Friday, December 2, 2011

Tebow Time.

Perhaps one of the most controversial players in any professional sport right now is Tim Tebow, star quarterback of the Denver Broncos. For years Tebow has dominated headlines, starting in high school and continuing through college at the University of Florida, before becoming the 25th pick overall by the Denver Broncos. It's a pretty incredible story for a man that wasn't even supposed to be born, due to a medical issue when his mother was pregnant with him. 
Lately, Tebow is making the headlines even more than he previously had, and this time it's not just because of his stellar performance on the field. While he has been exceptional, leading his team to victory more times than anyone expected, especially after Kyle Orton was released and it became clear who the Broncos were pinning their hopes on, there has been another part of Tebow's performance that critics are a bit skeptical about.
The latest craze to hit the nation is "Tebowing," where people mimic Tebow's action of kneeling down and praying on the field. Another craze is mimicking him by pointing to the sky whenever something good happens, where Tebow points to heaven as if thanking God for getting the first down, making the play, whatever. 
Now, I'm not saying that I'm a sports writer. In fact, I'm far from it. I may be a girl, but at least I know some sports - mainly due to the fact that I have a 17-almost-18-year-old brother who thinks that sports make the world go round. Clearly I have some learning to do because I had to look some of this stuff up. I've seen tons of articles on Yahoo and Google, where other QBs in the league are firing harsh-sounding comments off about Tebow and his constant "church talk." In the world's eyes, once in a while is alright to thank God for what you have and what happened. But, every time? Plus pointing to the sky, and kneeling down to pray several times a game?
The other night I was reading my Bible when a few verses just seemed to jump off the page. I had read another article about Tebow earlier that day, where Kurt Warner was making a few statements towards the subject. He's a Christian too, and has thanked his Lord and Savior multiple times over the years for his time in the NFL. I guess I had Tebow on the brain, because when I read these verses, he was all I could think about:
"But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." - Philippians 1:18.

"But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ." - Philippians 3:7.

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." - Galatians 1:10.
See what I mean? These verses, in my opinion, represent everything that Tebow is about.
The first verse is self-explanatory. Tebow is thanking God for what he has, and is making sure that everyone knows that this isn't his own skill and prowess that let him make it to where he is today. I mean, the guy wrote "John 3:16" on his eyeblack in the 2009 BCS Championship game, and what happened? Nearly 92 MILLION PEOPLE searched for the verse on Google. That's incredible, I don't care who you are. It led to a rule in the NFL referred to as the "Tebow Rule," where players aren't allowed to wear the stuff and write messages. But really, who cares? The point is that for one small incident, one small game, 92 MILLION people heard the message of Christ summed up in one of the best verses in the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die but have eternal life." That is incredible. 
This is God's plan for him, as of now. It may change someday, but that's for Him to tell Tebow, not our society. He doesn't care what people are saying - whatever he does, he's thanking God and making sure He gets the glory, not himself. That directly ties in to the verse from Galatians - it's not about Tim Tebow, star quarterback for the Denver Broncos. It's about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This leads to the other verse from Philippians - everything that Tebow has - the endorsements, the book deals, the star position on the team and all of the fame and fortune - are nothing. These things are garbage, nothing but roadblocks in his way to getting to heaven and partying hard with the Messiah for all eternity. It's a great perspective, and unfortunately, society would rather us forget about it. 
I will be the first to say that I'm still not a complete Tim Tebow fan. I'm not one to get on the bandwagon supporting him, and I'll be honest and tell you I was rooting against him and his team in the Sugar Bowl in 2010. I admire him and will acknowledge that he has mad skills, but I'm still warming up to him as a player. Since he was drafted by the Broncos, I believed that he was over-hyped. I was waiting for him to walk the walk to go along with his talking the talk and, honestly, I'm not surprised that he has so far this season. I'm warming up to him, but after reading all of the articles, watching his performance, and realizing how he isn't taking the credit himself - I'm slowly getting there. Make room on the Tebow bandwagon, because I'm soon to join.
This leads to the first NR challenge in a long, long time (sorry about that.) Evaluate yourself - are you "Tebowing" enough in your daily life? Is kneeling down and praying, thanking God for your blessings and realizing that all you have is just a roadblock keeping you from giving it all to God and getting to heaven? If you said yes to any of these questions, take a breather, put yourself on the bench, and bow your head. Listen to what God has to say. What's He telling you?
Are you in?


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just a friendly reminder

I'll admit, I'm intimidated. 
This is just a friendly reminder to myself to 

Thank you for cooperating and letting me remind myself. 

Seriously though, I'm sorry that I haven't been around for this whole past month or two. It's hardly an excuse, but between working 3-4 days a week at Subway combined with 17.5 credits of classes at school, plus trying to make time for homework and talking to Scott once in a while and attempting to have an excuse for a social life, I just haven't had time to get down the thoughts that I've had. Honestly, I've been away from this for so long that I barely know how to write a post anymore. So!

Prayers that I can get back on the proverbial blogging wagon would be appreciated. And, as always, if you have any ideas that I could write about, they are always appreciated. Thanks!

Are you in?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm Alive

I promise I am not dead. I haven't posted in a zillion lightyears because school has started in all of its madness and glory, I'm working all the time at Subway, and when I don't have either of those things I either talk to my boyfriend or sleep. I have tons of ideas though, don't worry. 
Stay tuned.
Are you in?


