left money on the counter, and made our way outside to tell troy and rod who served us, and that they didn't check our id's. troy and rod then made their way into the bar while we sat waiting in the car. about 5 minutes later, troy comes out laughing a bit... "you guys got the manager..."

bar #2-#4:
id's checked, and they wouldn't serve. i was almost served at bar #3, but jenny got up after he told her she was too young...

bar #5:
we walked into a completely empty bar, except for 3 people working. sat down at the counter where right away the lady asked for our id's. literally, she studied mine like a hawk for 2 or 3 minutes... "honey, this doesn't look like you at all! wow..." "well, i was only 16 and i had jaw surgery, that's why i look so different." she even showed the other 2 people working because she was so shocked it didn't look like me. finally gave me mine back and took jenny's... "hun, you're not old enough, i can't serve you"... [turned to me]... "what do you want honey." "miller lite in the bottle please." we sat for a few minutes, paid, and then exited. cops then went in... 10 minutes later we look down the street watching the manager shake her finger at troy and rod. when they got back in the car, i learn that the woman who served me had some choice words expressing her anger at me... "that skanky b-tch!! this is entrapment! that b-tch better not f--king come in here again! that b-tch!" so glad i didn't have to enter that bar again... and i don't think i ever will...

gas station #1:
jenny got carded and left empty handed.

gas station #2:
i walked in, grabbed a six pack, walked to the counter where a 16 year old kid happened to be working... paid and walked out. cops went in where he replied... "man! she looked 21, i didn't think i needed to card her!" i admit... i do feel bad about this one... 16 years old!... $700 fine and fired from his job... mommy and daddy are not going to be too pleased with that one.

gas station #3-#5:
jenny walked away with nothing from two place, and i walked away beerless from one.

gas station #6:
walked in, grabbed a case, showed rhonda my id when she asked, where she replied, "illinoisssss!! whacha doin here in good ol' ioowaaa?!" walked out... #4 busted for the night.

gas station #7:
we drive by out last stop where rod and troy say, "JASON IS WORKING! we HAVE to bust him... HUGE drug dealer. he'll sell to you because you're hot." (weird... thanks...???) i go in, grab a pack, he checks my id, but discovers i'm not old enough. i walk out empty handed. once i explain this to troy and rod, they go in anyways suspecting something... found out that another store had called them to give them the heads up, which come to find out is illegal. stores are told to keep quiet when these checks take place... so i guess a woman named bonnie is in HUGE trouble for opening her big mouth. thanks bonnie, i wanted to get the drug dealer!

i admit there were times (mainly for the 16 year old) that i felt bad, but checking id's correctly is apart of their job! they need to do it right. if i can walk into these places and get served that easily, who's to say some kid who is 18 isn't going to walk into a place, get served, drink their brains out, and end up getting in a drunk driving accident that night, killing someone. in reality, i am looking at it as me helping out underage people from having access to something they are not supposed to touch until they're 21.

what i learned:

  • cops have DIRTY mouths
  • cops have DIRTY minds and say whatever is on them (even if it's something totally inappropriate aimed at you)
  • people need to work on their math skills...
  • i am now hated by at least 4 people in waukee
  • if i bat my eyes and smile at guys working in bars and gas stations, i can most likely get what i want
  • i'm $40 richer

if i wasn't already going to school for secondary ed, i'd so look into becoming an undercover cop.

[secret agent man... secret agent man...]

over and out.