Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eyes through Another Lense

This year at Christmas, I encourage each of you to look at giving a little differently this year.  Instead of flooding you family members with beautiful gifts or spending large amounts of money on the newest "it" item, I challenge you to give a gift that will save a life, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and bring hope to someone in need.

Give money to the Romanian Evangelistic Medical Mission to help get orphans into safe and healthy homes.

Give a pair of shoes from TOMS Shoes to your brother so that a child who doesn't have a pair, can experience what it's like to run around outside with shoes on.

Give a goat or a blanket, in honor of your mom, to a family in need living in a third world country through World Vision.

Give money in your family's name through Blood Water Mission in order to allow people in Africa living amounst the AIDS crisis taste clean water for the first time.

Or give money in order to bring rescue and restoration to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression through The International Justice Mission.

There are countless organizations out there looking for people to help, donate, and show that they want to do something in order to bring justice to our world.  I encourage you to consider stepping forward to help save lives through the gifts that you give.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The next Rachel Ray? Probably not...

Over the past couple of years, I have discovered a love and talent for cooking that I didn't know I had. Growing up I didn't help my mom cook, nor did I ask her to teach me how. It wasn't until my junior year of college that I decided that I should figure out how to since I was living on my own in an apartment and would need to cook for myself. I couldn't just walk across campus to Hubble or Olmsted anymore to get a meal, but I actually had to feed myself. After one bad attempted meal, I realized how important it was for me to figure out how to prepare a dish.

I stuck with cooking the same six things through college, but I began to expand my horizon once I moved to Wichita, bought my own house, had a real job, and felt like I was a real adult. It was time to step away from my comfort foods of pasta with red sauce and macaroni and cheese.

I gathered up as many cook books as I could get my hands on; I searched at garage sales, sale racks at Wal-Mart, and even took a few out of my mom's hands that she didn't use. I searched the web and printed recipe after recipe so that I always knew I had a variety to chose from whenever I wanted to make a meal. At first I did it because I wanted to eat healthier and was sick of having the same thing, but [especially] this past year the chore that it first was has turned into a passion.

I can't wait to cook for Matt and I most nights. Last night I made tilapia filets cooked in diced tomatoes, oregano, sautéed with orange pepper, onion, and garlic, put over rice. It was wonderful.

My shoe box full of written out and printed recipes is growing quickly. I hope to make a recipe book soon so that I no longer have to scramble through my box.

I may not be the next Iron Chef or Rachel Ray, but cooking is a form of art I will continue to pursue. Plus, seeing the smiles on people’s faces after feeding them a delicious meal brings joy to my heart!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Good Experience

Overall, I would say that I had a good experience while serving on Jury Duty.  I don't plan on putting my name on a list to serve a case once a month, or once every year for that matter, but I'm glad that I was picked.

It was interesting to me to sit through the trial, learn about the court system, and experience what a trial is really like, rather than rely on Judge Judy or Law & Order to tell me everything I need to know about the juditial system.  I never knew all of the rules and instructions that had to be followed by the lawyers, the judge, the witnesses, and the jury.

I was not allowed to talk about the case while the trial was occuring, which was hard for me, but it kept our opinions safe from being swayed one way or another.  This also included talking to my jury-mates.  It wasn't until deliberation day after the case was complete that we were allowed to say anything about it.  And in order to discuss, all 12 had to be in the jury room; no where else.

Once the trial was over, we were told that we could talk about it, research it, give opinions about it, etc etc etc; it didn't need to be kept a secret any longer.

My case involved a 13 year old girl who accused her father of touching her in a lewd manner one night when she was 10.  At the very beginning of the trial, something in my heart continued to say "he's not guilty."  I remember thinking, Why do I feel this way?  I don't know enough to make a decision yet.

As the trial continued on for the next three days, this feeling remained within and began to increase.  (In order to proclaim that someone is guilty, the jury must have no reasonable doubt.  If in fact a person has even a hint of reasonable doubt about the accusation, then automatically that person is not guilty.)

By the end of the trial I was confident that the man was not guilty.  I felt that the state had not done enough to prove to me that this situation occured in the manner that was presented.  It was a very hearsay case (he said/she said).  I felt the witnesses were not reliable, situations were stretched, and words were taken out of context.

My heart went out to this man and to the daughter, even if I couldn't believe what the daughter claimed.

The hardest thing during the trial was to not think with my feelings, because everyone who knows me knows that I am a very emotionally driven person; we too could not think about what could happen afterwards.  Relying on feelings and what could happen afterwards could greatly influence a person's decision for the verdict, so I tried with all that I had to think like my husband (an engineer).