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Faith Lessons from Football

Recently, I found a blog from one of the Steelers' rookies. His name is Baron Batch, and he was just signed out of college this season. His blog has been funny, inspirational, and a good read. He is an amazing photographer and the photos he posts are always breathtaking. Today I got on here to check something and I saw he had updated, so I read it and it just blew my mind. 
Baron has been dreaming of a rookie season in the NFL. Last week, that dream took a U-turn. He tore his ACL during Steelers training camp and is now out for the season. He's undergoing surgery today to repair it so he can stand on the sidelines and watch as everyone else on the team plays, living out the dream that he so desperately wanted. But is he letting this get to him?
See for yourself. Your NR challenge is to jump to his blog and read this post. Then ask yourself, am I riding with faith, or fleeing with doubt?
Baron's latest post - Diary 32
Are you in?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Keep Cheering

What team are you on?
In about two weeks, I'll be turning nineteen. While this isn't a significant birthday - other than the fact that it's my Golden Birthday, 19 on the 19th yeah! - it does have one unfortunate fact: I have officially lived another year of my life without seeing the Pirates have a successful season. I have lived my entire life without seeing the Pirates even somewhat near playoff contention, and I have grown accustomed to this. As a family, we normally go to a few Pirate games every season; it took me until I was 15 to see the Pirates actually win a game.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love the Buccos - yes, I may hate on them at times, but really what Pittsburgh-er doesn't? Even though they may not play the best at times, there's always hope for the next game.
Imagine the thrill, then, of this season...well, this season up to about 9 or 10 games ago. The Pirates were first place in their division and nearing playoff contention - unheard of! For a while I was convinced that it was all a joke. But they had something good going - they were working together as a team and finding the best way to make everything and everyone fit together. Of course, as I'm sure you're well aware, the Bucs are in something like a 10-game losing slump, putting them that many games behind first place. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
If you think about it, there's someone who is an even bigger fan than the most dedicated Pirates fan. (Who, by the way, could easily be my youth pastor. Just saying.) As hard as it is to cheer for the Pirates, who seem to mess up sometimes and never get it right, imagine how hard it would be to cheer for us!
Consider this. We're human. God designed us this way. We are  flawed, and never will be perfect - only Christ is and ever will be. So, naturally, we mess up a whole lot by ourselves anyway. That's already understood. Now, what about all the times that we mess up and we know it? Lying to our parents. Backstabbing a friend. Skipping out on personal time with God. Going farther with our boyfriend or girlfriend and knowing it. Stealing something from a store. Anything like this - it's a sin. Every time something like this happens, it's like another Pirates loss or failed play - just like the fans get upset, God gets upset - but to a much larger scale. 
When the Pirates are losing big time, its easy to just give up and forget about them. Luckily, God doesn't do that for us. God is cheering for us to make it, to overcome the obstacles and learn from our mistakes so that, with His help, we can learn not to make the same bad choices over and over again.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
This verse is telling us that if we just admit to God that we messed up, He will always wipe that sin away from our name - it's gone, like it never happened. And just like that, we're back in His good standings, .500 in the rankings, ready to move on. However, it's up to us - we can keep moving forward, winning our battles with His help and making the most of what He's given to us and go above and beyond the straight .500 we were at. Or, we can instead turn back to what we were doing, going on a losing slump and not realizing that we're even far worse off than before. 
Your NR challenge for this post is this - figure out how your performance in the game of life is going. Are you heading toward the ultimate game, eternal life in heaven, or are you slowly making your way over to another team - Satan's team? The Bible says there isn't a neutral position in the Lord; every day you're making decisions that either make you more like Him or less like Him. It's up to you to decide what team you're playing for. 
God's cheering for us to make it, and to make the right decisions. No matter our performance in life, whether we live for Him or for ourselves, God loves us. He's still cheering, still rooting that you'll come back to the Home Team. Can you hear Him?
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. As a Pirates fan, I sometimes understand this quote better than other times. The boys can play the same way game after game, producing the same loss statistic and sliding down in the rankings. But, I never give up home that they can turn it around. Call it insanity if you will, but I call it hope, or determination. And I'm not the only one - God continually is hoping and praying for us to make the right choices, say and do the right things, all to glorify Him. And what is the consequence with our performance? Following the One who created us and then DIED for us, so one day we can gain eternal life with Him in heaven? Or living for ourselves for a short number of years, to only be granted with the most devastating result ever - an eternity in Hell, away from the One who loves us more than anything. 
Who is the insane one now?
Are you in?


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's worth it.

I love love love this song! So true and with such a powerful message. Take a listen!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Your Dream Home.

