Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Get off your butt and vote!

Disclaimer: Although I'm part of what a newspaper-reporter acquaintance of mine would call the "*indistinct muttering* religious right," I just want to encourage EVERY U.S. citizen to JUST VOTE! No matter who or what party you vote for, if you're registered to vote, JUST VOTE!

If you're anything like how I was a few years ago, you're barely even aware that there's an election at all. In 2000, I was in my early 20s and VERY full of myself and absorbed in my own little world. 8 years later, President Bush is about to finish his second term. I finally got my act together by 2004 and voted for Bush myself, but in retrospect, it would have been nice to have been a part of the 2000 election, as crazy as it was, to at least tell my grandchildren about it, right? :) Anyway, that is my personal history. In 2002 when there was a gubernatorial race, I wouldn't have known where or when to vote if all the political ads hadn't been airing nonstop on network TV. (I didn't have cable then, and Tony Sanchez was running for Texas governor against Rick Perry, and I got SO SICK of Sanchez' nonstop commercials that I voted for Perry out of spite!) I even remember there being some kind of special election in the middle of the year and getting mad hearing about it on the news after the fact because I didn't even know there was an election. What the heck? How come the election officials don't just send out a mass email to everyone and remind everybody when to vote and where the polling locations are??

Of course, as the years go by and technology keeps blossoming, it's harder to live under a rock, so you probably already know there's an election. :) As for me, I'm a citizen of this country, I'm registered to vote, I already decided months ago who to vote for, and I've got gas in my car. There's no reason why I shouldn't exercise my right to vote.

I think as you get older, you learn more to appreciate this right. When I worked at a local candidate's campaign in 2004, we didn't have 18-year-olds calling us asking us for a ride to the polls; we had elderly voters calling us. My family tried to raise me to appreciate basic American freedoms such as voting, and it's finally starting to sink in for me. (My mother immigrated to the U.S., legally, when she was 3 years old, but that's another story. :))

Recently, I've had conversations with people who have really strange reasons for not voting. One guy I talked to said he was a Democrat and belonged to a labor union, but he won't vote because he said all elections are rigged, so he just doesn't bother. Huh?? I couldn't respect his political opinion, because he wouldn't back it up at the polls. (And, not to mention, the rest of his ideas were just really irrational and out of whack.) And, quite frankly, a blanket accusation saying that all elections are rigged is an insult to campaign volunteers who work tirelessly and sacrificially, often as a labor of love, if their candidate ends up losing.

On the other end of the spectrum, a friend from church told me she won't vote because she doesn't want to elect the antichrist, and that her mama told her she didn't have to vote because she was a citizen of heaven. Huh?? I know she's talking about a verse in the Bible, Philippians 3:20, that says that Christians have their " heaven." But in its context, it basically says that we Christians should behave ourselves in a way that's consistent with our eternal destination. I should have explained to my friend that she doesn't have to pay taxes to heaven, and that heaven didn't issue her driver's license. (Plus, we women haven't always had the right to vote in this country! It's something we shouldn't take for granted!)

Whatever your reasons for voting, JUST VOTE! Educate yourself as much as you need to on the issues, or do whatever you need to do to make a decision, as long as you JUST VOTE! (You still have a little bit of time if you're still undecided, anyway. :) (JUST VOTE!)) Where I live, early voting starts tomorrow and continues through Halloween. The main day for voting nationwide is November 4. If you live in Dallas County, you can get more information at

I like to avoid crowds, so I'm gonna do my darnedest to get off my butt and JUST VOTE! early, sometime this week. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This one's for you, a.

It's called Desert Song from Hillsong.  

This is the story behind the making of the video:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm LOVIN' it!

For nearly two weeks my friend Elaine has been walking around the Nightshelter singing a song: "I will bring praise! I will bring praise! No weapon formed against me shall remain! I will rejoice! I will declare! God is my victory and He is here . . . " I've FINALLY found out the name of the song and immediately came home and googled it:

Isn't is amazing?

Things have been going well. Ups and downs, actually, but God is good. The Father's Heart Conf was really good. I have about 6 hours to make up of work, though, since I went to morning and afternoon sessions for two days when I should have been working afternoons. I'm still working through some of the charasmatic stuff that transpired. I dunno. Not ready to really get into it on the blogosphere . . .