Once myself and the rest of the jury went into the deliberation room, we talked through things first, and then we took a vote to see where everyone was at.  Myself and another gentleman were hardset on not guilty.  Eight were set on guilty.  Two others were unsure which way, but said they were leaning more towards guilty.

We spent about three hours discussing, re-listening to evidence, and making sure that our verdict would go with the instructions written from the judge.  My heart continued to break because I felt there was not even close to enough evidence to prove this man did was the acusation said he did.  We recessed and agreed to think about it over the weekend and return Monday to agree on a verdict.

I went home and I prayed like I've never prayed before.  There was no way I was willing to declare a hung jury (for numerous reasons), but I felt that my God was big enough to change the hearts of these people if the man was in fact innocent.  I spent night and day weeping, praying that hearts would be changed.

When I returned on Monday, we took a count right away to see where people were at. 

Ten people were for not guilty; the other two were set on guilty.

I almost started crying right there in the jury room because of the faithfulness of my God I was able to witness.  Even before I was picked for this jury, I prayed and asked the Lord to put me on this trial IF He needed me on it to stand up for justice.  And I was able to do so.

After more investigation and discussion, the two men finally changed over to not guilty, fully understanding that there wasn't enough truth presented to imprision this man.

I was even more encouraged and the decision was confirmed when the judge told us later that afternoon (after the trial), that he too would have voted the man not guilty.

God needed me to stand up for justice, and I was able to witness a miracle of hard hearts changed to see truth.  It was one of the most beautiful and powerful things I've ever experienced.  Daily, I try and pray for Jeff, and also for Lacey, as both of their worlds have been turned upside down since this accusatoin was made one year ago in October.  I will probably never see them again or ever talk to them, but God has reminded me that they too need prayer, even if I never know the outcome of their lives.

Stand up for justice.
Believe that it will be served.
And trust our God to break down the walls that stop it from occuring.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


According to my husband... I'm one lucky girl.

I was chosen.  Yes, chosen.  Chosen to serve on Jury Duty.  Hooray!...?... I think...

When I first told my husband he said, and I quote, "Good job babe!  That's like winning the lottary, right?!"

Today was my second day viewing the case and it has been quite an interesting experience.  Obviously I cannot say anything about the case until we have come to a verdict and the case has been closed, but let's just say it's intriguing, boring, and disheartening all at the same time.

I certainly don't want to serve every year of my life, but I would say that if you ever have the chance to do it, take it as a learning experience and enjoy the time you do have to be there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

jury summons.

I never thought I'd be summoned for jury duty, but Saturday night I walked into my house to find an envelope with my name on it from the Sedgwick County Courthouse.  The first thought that came to my head was, "for real...?!"

I slowly opened the envelope hoping it wasn't what I thought it was, but alas, I read in big bold letters across the top of the paper, JURY SUMMONS.

While reading through the letter, I hoped that under the list of people who could be excused was "anyone involved in the educational system", but no such luck.  Instead they dealt with the inability to understand English, having been convicted of a crime over the past ten years, or breast feeding mothers.  I, obviously, did not fall into any of those categories.

I had a few friends giving me ideas of how to get out of it... some suggested dressing up like a character from a movie like Princess Lea from Star Wars, while others remained simple, claiming that I knew the person being tried.

After thinking about it for a while, I began to get excited about having this opportunity.  Luckily, the day that I have been summoned, is only an in-service day for me at school, so I get to miss sitting through incredibly boring presentations and I won't have to plan for a sub. 

I do hope that if I do get picked to serve on the jury, that it won't be for some horrendous murder case that lasts for weeks; I cannot miss that much school...

All in all, the man has spoken, and I must complete my duty.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I cannot wait to go see these guys in October. It'll be my fifth time seeing them live and I already know they're going to blow me away, just as they have every show I've been to.

Their new CD, Armistance, just came out earlier this week. It of course, is incredible.

Friday, August 21, 2009

where art thou fair?

One thing I looked forward to while living in Des Moines was the Iowa State Fair. There's nothing like eating [just about] anything you want on a stick, mullet hunting, and checking out a life size sculpture made out of butter.

Kansas and Iowa are very similar in the fact that they're flat, windy, and quite honestly, just plain boring. BUT, Iowa has one of the best fairs in the nation, so in a battle between the two states, Iowa wins by a mile.

This is the third year in a row that I have not been able to enjoy the beauty that is the Iowa State Fair, and quite honestly, I do covet those who get to attend. I've gone to a few fairs here in Kansas, but none of them compare.