In sixth grade I had a rather eccentric English teacher, who also happened to be my homeroom teacher. 6th grade is a big year for kids in our school district, because that's when you leave the comforting yellow halls of the  elementary and head up to the scary middle school where everything becomes a whole new ballgame. Mrs. D. was a somewhat strict older woman, but she had a sincere soft spot for kids, especially kids entering middle school. She was passionate about English, clipping coupons from the newspapers people would drop off for her, and, the number one thing she loved - entering incessantly for the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes.
Mrs. D. would tell us every morning in homeroom how she had entered yet again, convinced that one day the people would come to her house with the big check congratulating her on winning. She wanted a huge house where she could retire to and garden, clip coupons, and just relax.
What would you do if you had won a contest like Publisher's Clearing House? Receiving that much money would allow you to buy tons of things that you would want, including a new house, or even let you build the house of your dreams. What would you put in that house? I would have a library filled with tons of books that I could read, because yes, I am a total nerd. I'd have a wrap around porch covered in cute porch furniture, complete with a porch swing. I'd have a sheep-themed kitchen, just because I could. My house would be strange to some, but to me, it would be absolutely everything that I could dream of. It would be perfect.
You know, there is a way that we can get the house of our dreams one day. No, don't go rushing off to get a lottery ticket or enter for contests or things like that. Just read this:
"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:2-3
In these verses, Jesus is telling us that in Heaven, God has a huge "mansion" of sorts, filled with many rooms. He doesn't list a number, but I'm guessing it would be hard to pinpoint exactly how many there are! Jesus says in the verse prior to this to not let our hearts be troubled. If we believe in God, we also should believe in Jesus. (John 14:1) He's saying that we can trust Him to prepare a room for us in God's house, and when He does, He's going to come back and take us there so we can be with Him. In other places, it says how God has prepared a banquet that we all can enjoy when we're in Heaven with Him.
There's a joke that every Steelers fan loves to tell:
Tom Brady, after living a full life, died. When he got to heaven, God was showing him around. They came to a modest little house with a faded Patriots flag in the window. "This house is yours for eternity, Tom," said God. "This is very special; not everyone gets a house up here." Tom felt special, indeed, and walked up to his house. On his way up the porch, he noticed another house just around the corner. It was a 3-story mansion with a black and gold sidewalk, a 50-foot tall flagpole with an enormous Steelers logo flag, and in every window, a Terrible Towel. Tom looked at God and said, "God, I'm not trying to be ungrateful, but I have a question. I was an all-pro QB, I hold many NFL records, and I even won a few Superbowls." God said, "So what's your point Tom?" "Well, why does Roethlisberger get a better house than me?" God chuckled and said, "Tom, that's not Roethlisberger's house, it's Mine."
Obviously this is just a joke (I'm pretty sure God doesn't have a Steelers themed mansion up in Heaven, but it would be pretty interesting!) but it shows how God will prepare a place for you in Heaven that you would love. Sure, maybe Tom Brady was a bit jealous and convinced that he deserved a bigger house. But really, when we're in Heaven and surrounded by the majesty of God, are we really going to complain about trivial things like that? Someone once told me that once we're in Heaven, all the problems and things of everyday life fade away, because God's glory is all we can focus on. That's pretty sweet! 
It's pretty hard to comprehend how the creator of the universe is up in Heaven right now, preparing a place for me to stay with Him after He calls me home. I can't wait to see what He's done, but even more so, I can't wait to be with Him forever! Forget the swimming pools, or the wrap around porch, or anything else that you would want in your dream home. The best dream home we'll ever get to have is up in Heaven, with the number one aspect of it being Jesus Christ Himself!
Here's your NR challenge for this post. Imagine everything you would ever want in a house on earth - and then compare it to the place God is preparing for you in Heaven, with Him. No matter how fantastic our visions of what we want here on earth are, they'll always be nothing compared to the splendor we will receive with forever living with the King. 
Mrs. D never won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, but who knows? Maybe one day she will. I know that there's something far greater than money or a new home that I can have without having to win it, though, and that's an eternity with my Lord and Savior in the place that He has prepared for me. So, think about it yourself. What would you rather have?
Are you in?


Saturday, July 23, 2011

I've always been bad with dates

And I totally missed the fact that it's been a year since I started this blog!
(Well, it was a year on the 6th. But for the sake of arguing, let's just say it's been a solid year since it started!)
I'm not going to make this some long, sappy post or something that compliments myself and says what a totally wicked job I'm doing and how I'm so creative and blah blah blah...because I'm not. From day one, every post on here has been something that God has either opened my eyes to or laid on my heart to share with you guys. So, a big and major thank you to Him! 
Also, I want to say a thank you to you guys, my readers. I would never have kept this blog going and kept it public if I wasn't getting some feedback or a sense that people liked what they were reading, or if I wasn't getting any encouragement. At first, this blog was just going to be something that I did by myself, writing these ideas down in some spiral notebook that the cave under my bed would be sure to eat sometime. Instead, I took a leap of faith of sorts and threw my ideas out there, and you guys were always so loving and supportive. You supported me when I thought my writing was crap, or I thought that the idea didn't leave my head in quite the right manner. You complimented me on my crappy writing style and eccentric topics. You yelled at me when I took a hiatus and didn't post for a while. (Shout out to Pete, ya meathead.) Mostly though, you let me continue doing what God wanted me to do - write all this madness down and be able to use it as an outlet to share God's love with others. So, thank you.
It's been a wild year. Not only have dozens of you responded in some way or form - comments on Facebook, comments on the blog, face-to-face conversations - but my blog has even been mentioned in some pretty cool ways, like being used at Whitehall for ideas for devotions, or when it was featured in my church's monthly newsletter. Pretty awesome stuff just from an idea from an even more awesome God!
So, thank you to everyone for sticking around and reading this jumbled mess of post. I hope you like what you read, and I hope something that God gives me to tell you sticks with you.
No challenge for this post other than to stay tuned - I can't wait to see what God will do in this next year!
Are you in?