The highs of the conference definitely brought on some lows in the shelter. Friday night was massively difficult. (Does that phrase even make sense?) Tensions were high as some came in drunk and others wounded from fights out in the streets. So I shouldn't have been too surprised to have to step between two different guys during two different fights. Thankfully the peace of God was upon me -- I wasn't scared at all. My only concern was that I was going to watch a group of residents kill a guy and I couldn't stop it. My coworker, Chris, was leading and about ready to crap his pants! During the most intense fight one guy threatened to kill another because he had disrespected me. His girlfriend was trying to push him out of the room and once I heard, "Don't you EVER talk to Debbie like that again! I'll kill you! I'll kick your a$$ for talking to her like that!" then I immediately stood in front of him trying to get his attention to let him know I was ok and he didn't have to do what he was doing. We eventually got him out of the room and calmed down. And it struck me how loyal these guys are. He really would have beaten this guy up for me. Later in the night I was grateful the residents didn't hear what a new guy said. Esp since he was new, they wouldn't have thought twice about it.

Tonight was better. But my poor friend Bryan was on gate when 5 people came up for the ONE remaining bed. Before he had gone out there they asked me if it was ok that I was doing kitchen again and I said absolutely. I HATE having to turn people away. He had been in the same position as the residents just four years ago, so it was really hard on him. One guy didn't take it too well so got rather verbally abusive and threw things around outside and kicked the door. He left before the police came 'round.

Ok, so it may sound really intense and my mom is probably freakin' out while reading this (and I haven't even disclosed everything!), but it's all good! Seriously! And I'm lovin' it! It's amazing how much God protects us, too. No one's been hurt during the fighting; they don't even come to blows! Even though some have tried to come into the house when refused entry, they don't make it in. We all arrive and get back home safely. The support is AWESOME, as well. If an incident occurs we can immediately call the manager on call and talk the situation through with them and they are faithful to immediately pray for us.

Working at the Nightshelter may be a far cry from teaching Kindergarten, but I know I'm here for a reason and there's been so much grace. I still haven't experienced any major culture shock or homesickness. Sure I'd love a plate of tamales, pan dulce, and some Chick-fil-a (prob not all at the same time . . . ), but it's all good! Sure, I'd love to hang out with the fam and see some friends, but it's all good! Sure, I'd love to be HOME for the holidays, but it's all good! God is faithful and has brought me here for NOW and for a purpose. And being here, I feel like I've been here forever. Yet at the same time I can't believe it's passing so quickly! It'll be 4 weeks Thurs that I arrived. Unbelievable. And the managers at the Shelter have so much faith in me. It's a bit scary! I'm seconding loads the next few weeks. I'm actually leading one of the night shifts this week and leading a late shift next month. Scary! I'll be the one making the ultimate decisions if something kicks off. Yikes! But God is good! And He's equipped me to do this, right?

Anywho, as you can read, your prayers are much needed!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

No Hobbits Here

Since arriving in Bedford exactly three weeks ago, I've been hearing about the upcoming conference "Touching the Father's Heart" by Peter Jackson. No not the LOTR Peter Jackson; the Canadian pastor Peter Jackson who teaches about the Father Heart of God. Yeah, I hadn't heard of him either.

Well, at the last minute, as usual, I decided to buy a ticket. I'm working Fri and Sat evenings, so at first I didn't think I could go. But seeing as how it started on a Thurs I could go to that and seeing as how there are morning and afternoon sessions could go to those as well and just work the hours I miss later in the week.

Anywho, tonight was the first day of the conference and it was very powerful. Reminiscent of World Mandate worship time, just on a way smaller scale. And of course no James Mark. I had to get used to the more intimate setting, the three member band, and the fully lit room. But once I stopped worrying about man, I was able to focus on God and truly engage with him.

I'd say tonight was a rather charasmatic experience. Not necessarily nothing I've not experienced before, but definitely different. But there was just a powerful moment of lying on the ground before the altar, as a symbol of surrender to God. People responded in different ways -- some laughing, some shouting, some weeping, some just being still before the Lord. Only God knows everyone's heart, so who am I to say whether something that's different from what I've experienced is wrong? I personally left a nice puddle of snot and tears in my wake . . .

All in all, it was a good evening and definitely refreshing. I'm going to the morning and afternoon sessions tomorrow and the morning session Saturday. I'm excited about receiving a deeper revelation of how much my Daddy loves me, because then I'll have the confidence to do anything and to love without reservations.

Monday, October 06, 2008


It's amazing the favor I've had with the guys at the Nightshelter. From the time I arrived they were very accepting and responsive. And over the past two weeks I've not had a cross word with any of them.
Now I just need to work out the next step. I've come all this way to be a practical representation of Jesus; to be the hands and feet of Jesus, if you will. And they've accepted me and opened up to me. But how do I respond to the girl telling me about the hatred she has for her father because he abused her from the time she was a toddler? And how do I respond to the 17 year-old who came in hallucinating from drugs he almost overdosed on? And how do I respond to the middle-aged drunk man who was sexually assaulted and now has death threats against him because he went to the police?
It's one thing to have to turn someone away on a cold and wet night because there are no beds available. It's another to have the words to say to the broken ones who do make it through the door. How does the girl from Texas whose never touched a drug, been mistreated, and who has never doubted that her daddy loves her respond to such brokeness?
I just don't know sometimes . . .