Maybe one day I will return and relive the beautiful event that occurs every August, but for now I'll continue dreaming of eating a scruptious state fair corn dog covered in ketchup.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

room to breathe again.

Traveling does something to my spirit that not many other things do. I find a joy and a peace that is reborn within me when I have the opportunity to travel outside of my current home. Whether it be to a town an hour away, or to another country. I've never been one to stay home during weekends, one to not go anywhere when I didn't need to be at school or work, or for that matter, I've never been one to stay living in one place for very long. I love change, even if it's only to the other side of town.

This summer was the first summer since I was a junior in high school (2002) that I didn't work. I wasn't sure how I'd handle all of the free time that I had in my future or what exactly I'd fill my time with, but quickly I learned that I needed time to rest and enjoy everything that the Lord had in store for me.

I was able to do a lot of traveling this summer, which was a huge blessing. I got to spend a week in Estes Park, Colorado at the YMCA of the Rockies with a group of 45 middle and high school students, I took a road trip to Chicago to visit my family with a good friend, and I then spent a little over a week in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico with 25 high school students. Now, these trips may not have been "typical" vacations considering I was responsible for the well being of kids for 2/3 of my getaways, but I was able to witness students making life commitments to serving Jesus Christ. That beats out any tropical vacay.

I was greatly rejuvenated this summer with my trips and having time to rest. I tried some new recipes that my husband claims are delicious. I used my bike the most I have in years. I was able to hang out with an awesome friend for hours on end catching up on 24. I mentored three high school girls who are incredible young women. And I even started scrapbooking our honeymoon, which I finished last week!

But what I am most thankful for is how the Lord reminded me of His beauty.

I often forget how lucky I am and how much I have. God has been tugging at my heart all summer, but with what? I'm not exactly sure... but what I do know is that He is working. He is creating something new within my heart, and excitingly within my husband’s heart as well.

There is a reason Matt has not gotten laid off from Cessna like many of our friends have. There is a reason my trip to Chicago ended up costing me 1/4 of what I thought it would. There is a reason I have not made the career change that I had hoped. There is a reason why I met the people I did this summer, and there is a reason why I am unsure of what's next.

It's easy for me to say that the summer brought me to a better place because I wasn't around my students, I didn't have to plan, didn't have to work, blah blah blah... did these things help my spirit? Yes, of course they did. But it was more then that.

I had no idea that God was going to bring to light the things that He did. The best part is when I can be on my knees, praising God for who He is, even in unknown circumstances.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


To continue my rant of MuteMath, and for your enjoyment, here is their video for Typical (came out last year-ish).


Saturday, April 18, 2009


I took this picture at the last MuteMath concert I went to. If you know me, you probably know at least three things regarding myself and music:

One, I personally am not musically talented. Two, I'm a die-hard 'NSYNC and Justin Timberlake fan. And three, I think MuteMath is absolutely brilliant.

Witnessing MuteMath perform is an experience I can only attempt to describe. From the moment they walk on stage, to the moment they disappear backstage, can leave one standing in complete disbelief. The lights, the sounds, the movements, the voices, the Truth, the Beauty that is displayed throughout their each of their shows is astounding.

I've been able to experience [not watch] four of their shows, and one evening actually ended sitting at Denny's having a discussion with Paul Meany about his dislike for Nickelback (quite amusing). Nice guys. Down to earth, real, funny, and just like on stage, filled with Joy and Truth.

Tonight my sister sent me a website which features Paul, Greg, and Darren (sadly no Roy) on a worship CD leading some incredible songs. I found myself near tears. Simply because of how stunning and beautiful their sound is; I knew it would be, it always is, but it's refreshing to actually hear that same brilliance over and over and over again.

These guys are for real.

I must say, these four men have a gift. And what's even greater, is that they know it. How awesome is that?! They recognized God, recognized the gift He's blessed them with, and then scream it out wherever they go. "Christian" music or not, who cares. What matters is that they have identified their Savior, devoted their lives to sharing that Love, and then tell about who He is during every moment on and off stage.

If you haven't seen 'em, head to youtube and check out some of their stuff. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"It's all the economy's fault!"

I'm not a dedicated Oprah watcher, but every now and then if I get home early from school and need some time to unwind, I'll check out what the topic of the show is. Yesterday I got home, sat my butt on the couch, flipped on the tube, and found my heart breaking the moment The Oprah show began.

The entire show was dedicated to talking with married couples who were finding themselves near divorce, or already there, because of the economic state of our nation. Couples joined the show through skyp, via phone, and some were at the show to share of the struggles they have been facing over the past year.