Oh, Willow Smith. Only the daughter of someone as insanely great as Will Smith could get away with a song based on, well, whipping your hair back and forth. In this incredibly repetitive but strangely addictive song, Willow sings of whipping her hair back in forth in just about every situation. When she arrives at a party, she whips her hair around. When she goes onstage and hears some applause, she whips her hair around. After she hops out of bed and turns her swag on (sorry, couldn't resist) she ignores all of the people who speak and think badly of her and she - once again - whips her hair back and forth.
It seems like her fix-all solution to every situation is to throw her head  around and whip her hair. Let's look at a line in the bridge: (before the 238927382 "I whip my hair back and forths")
Don't let haters keep me off my grindKeep my head up and I know I'll be fineKeep fighting until I get thereAm down and I feel like giving upI whip my hair back and forth! I whip my hair back and forth!
Haha, sorry. Got a bit carried away there.
Here we see how Willow is feeling a bit down, thanks to all of the people that are thinking poorly or speaking poorly about her. She knows that she shouldn't feel bad because of it, and that she'll be fine, but she's feeling at the end of her rope - and what does she do? Whips her hair back and forth, of course.
Doesn't really seem like a logical solution, does it? Well, maybe, for the sake of the song. Still, though! It's not really what you should do when you're "down and you feel like giving up," right?
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30
God is telling us in these verses that, whenever we're feeling tired and run down, unable to go on with whatever we're struggling with, we're to turn to Him. Instead of head banging along with Willow, ask God to take over and stop trying to fight whatever battle you're facing by yourself. Psalm 28:8 says that "The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one." In chapter 27 verse 1, it says "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" 
This is one of my favorite verses, which I think goes along with this pretty well:
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." - Psalm 46:1
The common theme in all of these verses is that, no matter what we're dealing with or what we're going through, what we've done or what we're facing, God is always there to turn to. We can give Him all of our troubles and problems, and He will willingly take them on and guide us, helping us fight whatever we're struggling with.
I don't know about you, but when things get tough, I'd much rather turn to the Creator of the heavens and the earth for help and relief, rather than whip my hair back and forth for a supposed confidence boost. 
So here's your NR challenge for this post - I challenge you to forget about what Willow says, and instead turn to the only one who can fight your battles and carry your worries and burdens - Jesus. Realize that, no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to do these things on your own. Your strength should come from God, not anything from a song! You have a choice - turning to the One who made you for strength, or relying on something as silly as whipping your hair back and forth. One option will give you strength, and the other will leave you with a nice case of whiplash. What do you choose?
Are you in?


Friday, July 22, 2011

The Last Thing You Expected...

Hahahahahahahah, didn't see that one coming, did you?
While this song is a little old for me - it came out 5 years before I was even born, maybe that'll make some of you feel nice and old - I, along with millions of others, have come to know of it through the beautiful prank known as "Rick Rolling," what I have just (maybe!) done to some of you. It started out as a number one hit in the United Kingdom, where Rick Astley is from. It soon escalated to the United States, where within years it became a classic. It's now a classic prank on the internet, where a simple link which is supposed to take you to some video of your choosing instead takes you to this video.
For as ridiculous as it is, this song has some pretty legit lyrics. Take the chorus for example:
"Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell a lie and hurt you."
Obviously, Astley's promising someone that he's pretty much never going to leave them, hurt them, or disappoint them. That's a pretty big promise to make, don't you think? I mean, I've promised the same things before, and unfortunately I've had to break some of those promises, just like others have made and broken the same ones to me. You may mean it when you say it, but more often than not, something goes wrong and the promise is broken.
That happens a lot though, don't you think? We're only human, and as hard as we try, we're going to do things we said we wouldn't. We're going to make someone cry even though we tried our hardest not to. We may have to leave someone for their own good, for our own good, or for other reasons we can't control. All of these lyrics seem ideal, but, at the end of the day, they can be darn near impossible for anyone.
Anyone, that is, except God.
"And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:20
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." - Deuteronomy 31:8
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'" - Isaiah 41:13 I have to spell it out for you some more, or do you catch my drift?
God has promised each of us dozens of times that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God's not giving us up, or letting us down, or deserting us. God also says in the Bible how He has plans for us to give us each hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, if you're wondering!)
I'm sure if you searched you could find a verse for just about every promise mentioned! Isn't that pretty amazing? It's like God's personal song right to you, written down thousands of years ago for you to enjoy anytime.
So, here's your NR challenge for this post. I challenge you to read God's love song to you - the Bible - and memorize these promises for yourself. God's never gonna give you up, or let you down. He's never gonna run around or desert you. He may make you cry, but He has plans for you which will make tears of joy rather than sadness run down your face! He's never going to say goodbye to you, and He would never tell you a lie to hurt you. Rather, God wants an intimate relationship with you, so He can tell you personally every day and in every way possible that He isn't going anywhere - as long as you let Him stay with you.
Pearl Bailey, an actress and singer, once said it best:
"People see God every day, they just  don't recognize him."
You have to be willing to pay attention, open your eyes, and see that God is always at your side.
Are you in?


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lasagna for Life.

Just call me Garfield.
My absolute favorite food is lasagna. If I could, I would eat an entire pan of it all by myself. The best part of lasagna is, other than the numerous layers of deliciousness, you could eat it everyday for a week after you make it and every day it would taste better than before. (Sadly, this never happens in my house, because it's normally gone 2-3 days after it's made, partially because I eat it for every meal when we have it.) 
There have been 2 different times in my life where my taste buds have exploded from lasagna-y goodness. The first was last July, when I was down in Orlando, Florida for IYC. The few days prior to the convention, we went to Disneyworld and all of the parks there. Our youth group was at Epcot one day around dinner time, and we all chose the Italian restaurant there in the Italy section of the park. My friend Jake and I each ordered lasagna, and when our food came out we tried it at the same time. The looks on our faces were probably priceless, because it was the best lasagna I had ever eaten to that point, hands down. Those bites were pure bliss, and Jake and I about cried when we realized we were down to our last few tastes. The second time was a month or so ago, when I crashed a friend's family reunion one night after drama. Theirs is a big Italian family, so of course the reunion was filled with all kinds of Italian goodness. When I went in to eat with my friend, I spotted the lasagna. He laughed and gave me a huge helping of it, which I started eating right then, even though it was cold. It was, amazingly, even better than the lasagna from Epcot! Obviously this makes sense, considering that was a restaurant in an amusement park, but you get what I mean. I found who had made it - the matriarch of the family, no less! - and plopped a big kiss right on her cheek. She didn't even blink. She must be used to crazy non-related kids kissing her on the cheek because she's a lasagna-making goddess. 
Based on these two slightly strange lasagna filled stories, I think it would be a safe call to say that, if given the opportunity, I would and easily could eat lasagna every day. 
In Isaiah 55:1-2,  God tells us this: 
“Come, all you who are thirsty,    come to the waters; and you who have no money,    come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk    without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread,    and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,    and you will delight in the richest of fare."
It's verses like these that make me like Isaiah the more I read it.
Imagine being able to sit down and eat as much lasagna and Dr. Pepper as you wanted, all without costing a cent. (Ohk, substitute lasagna and Dr. Pepper with your favorite foods and drinks to get the same effect...) Wouldn't that be great? I would never move from that table. If you had everything you ever wanted with your food and your drink, would you still go out and waste a couple bucks on Ramen noodles, TV dinners, and tap water? I think not! This would be like me saying, "No, thanks!" to the table full of lasagna and heading over to WalMart to stock up on the terrible Banquet TV dinner lasagnas. Not the same - at ALL
You wouldn't do something like that either, right? Then why would we do it with our faith? God is telling us in these verses how, no matter how hard we try, we can't satisfy ourselves with, well, ourselves. We need God and what He offers to be truly satisfied. He's offering us the richest and best food and drink for our souls - a free, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As much as I love lasagna, I love the idea of that much more! 
Your NR challenge for this food-themed post is this - don't walk to the kitchen and expect to be satisfied with the few things that are inside. The only way you'll truly be able to be happy and content is when you walk over to your bookshelf and dust off the Word of God, then opening it to learn more and be satisfied with Him. Remember that no matter how hard we try, we won't be able to satisfy our souls with ourselves. Accept what God offers, and you'll find that your "soul will delight in the richest of fare." And that's way, way better than lasagna.
Are you in?


