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

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm Back!

Kinda, sorta.

I'm back from my unintentional blog hiatus. Well, you see, what had happened was we went to the beach last weekend and I didn't bother taking my laptop since there's no internet connection. Then when we got back from the beach I went to charge my computer and noticed the little charger light kept going on and off. Upon closer inspection I discovered that the end of my charger was damaged. The end of the wire closest to the base that plugs into the wall was frayed -- the plastic coating was broken and the wires inside were coming apart. As I watched some thin wires came undone and even smoked and sparked a little. Needless to say I promptly removed the MagSafe end from my computer and then the plug from the outlet. So as much as it sucks that I have to order a whole new charger for $70+ I'm fortunate that it lasted over a year and a half. Reading online, I've discovered some people's chargers go after only 3 or 4 months. Another problem is their computer gets so hot the magnetic connector gets melted into their computer. So I should count my blessings! But my charger is ordered along with the world traveler adapter kit. I only needed the UK adapter but had to order the whole kit with all the different continents' adapters to get the one! *sigh* I did get a bit a break using the educator's discount and having free shipping. Anywho . . .

Being away at the beach, I missed the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Therefore, there was no proper closure for me. And being without my computer, I haven't been able to look it up online. I seriously didn't know what to do with myself after I got home Tuesday night. But I'm better. I'm SO THERE in 2012 -- it'll be in LONDON! If I'm not living there at that time, I'll definitely still have friends in the area. And I promised my nephews if they saved their money I'll take them with me. I seriously will! Hopefully I'll be working full-time again by then and can supplement whatever they are able to save up. Brandi just told me a story about how Daniel found a penny today and said, "Oh look! A penny! I'll save it for my trip to London!" So they're not going to forget the promise anytime soon and how fun will that be! London for them and the Olympics for me!!!

I'm on presidential campaign overload. I admit I was one of the millions who watched Obama's speech. It was a historical moment. BUT, I must point out that it was inevitable that he would have higher ratings than the Olympics Opening Ceremony and the finale of American Idol -- it was broadcast on every freakin' station! DUH! Any idiot would know that it would be watched by more people than an event that is aired on one station like Idol or 3 or 4 stations like the Olympics. It doesn't take a mathematician to figure that one out! So can we please stop talking about it?

Since we're talking about politics, I must add that I try. I try to stay informed. I try to read up on the issues and the candidates' stances. I try to be interested. But sometimes it makes me just want to bang my head into the wall!

That being said, I've kept an open mind during this political season. However, I cannot go against my gut and my fundamental beliefs; my moral beliefs. As popular as it is amongst my peers and all of Hollywood, I just cannot vote liberal. It's the abortion issue. And I cringe when I hear about Obama's stance on abortion. Sure I care about the environment. Of course I'm concerned about the war in Iraq (I have dear friends over there!). And I'm one of the millions without health insurance! But none of that matters in the face of life; God's creation. So I stick with my gut and vote with the one who closely follows my morals. Then, pray like mad that God's will is done. And do what I can to make sure people with the same moral convictions are elected (on all levels, not just the presidental) so they can make positive changes in the environment, health care, war, and economical issues.

So instead of flinging mud at each other from across the political and virtual blog fences, can we just do what scripture says:

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and HEAL THEIR LAND."
~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

How awesome is that?! God promises to heal our land! Not just the people, the land. From war. From sickness & disease. From waste & over-consumption. All's we gotta do is PRAY and SEEK HIM and, here's the hard one for us, TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS. Something tells me sin and healing don't go hand-in-hand. We've got to face our sin, people. Not just individual sin but our nation-wide sin, and then TURN FROM IT!

Mercy, Lord!

Now, to change subject again, I sure am happy that in a few weeks I'll be out of earshot of the constant political mumbo jumbo and attempted brain-washing. How's that? Because I'm moving to England, that's why! I'm going back to volunteer with King's Arms Project. FINALLY! Yes, I've been talking about it for years; so long I'm sure some doubted I'd ever go. Heck, I doubted I'd ever go! But I find myself 17 days away from a possible life-altering move. And I'm super excited and scared outta my mind, all at the same time! It's a huge step of faith, but God hasn't slammed the door in my face yet, so I'm gonna go through it! I'll update y'all more another time. Now, it's time for bed. I'm in Waco for the last time and I'm excited about going to Antioch tomorrow and worshiping in the church that still feels like home even after 4+ years of being away.

(((Hat tip to Bird for the link re Obama's stance)))

Friday, August 15, 2008


I thought this appropriate, considering where I'm moving next month and I've been wanting to take a trip to Africa for a while now.

I heard this for the first time on the radio this morning and I definitely had tears in my eyes. And it was neat 'cause KSBJ had a version that said, "Houston" instead of "Nashville." Also, I noticed he added in another verse at the end talking about how he's experienced the shadow of the valley of death that's caused him to question his faith. I would have cried even more had I known it was Stephen Curtis Chapman singing . . .

" . . . provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of BEAUTY instead of ashes, the oil of GLADNESS instead of mourning, and a garment of PRAISE instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, a planting of the LORD for the display of his SPLENDOR."
Isaiah 61:3

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday, Summer Olympics Version

Forgive my obsession . . .

1. I love that my dad sat down and watched the entire beach volleyball game tonight, thinking it was for a medal. When it was over and he found out Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh beat the Belgium Amazon Women in one of many rounds, he got up and facetiously muttered, "What a waste of time!" LOL!