One lady said, "The economic situation is killing my marriage." Right after she said this, I found myself repeating over and over again to myself, "no... the economy isn't killing your marriage, you and your husband are killing your marriage." It broke my heart to listen to these couples who wanted to call it quits because "things are just too hard." Guess what people, no matter the state of the economy, the state of your health, or the state of your finances, things will be difficult.

The reality is, there isn't a push for marriage to be as sacred as it used to be, or as a matter of fact, as it should be. It seems that today it's just something that people choose to do, and when it gets hard, it's okay to make a quick exit. It's easy to point your finger at things, such as the economy, to blame and use as an excuse to run away from uncertainties.

Everyday I discover just how selfish I am; I have to daily allow God to strip away my "it's all about me" attitude and transform me. If we don't at least try to change this "me, me, me" persona we're all guilty of at times, I can certainly understand how this attitude has the ability to control our thoughts and actions in drastic ways. If I didn't daily surrender to God, I'm 100% sure that I wouldn't be married, nor would I even be able to be in a relationship with someone that lasted more than a week.

Choosing to love your spouse and stick with them no matter what is exactly what we as married couples signed up for. A feeling is only a small portion of love. Love consists of something greater; you choose to love. It's a choice.

I was so disturbed by the couples that shared their situations because quite honestly, it felt like a cop-out to me. Maybe they really are losing money, or they really can't find a job, or they can't retire anymore... it's probably valid because we are in an economic crisis, and I do empathize with them. But my point is, where is the commitment that people promised one another on their wedding day? Why can a wife justify tearing down and blaming her hard working husband for getting laid off and not being able to find another job? Since when did marriage become about ourselves and whatever makes me happy?

Where is the sacred institution that God designed at the beginning for a man and wife to become one and to be committed to one another for their time on earth?

If the economy continues to fall, will we continue to love, support, and stick with our life partner? Or will we run because we don't like instability and things become too challenging and too much work?

If the economy is to blame for a divorce,and if things continue to go down hill, we're all doomed...

Monday, March 02, 2009

along comes change?

The idea of change brings my heart great joy. I’ve always enjoyed “big” change in my life. Moving to new places, new friends, new churches, new opportunities, etc; some people hate change, but for me, it brings a sense of thrill and challenge. More so, I’ve never wanted to be “that person” who seeks out change in order to run away from their problems. I am confident that I have stayed clear from that. Have I thought it at times? Yes, but I’m always able to ask myself, ‘what is the point of wanting (insert change here) to occur?’

In the past when God spoke change over my life, most times I found it easy to follow. I typically look forward to the newness that awaits, but overall, it’s been easy.

Recently, the Lord opened a door that I’ve been praying about for years. I don’t know the outcome, but I know that I need to begin walking through the door to see what specific things He has for me on the other side; mostly to see if they’re what I’ve dreamt of.

It’s funny though. Taking these steps, steps toward more change than I’ve probably ever faced before, I always imagined it would be quite easy for me, simply because of that fact that I have been dreaming about this moment for a long time. Plus, change used to be easy…

But I’m finding myself scared out of my mind. I’ve even found myself trying to think of ways “to get out of it” because the change is just that big.

Through much prayer recently, and from thinking about prayer in years past, I’ve made the decision to walk forward, but am for the first time, completely petrified of this possible change. I’m particularly comfortable with where I’m at, so with that, I sense that the Lord is shaking me a bit. I find it normal for me to be fearful, as long as my fear does not drive my decision.

The great thing is I can identify my fear, as just that, fear. Overcoming fear can be challenging, but with the right focus and drive, it is completely possible.

I’m reminded of Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious in anything…” I understand what Paul was saying, yet it doesn’t decrease the “fear” that lingers. What it does do, and what I feel Paul was trying to get across, was that if we stand firmly trusting God, we know that anything He does or however He answers our prayers, will be most beneficial for the Kingdom. It’s all about God receiving the most Glory.

As He continues to shake me, I’ve committed to walking no matter how fearful I may become. I have a feeling this is big… bigger than I even know. So big that the evil one is trying to distort “change” for me because he does not want me to get anywhere near this open door. Could it be because walking through this door could be detrimental to the enemy’s plan? Quite possibly.

A friend of mine continually reminds me, “Satan isn’t going to attack or act if a person is not a threat. When he attacks, it’s because that person has the possibility to destroy everything he is working toward.”

The Lord spoke over me that 2009 would be a year of “challenge and learning”… I think I’m beginning to see why…

Thursday, January 29, 2009

ode to rod b.

a haiku for mr. rod blagojevich:

you tried to sell his
seat and now all you have is
a head of bad hair.

you make illinois proud. good luck on your future endeavors dirt bag.