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lessons From Babysitting

So I'm sitting here, watching Roo and Grant-man jump on the trampoline. For those of you that don't know, Rachie and Grant are the younger siblings of my best friend. I'm babysitting them right now because my best friends went to the Taylor Swift concert, and her parents are on a "hot date" in the South Side finishing up their lesson plans for junior/senior high at youth camp starting tomorrow.
Right now, Rachie and Grant are laying on the trampoline and tickling each other. Or, Rachie is tickling Grant, and he's squealing like a little girl. Before they started that, though, they were playing a girl they called "Magical, Magical." The point of the game is that whatever Grant says Rachel has to turn in to, she has to try and do. Simple, really. Grant just said, "Magical, magical, turn this woman into a rock." Rach just flopped on to the trampoline and Grant looked concerned - thus starting the tickle war that's currently still raging.
Earlier,Grant said, "Magical, magical, turn this bird (what Rachel was then) in to Jesus!" Rachel sat there and said, "I can't be Jesus silly!" They both flopped on the trampoline again, laughing uncontrollably.
I thought about that for a bit after she said that. "I can't be Jesus, silly!"
Is that true?
The definition of the term "Christian" is, essentially, "Christ-like." When we profess ourselves to be Christians, we are essentially saying that we are trying to be Christ-like in our thoughts, actions, words, and mannerisms. When people look at us, they should see Christ shining through us.
Then comes the bad news - we're human. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and so regardless of what we do, we can't be 100% perfect. Nothing can get us there - not good deeds, not going to church, and not acting "more Christian" than any other people. So basically, we can't be like Jesus in this aspect.
So what do we do? We can't be like Jesus, because we're human and sinful, but we're supposed to strive to be like Jesus, and represent him in everything that we say and do. And right there is your answer. We aren't supposed to act all "holier than thou," but we aren't supposed to follow the crowd and do the same things as the secular crew. We're supposed to represent God's light in everything we do and say, but it's difficult sometimes, isn't it? Of course! We can't "earn" our eternal home with good works, or being nice to people, or going to church and pretend that we're living the life of a Christian.
Sorry that this post is so sporadic - I've been writing it off and on all night as I watch the kids, haha! - but hopefully you'll see my point. We can't be Jesus, no matter how hard we try. The term "Christian" means to be Christ-like, not Christ Himself - because that's impossible!
Your NR challenge for this post is to act Christ-like. Be compassionate. Follow what the Bible says. Strive to be as close to Jesus as possible. Discover how awesome it is to be close with God. Who knows? You can have a "magical, magical" moment and have Jesus turn you from a normal person to an extraordinary follower and Child of God.
Are you in?


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Repeat After Me.