2. When Ryan Lochte won the gold medal tonight I saw his dad cheering for his son with tears in his eyes. And after the awards ceremony Lochte went over to hug his family and give his mom the flowers he was presented. I immediately thought of the reports we hear of how potential Chinese olympic athletes are taken from their parents at age 3 and only allowed to see them a couple of days a year. Watching Lochte with his family made me thankful that they're showing China that it's possible to be an olympic gold medalist without having to leave your family for rigorous training beginning at age 3. Of course the same can be said for Phelps & his family. And many other athletes, for that matter.

3. As I already made mention, I love how at the end of the medal ceremony many of the athletes climb onto the press seats so they can reach up to hug family and pass off their flowers.

4. When the athletes sing their national anthem while standing on the medal stand. It's even more touching when they're so emotional about their win they can't even get all the words out.

5. The predominately Chinese audience always cheers for the winner, no matter if they're Chinese or not.

6. Watching Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson win gold and silver, respectively, in the all-around women's gymnastics. My mom and I, along with the commentators, couldn't believe how low they were being scored at the beginning. Thankfully it all worked out in the end in for them!

7. Seeing the nations come together. Not just each nation competing on their own, but seeing fans intermixed in the audiences, waiving their flags, and cheering for each other.

Finally, this is more of a THINKful thing rather than a THANKful thing: I THINK, IMHO, that indoor volleyball games will go a lot faster if the guys stopped hugging and slapping each other's booties after scoring each and every point.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Tell me all your thoughts on..."

...the olympics!

I've watched more summer olympics this year than I have in my whole life. And I'm actually loving it!

I'm officially a Phelps phan!

And I'm in love with the mens gymnastics team, esp Jonathan Horton. I love the sportsmanship they showed and the fact that they graciously accepted scores well below what they earned in some events, and didn't complain when other countries (particularly China) scored higher than they should have (the same could be said for the womens' team as well). I loved how they rallied behind each other and how Horton constantly encouraged his teammates, took every opportunity to speak excitedly to the cameras, and thanked God for getting them on the medal stand. I loved how they didn't blame a teammate for making a mistake; they each knew they could of easily been the one in that position. Most of all, I loved how they joyously celebrated the fact that they won the bronze! Absolutely no disappointment for not medalling higher or for losing the lead they had early on!

Going back to Phelps: I love watching his mom and sisters as they watch him race. His mom is a nervous wreck every single time. And one sister in particular is balling her eyes out before he even finishes the race! And I don't get the feeling that he's arrogant about all his wins (a total of TEN career gold medals so far!!!); it's almost as though he's racing against himself, seeing how far he can push himself and not necessarily overly concerning himself with his other competitors. Granted, I'm positive he knows they're there! But his goal isn't to grind them to dust . . . or since he's a swimmer would that be "feed them to the fish?"

I love the Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh volleyball duo. Specifically the deep friendship and obvious love and concern for each other.

I think it's funny that every time she pulls her goggles down around her eyes before a race begins, Katie Hoff has deep circle lines around her forehead where her goggles had just been. And then she always rubs along the bottom of the goggles as a nervous habit. At least, I think it's Hoff; they all look completely different once those swim caps come off!

The absolute best moment was the mens 400 freestyle relay. Especially after the French were talking crap about demolishing the Americans! This video is British, but even the American commentator was going on and on and ON about how every way he worked it out there was absolutely NO WAY the Americans could win, the French were just too good. Every American (and non-American) needs to see this, even those of you reading who aren't into the Olympics at all (Bird). Seriously. And I'm posting the 4 minute version, not the 8 minute version you could only see on the [be warned] extremely shady site here. I love how in the 8 min version the French guy with the big mouth stays in the water, stunned, for a solid 5 minutes! And oh, how the Americans celebrate! Quick, go watch before You Tube bans the video: TOO LATE! But I replaced it with the longer version:

Eight one-hundreths of a SECOND, people.


Friday, August 08, 2008

In honor of the Olympics

Something that makes me tear up every time I watch:

The first time I saw footage of this was when Jimmy used a clip in a sermon illustration about 6-8 years ago. An excellent example of the Father Heart of God. Powerful stuff.

In this clip Derek Redmond is recalling the events:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Now it's 5:00 a.m.

Those crazily vigilant newscasters showed some videos that have already been posted of TS Edouard on You Tube. I do not want to EVER work on an oil rig in the Gulf!

And, I just need to point out that it's Tropical Storm EDOUARD (like Edward), NOT Eduardo (with a long O at the end -- I heard it pronounced like that more than once on You Tube videos and just had to make the correction. 'Cause, you know, those people will be reading this post shortly, right...)

It's 4:30 a.m.

...and I'm still awake.


Can't seem to clear my mind.

It doesn't help that I just put the news on to hear the latest of the almost-hurricane that will hit the area w/in the next 5-6 hours.

(("Almost-hurricane" sounds sooo much more ominous and romantic than "tropical storm," doesn't it?))

(((That would be the Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, early 19th century "romantic" definition)))

Let's pray that the storm doesn't cause as severe problems as the last major storm did.

No bueno!

How in the world are all these newscasters/weathermen awake, alert, and coherent at such an ungodly hour?!

I'm not particularly concerned about the storm; it's just one of many things on my mind.

Hmm . . . I changed my mind . . . while "almost-hurricane" does sound more ominous than "tropical storm," I think the latter may sound more romantic than the former . . .

Ok, now I'm hungry.

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