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I should be asleep.  It's 2 a.m.  And I was sleepy 3 hours ago.  But then I came up to the sleepover room here at the Nightshelter and pulled out my computer.  Which is dangerous, considering I don't have wireless internet at the house I'm staying in.  I started reading blogs.  Then perusing Facebook.  And chatting with my Mom.  And now I can't seem to find sleep.  Or I'm not allowing myself to sleep.

Just to clear my head, here are Facebook statuses I would write if I obsessively updated Facebook statuses every other minute:

*Debbie can't believe her family got to swim back in Texas this weekend when she's suffering in temperatures below 40 degrees!  And it's not even winter yet, people!
*Debbie is sleepy, but too addicted to the internet to sleep!
*Debbie is loving church at King's Arms.
*Debbie misses her mom after instant messaging her.
*Debbie can't believe she's missing all new episodes of her shows AND that 24 is starting up again in November!
*Debbie hates that all the pirated episodes of her shows keep getting taken off the internet before she can watch!
*Debbie needs to stop going to the American shop in Milton Keynes and purchasing things for 3x their value!
*Debbie is excited about making the American brownies she paid two arms and two legs for.  (It was THAT expensive!)
*Debbie can't decide if she wants to work a split shift in the morning, which would involve her waking up and working from 8:30 to 9:30 and then coming back in the afternoon at 3:30 instead of 2:30.
*Debbie has less than a 5 min walk from home to the shelter, but has STILL managed to be late three times already!  Oi!
*Debbie needs $800 for a return plane ticket in March.
*Debbie needs to trust God to provide for all her needs.
*Debbie would like a new computer battery, but it's not a great need.
*Debbie can't believe she's STILL discovering neat Mac tricks nearly two years after buying her computer.
*Debbie figured out how to connect her Mac and new mobile over bluetooth and transfer pics and music.  Problem is now she needs a memory card for her phone so it can hold all the transfered files . . . 
*Debbie had a fun weekend hanging out with girls.
*Debbie thinks the honeymoon is over and will soon discover life without weekends off.
*Debbie has only experienced culture shock one time in the past two weeks, when she was reminded that it's so not a big deal for guys and girls to house share here.  That would NEVER happen in the States!  (At least not w/in Christian circles.)
*Debbie is surprised that she's not really homesick.
*Debbie bought canvases and paint brushes, but now has no money left to buy paint.  She doesn't even know what she would paint if she had it, though.  She just wants to paint.
*Debbie is surprised by how much she's changed in only 4 years.
*Debbie is surprised by how much she hasn't changed in 4 years.
*Debbie wishes she could play with her nephews and niece.
*Debbie hates that everything she's cooked so far hasn't tasted like it should.  The flavors in this country are not flavorful enough for her!
*Debbie is already running low on proper chili powder.  After only two weeks!
*Debbie has eaten a heck of a lot of potatoes since being here.
*Debbie wishes she could have found proper Italian sausage for her pasta dish tonight.
*Debbie is happy there's another American on staff at the Nightshelter.  It's nice hearing her accent.  Perhaps she's a bit more homesick than she thought . . . 
*Debbie needs to be use the potty but can't be bothered to get up, put on her shoes, and get the keys & mobile all so she can go one door over to the bathroom.
*Debbie met someone she can tag along with to work -- a teacher in a school outside of town who teaches the exact age group as Debbie!
*Debbie is sleepy.
*Debbie is going to bed.
*Debbie says, "Goodnight!"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

One down, two to go

Night shifts, that is.
I'm very sleepy and should prob be alseep by now. I try to stay up as late as I can so, therefore, I'll sleep a bit late ('til 6 or 7, I hope). But it's nearly 11 and I need to be tucked away in bed.
I was very happy to meet my fellow American colleague who was on holiday last week. Maybe it was the raw emotions of having worked all night, but I had the sudden urge to throw my arms around her and give her a huge hug once I heard her accent. We only talked briefly since I was leaving as she was coming, but we've already started making big plans for Thanksgiving and baking all things pumpkin. Yay!
Ok, I must be off to bed now. Esp if I want to wake up with enough time to cook up some good eats for tonight! I brought stuff for nachos last night - YUM! I'm thinking I want to make carne guisada today, but that depends if I wake up with a spare hour and a half to cook. Guess we'll have to wait and see! Night!
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