For as long as I remember, I've wanted to be an elementary teacher. I'm not sure why, but I've just always known that God was calling me to teach the ankle biters in their early years and hopefully leave an impression on them. I especially want to leave a Godly impression and try to help them out a bit, considering religion is banned from schools and whatnot.
Over the years, I've paid attention to my teachers and took some mental notes regarding good ideas and things that they've done. For example, I know that a red pen automatically decreases self esteem, and so when grading things a teacher should use a different color. I know that yellow paper is better to take tests on than plain white paper, because the yellow relaxes the mind more. Chewing sugary gum stimulates brain activity and so you should always pop a piece in before taking a test. Playing classical music stimulates young minds also. Some of it may be silly, but I've tried it, and it works!
The number one thing I've noticed, however, is that when you're trying to get an important idea or concept across, you repeat it a few times. Some people say that 3 times is the best way to get things across, and so repeating a phrase or something 3 times or more is highly effective. Sometimes it can get annoying though, trust me. Senior year, my high school decided that we needed to have "daily learning objectives" in every class, and the teacher had to state them 3 times - once at the beginning of the class, once in the middle, and once at the end. No one really did it, because it was so pointless. My pre-calculus teacher wrote 3 objectives down the first day of school and never changed them, and so whenever an admin came in he would whip that paper out from his pocket and pretend that he was in the middle of teaching that. It was pretty funny. But hey, I remember those objectives because he mentioned them 3 times!
This process applies to so many other things, too. When you're talking to little kids, you repeat yourself. When you're talking to family, or friends - anyone, really. When something is important, you repeat it.
God does that, too.
In the book of Joshua, God talks to the new guy, Josh. Josh has been installed as the new leader of the Israelites, following Moses' death. He is to take the people to the promised land, but first he has to get rid of the people that are already living there. These guys are big, scary, and can easily whip the little guys of Israel. To say that they were pretty scared would be an understatement. So what does God do?
"No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:5-9
God assures Josh that everything will go fine. With God on your side, how can it possibly not? God tells him how no one will be able to stand up against the Israelites for the rest of his life, because they will be feared and powerful. God isn't going to leave them. As long as they follow God, they'll be alright!
While that's all well and good, did you catch the most important part of what God was saying in those verses? No? Let's try this again, then. Look:
 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:5-9
Did you catch the hint there? God told Joshua THREE TIMES just in those 4 verses that he shouldn't be afraid, but rather be strong and courageous. The very first chapter of the book of Joshua, and God is already telling him something important.
Throughout the entire book, though, God repeats this message multiple times. Even verses later, Joshua tells the people exactly what God told him - be strong and courageous! Talk about the ultimate teacher, telling his students one of the most important lessons ever.
In junior church, we used to sing a song about this verse. It went something like, "Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with your, wherever you go." (Put a tune to that, and you get the point.) Even at a young age, we should realize that God won't leave us, no matter what we've done, will do, or are doing currently. There's another, newer, song that says, "If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?" I can't really say it any better than that. If God is with us through everything, then why are we afraid?
What are you afraid of? Witnessing to your friends? Standing up as a Christian in front of your family? Going head-to-head with Satan in the form of drugs, alcohol, porn, lying, or any other thing? Conquering an addiction? Taking the final step and placing your faith in God?
Whatever it is, God is there. In Ephesians 6, it tells of putting on the full armor of God - the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit. With all of that Godly "armor," could you really lose? I think not. Even if you stumble, you'll get back up again.
TobyMac said it best:
 "We lose our way, we get back up again. It's never too late to get back up again. One day, you will shine again. You may be knocked down but not out forever." - TobyMac, "Get Back Up"
This is your NR challenge - what are you afraid of? Conquer the fear. Be a conqueror. God's right there with you every step of the way. He's carrying you through the good times and the bad, it's just up to you to realize you won't get dropped on your head.
Be strong and courageous.
Be strong and courageous.
Be strong and courageous.
Are you in?


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Busy as a...yeah, you get it.
Well hi, guys. 
So, lately I haven't been posting a lot, and there's a reason for that, I promise!  I haven't really done anything, and so there hasn't been much to give me an idea for a post. What ideas I do have, I'm getting writer's block for and so I have like 10 drafts of different posts saved in the NR archives, but I promise you I'm chugging away at them. Also, I'm working on another part of My Story and it's probably the hardest one to write yet, and so that's taking a while. Words are not my friends, lately...but! That is my pathetic and feeble excuse as to why I haven't posted recently, and I hope that you'll accept it.
I'm heading off to Whitehall on Saturday, the 11th, to be a counselor for the 5th and 6th grade youth camp, then coming home the following week, repacking, and heading up again in the 19th to counsel at junior/senior high. I pretty much won't be back home for a decent amount of time until the 27th or so, but in that time I'll definitely think of some new posts and hopefully get past this writer's block for the ideas I already have. Prayers that I can get writing soon, that I won't hurt myself at camp this year (it happened last year! haha), and that I'll be able to make a positive and Godly impact on my campers these next two weeks would be appreciated! 
As always, if anyone has any ideas on what I could post on, or if you have a different angle on something I've said before, feel free to share. It gets lonely just talking to cyberspace; I need feedback from you guys to keep this blog going!
Thanks, and have a great few weeks, everyone!
Are you in?


Like a Lily

Disclaimer: I will get mushy. Just warning you.

In September I started an online reading plan for the Bible that takes me through the entire book in 1 year. Today I read Song of Solomon chapters 1-3 for the Old Testament, and Galatians 2 for the New Testament. (This is a plan that I picked myself; if you're interested in reading through the Bible in a year by yourself in a different way, here's the link to the website! When I first saw that I had to read Song of Solomon, I thought - great. Of course today I would start with the book of lovie dovie mush.
See, today is an anniversary for Scott and me. Yes, we're one of those goofy couples that highlights every monthly anniversary, but we do it because it shows that even through the tough stuff, we can make it work however long. Today marks 1 year and 11 months for us - next month is two years! (Sidenote - WOOOOOW.) But anyways! 
I wasn't too happy about reading the SoS, because Scott is working up at Whitehall this summer and I haven't heard much from him since he got there Sunday. It's been ohk so far, because of him being busy at school this past year, I've gotten accustomed to not speaking to him as much as we once did. That's all right. But not speaking to him a lot, paired with a bit of jealousy that he's at camp and I'm not, added with today being our anniversary = one crabby Kimber not wanting to deal with Solomon's love poems.
But, I read them. Of course. I'm a sucker for romance, whether I admit to it or not. And let me tell you, a few verses into SoS and I was hooked. Take a look for yourself:
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—    for your love is more delightful than wine.  Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;    your name is like perfume poured out.    No wonder the young women love you!  Take me away with you—let us hurry!    Let the king bring me into his chambers."- Song of Solomon 1:2-4.
I don't know about you, but I find that pretty romantic! In SoS, a man and a woman (exactly how many, the standings of each - royal/commoner - ect., are debated) speak to each other along with their friends, telling the other how great the other one is. The entire book is dedicated to this "storyline," with the friends replying once in a while to tell of their happiness for their friends, the woman saying how dreamy and dedicated the dude is, and the guy saying how gorgeous and pure his bride is. To some, it may seem boring - but to others, ahh, how romantic!
Think of that! Having the one you're marrying tell you things they love about you, how beautiful or handsome you are, how happy they are that you saved yourself for them in marriage, how happy they are that they're marrying you - it goes on and on. That would be pretty nice, right? 
When I was reading through, one verse in particular stuck out to me. In Song of Solomon 2:2, the man says of his bride:
"Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women."
I love, love, love this verse. Why? Think about it - the man is saying that his bride stands out from all of the other women around. It may not specify why this is, but to the man, she's the only one he sees.
What girl hasn't longed to be the one that stands out in the crowd? To be the only one that every guy has eyes for (in the right way, of course!) Face it - at least once, you've wanted to be the girl that the popular guy in the class wanted to take to the dance, or out on a date. Or vice versa; guys, you know that at least once you wanted to show all your friends up and be able to take that cheerleader out. While sometimes these feelings may be for the wrong reasons, I'm pretty sure every one of us has experienced them at one point or another.
Those are just regular people, though. Imagine if you're standing in a crowd of people and the person you're going to marry in the future points to you and says, that's the only person I see. That's the one for me. They're better than the rest in my eyes, and I'm going to marry them. That would be pretty cool, right? Of course it would!
This guy in the verse is saying how his bride is like a lily among thorns - in essence, a rare beauty, inside and out. There is the obvious comparison, which says how the bride was much more beautiful than all of the other young women that the man saw, and that's what made her stand out to him. But there's also something more, something about the beauty on the inside. The girl could possibly be a lily among the thorns because she has a good personality as compared to the others, or a better and gentler temperament. However, it says in the verses several times about how the girl was pure; she was still a virgin when she married the man, which could be different than many of the other girls - truly making her a "lily" among the "thorns."
Whatever the man means, 1 thing is clear: these two were crazy about each other. Another verse that I love from this book is Song of Solomon 8:6, which reads:
"Place me like a seal over your heart,    like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death,    its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire,    like a mighty flame."
To me, that is SUPER romantic. Once, in a county chorus festival, we sang a song that had these words in it. I about died every time we sang it just because it was so sweet! (I'm totally listening to it now, here you go,)

Whether or not you have a bride waiting for you, or a groom, Song of Solomon can be something that makes you think. Are you trying to be a lily among the thorns for your future spouse? It isn't just about looking good - separating yourself from the sex scene and staying pure, keeping your head and having a good attitude, and having a cheerful, Christlike personality make you stand out even more than your looks. 
Your NR challenge for this post is exactly that: separate yourself from the mainstream and try to be the lily in today's world. Not only will your future spouse love you for it, but your friends, family, God, and you will as well.
Are you in?

- Kimber.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Story, Part 2.

I'm eighteen. As a typical eighteen year old girl, I spend a ton of time on Facebook. I blog. I eat whatever I can and most of it isn't healthy. I run, even though I don't particularly like to. I actually started tanning this week. I like guys - a particular guy, but anyone who has been around in the past two years already knows this. I love hanging out with my friends, including my best friends, the wives. I love dancing and singing to my iPod, although I know there are people who wish I wouldn't. I fight with my siblings. I go to school. I spend some more time on Facebook. I text. 
I also struggle with a little thing called self confidence. Unfortunately, this is something that is typical nowadays for teenagers. When I was little, I had the typical innocent baby fat. Most kids do. However, as I got older, it refused to go away. It didn't help any that I hated going outside, ("House Mouse" was my nickname) and I wasn't very good at sports - oh, I tried; I had ballet, softball, baseball, tee ball, and soccer - but I didn't like any of it other than soccer, and that became too hard to manage as my siblings and I got older. So I just chilled inside and read my books and was as boring as all getup. 
I was never huge, but about the time I entered high school - ninth grade - I started feeling pretty bad about myself. I still looked like I did when I was a baby, but just a few feet taller (seriously, just a few. Short. Short. Short.) It made me so upset. Nothing I could do could make that go away! On top of that came the beautiful time of life known as puberty. It was going around in my grade faster than a rumor, and everyone was changing. I hated it. My face was breaking out, I was always gross feeling, and I was still chubby! Ick, ick, ick!
I hated myself. All of the people who had once told me I was a beautiful little girl disappeared into the woodwork. Guys didn't like me - well, one did, but that's for another post. My friends were gorgeous compared to me - they had perfect makeup, and the coolest clothes, and were skinny, skinny, skinny. I didn't wear makeup. A perfect outfit to me was a basketball tee and my favorite pair of jeans with some Sneakers. I didn't even start carrying a purse until the eighth grade, for goodness sake! It seemed like one day we were all relaxing on the kickball field in fifth grade at the top of the world, and now we were in high school, and I was a freak. It got so bad that for a while, I convinced myself not to eat. I allowed myself the minimum amount of food possible to get by. No one noticed, I thought, because no one cared. Sure, I lost a few pounds. After a while, I realized what I was doing and tried to start eating normally again. It didn't work. My body was so used  to eating that little amount of food that I would get sick if I ate more. 
So, let's summarize here. Here I am, a chubby little high schooler, who felt like she had no friends, no looks, and felt like she was a million pounds. Worthless
Enter God. 
Sometime after junior year - past my awkward tenth grade phase and the horror that was my junior year of high school - I was sitting in my room, waiting for the beauty that is Whitehall summer youth camp. I had only been there once, and it was in third grade. I hated it; I was the picture of the pathetic little homesick girl. In fourth grade I was there for one day and had to have my dad take me home hours after signing me up. Sad, yeah. But anyway, here I am getting ready for this camp. I'm thinking, "Alright God. You've taken me for quite a ride these past few months. I'm single for the first time in a year and a half, I feel completely worthless, and I have absolutely 0% self confidence or self esteem or anything positive about myself. If you really want to help me out, show me something at Whitehall. Anything."
(Just a quick note here: If you ever say anything like that to God, prepare to get your mind blown. As in, Him showing you something and as soon as you realize it feeling like you just got Bible thumped across the face.)
Long story short, at Whitehall something amazing happened. I met people that I had always known - people in my church that I had seen every week twice a week but didn't really talk to, girls and guys that I had sat next to in youth but didn't talk to because I was shy - that quickly became some of the best people in my life. (Shout out to the wives!) These people understood me, understood what I was going through and did stuff to help me. They made me feel like I was worth something to them. And, of course, you can't forget about the guy that I met. He didn't realize it at the time, but when we met, I was a pretty broken girl. Those people  that I met and had already known that showed that they cared, added with the somewhat awkward and creepy constant following of the guy who already thought I was great, made me feel amazing. Almost whole again.
However, that part was God's job, and boy oh boy did He do it well. God spoke to me that week at camp. He told me how I was His original masterpiece; that He knew me before I was even formed; and, most importantly, He died on the cross Broken, hurting, doubtful little me. As He was on the cross, I came across His mind and He smiled, knowing that I was worth it.
I was worth it. 
It's been almost two years since then, and I haven't forgotten this. Sure, there are bad days - when my hair is awful (which it normally is,) my face breaks out, nothing looks good on me or I can't fit into something anymore - but the bad days don't hurt like they used to. I've learned to love who I am; it's been a slow process, but I'm getting there. This is the first year that I could wear a bikini and not feel like I should have a shirt and shorts over top of it. I lay in my back yard and tan, and don't feel self conscious. I'm not the skinniest thing, and I know I probably never will be. As long as I take care of myself, though, I know that I'll grow to love who I am. And even when I do have those bad days, sure, I want to cry my eyes out! But I know that there are people out there who are going through the same thing that I am, and that there are people that love me regardless if my shirt doesn't look good on me, or if my hair is so frizzy it's pointing three feet from my head. Above all, I know that God loves me for who I am, and that He made me this way. It may be a sick sense of humor in my eyes, considering the frizzy, messy hair; the slightly round, short, and stubby figure; face that occasionally breaks out and the smile that may not be blindingly white, but to Him, I'm an original masterpiece. His creation. He wanted me this way, and so that's how I am. Beautiful.
Your NR challenge for this post is this - realize your beauty. Realize that God formed you and wanted you a specific way, and so that's how you are. Realize that Jesus thought of YOU as he was on the cross, and He made the greatest sacrifice for you.  Lastly, remember this: beauty doesn't last. Clothes fall out of style or fade. Weight comes and goes and it always will. However, true beauty and self confidence comes from knowing God's love.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart. - Helen Keller
 Are you in?


Princess You

Sorry fellas, this post is for the ladies.
Now that it's been over a week since Will and Kate got married, I think it's finally safe to approach the subject of the royal wedding without it being overkill - at least, that's what I think, and I'm the writer here, so that's what we're going with. I'll admit, I always have had a slight obsession with English royalty - thank Queen Elizabeth I and her crazy father with his 8 wives for entertaining me as subjects in so many amazing books - and so when I heard about Wills popping the question to Kate, I thought, well that's cute. I never really followed this particular royal family - I was only 5 when Princess Di was killed, and so it's not like I was always paying attention or even knew anything about them. I preferred the old historical families that were so much cooler.
When the engagement photos appeared of the couple, though, I started getting interested. She was absolutely gorgeous, and even though he's a bit strange looking - horsey, maybe? - they still made an adorable couple. I started getting curious, and so I researched (I am a Wikipedia JUNKIE, for sure) Kate and now, as sad as it is, I can tell you just about anything regarding her, her relationship with Will, or her family. Pathetic, I know.
What I found most interesting, however, was that Kate wasn't born into prestige or royalty or even a small title. Her parents are party planners, and eventually their company became well known and soon her family was well off, which led her to be able to attend the University of St. Andrews, where she met Will at a fashion show. (See? PATHETIC.) Kate started off in life as young Kate Middleton, oldest daughter of some successful British party planners - and now look at her: she's now known as " Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus." Yes, I copy and pasted that from Wikipedia, because even though I'm a huge dork, there's no way that I could remember a title like that.
Crazy though, isn't it? To be a normal, common person and then in a few whirlwind-like years you become quite possibly the next Queen of England! What girl doesn't want to be a princess? No matter how tomboy you were as a kid, or may still be, you know you wanted to be a princess at some point in time. I was pretty jealous as I looked at the pictures from Will and Kate's wedding - okay, and as I watched the entire thing, but not at 3 AM like some crazy people! I watched it at a decent time, 10:30ish, thank you - because she looked so beautiful, and the wedding was so cool, and it was so nice, and she's a princess now!, and...yeah, safe to say I was jealous. I want to be a princess!
My wish - and every other little girl's wish - has already been granted, though. From the time that we were born - the time that we were even thought of - we were already a princess. We were God's princess. Don't believe me? Think about it! God says in Philippians 4:6 to "not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything." There, He says that we don't have to be fearful or worry, because God has our backs! It says in Psalm 139:13-14 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God knew us before our mothers even realized that we were around! 
My mind is racing right now, because I'm like 99% sure God is telling me that I'm not supposed to focus on this post and instead focus on another part of my story, so let me give you the NR challenge for this insanely sporadic and short post - sorry! Your challenge is to think of yourself as the princess you rightly are - GOD'S princess! While you may not have the opportunity to marry a future prince of England (hey, Harry is still available!), you can know that the best prince is smiling at you always - the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ Himself. So what do you say? You're a princess! It's time to realize that!
Are you in?