Saturday, April 30, 2011

Technology vs. Communication

In an Internet era, are we losing our ability to really communicate? The means of technology has allowed very quick and easy ways to get our message across...but in doing so are we sacrificing having true intimate and heartfelt connections with those we love? Just some thoughts to ponder.

I read this article recently and thought it had good points to share. It was written mostly with thoughts of communication in regards to "romance"...with our significant other, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc...but I think a lot of the valid points here can be translated into the many different types of relationships we have in our lives. So here goes. Take from it what you will =)


     "If you miss me...you can't text, you can't e-mail, you can't post it on my Facebook wall. If you really miss me, you come and see me." I began to think of all the billions of intimate exchanges sent daily via fingers and screens, bouncing between satellites and servers. With all this texting, e-mailing, and social networking, I started wondering, are we all becoming so in touch with one another that we are in danger of losing touch?
     It used to be that boy met girl and they exchanged phone numbers. Anticipation built. They imagined the entire relationship before a call ever happened. The phone rang. Hearts pounded. "Hello?" Followed by a conversation that lasted two hours but felt like two minutes and would be examined with friends for two weeks. If all went well, a date was arranged. That was then.
    Now we exchange numbers but text instead of calling because it mitigates the risks of early failure and eliminates those deafening moments of silence. Now anticipation builds. Bdoop. "It was NICE meeting u". Both sides overanalyze every word. We talk to a friend, and impromptu Cyrano: "He wrote nice in all caps. What does that mean? What do I write back?" Then we write a response and delete it 10 times before sending a message that will appear 2 care, but not 2 much. If all goes well, a date will be arranged.
    Whether you like it or not, the digital age has produced a new format for modern romance, and natural selection may be favoring the quick-thumbed quip peddler over the confident, ice-breaking alpha male. Or maybe we are hiding behind the cloak of digital text and spell-check to present superior versions of ourselves while using these less intimate forms of communication to accelerate the courting process. So what's it really good for?
    There is some argument about who actually invented text messaging, but I think it's safe to say it was a man. Multiple studies have shown that the average man uses about half as many words per day as women, thus text messaging. It eliminates hellos and goodbyes and cuts right to the chase. Now, if that's not male behavior, I don't know what is. It's also great for passing notes. There is something fun about sharing secrets with your date while in the company of others. Think of texting as a modern whisper in your lover's ear.
     Sending sweet nothings on Twitter or Facebook is also fun. In some ways, it's no different than sending flowers to the office: You are declaring your love for everyone to see. Who doesn't like to be publicly adored? Just remember that what you post is out there and there's some stuff you can't unsee.
     But the reality is that we communicate with every part of our being, and there are times when we must use it all. When someone needs us, he or she needs all of us. There's no text that can replace a loving touch when someone we love is hurting.
     We haven't lost romance in the digital age, but we may be neglecting it. In doing so, antiquated art forms are taking on new importance. The power of a handwritten letter is greater than ever. It's personal and deliberate and means more than an e-mail or text ever will. It has a unique scent. It requires deciphering. But, most important, it's flawed. There are errors in handwriting, punctuation, grammar, and spelling that show our vulnerability. And vulnerability is the essence of romance. It's the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, "This is me, and I'm interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Here and Now

In reading the book "Here and Now" by Henri Nouwen....just wanted to share a couple key principles that stuck with me.

Living In The Present:
To live in the present, we must believe deeply that what is most important is the here and now. We are constantly distracted by the things that have happened in the past or that might happen in the future. But real life takes place in the here and now. God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment, be that moment hard or easy, joyful or painful.

Joy:
I always considered myself to be an "optimistic" person. Seeing the glass half full. Hopeful in every situation that there was good to come. Now although that may be a positive quality...it's not optimism that is the goal...it is JOY. I learned that joy is something quite different than naive optimism. Optimism is the attitude that makes us believe that things will be better tomorrow. The war will be over, your wounds will be healed, the depression will go away...all will be better soon. The optimist may be right or wrong, but, whether right or wrong, the optimist does not control the circumstances. Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world. It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives. Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live in shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected. No, the real surprise is that God's light is more real that all the darkness, that God's truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God's love is stronger than death.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beautiful



Sometimes my heart and mind get a little overwhelmed with everything that goes on in this life. Taking moments to fix my eyes on the One above is the only real thing that brings true peace and satisfaction.

Isaiah 58:11- "The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an everflowing spring." 





Beautiful


Here before Your alter
I am letting go of all I've held
Of every motive, every burden
Everything that's of myself

And I just wanna wait on You, my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are

Beautiful, beautiful
Oh, I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful
Oh Lord You're beautiful to me

Here in Your presence
I am not afraid of brokenness
To wash Your feet with humble tears
I would be poured out till nothing's left

And I just wanna wait on You, my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are

Beautiful, beautiful
Oh, I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful
Oh Lord You're beautiful to me

Holy, holy, holy You are, You are
Holy, holy, holy You are, You are
Holy, holy, holy You are, You are
Holy, holy, holy You are, You are

Beautiful, beautiful
Oh, I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful
Oh Lord You're beautiful to me

Thursday, March 3, 2011

To Trust...Or Not To Trust

Trust is an interesting thing. 

I have been faced with a couple different scenarios this week regarding trust. People I know not trusting each other. Someone not trusting me. Me choosing to trust...or not to trust in others. Trusting myself and my choices in this life. It's something that we all face on a daily basis. Putting ourselves out there. Letting our hearts be vulnerable to one another. Taking that risk without knowing exactly what the outcome will be. It can be a scary thing sometimes. BUT...

"You must trust and believe in people, or life becomes impossible"
"Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree, because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch, or you might simply get covered in sap, and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors, where it is harder to get a splinter"
"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough"
"Without trust there is nothing"
"Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart"
"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy"
"The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are, not who we want them to be"
"The best proof of love is trust"
"Trust is letting go of needing to know all the details before you open your heart"

Learn to trust yourself. To listen to truth. To not be afraid of it. And to not try and hide it. This is somewhat challenging at times...but without it we cannot truly love. At least not in a real way. And not in the way God wants us to love. 



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Receive my Adoration

For those of you who are in Circles who have only been reading this blog over the last few weeks, you will begin to see blog posts like this pop up every now and then =) I started this blog last year, with my inspiration being my passion for music and worshipping God. If you want a little more explanation you can peek back at my very first post to read more.

This song was played at Rock Harbor Church on Saturday night, and as I was worshipping all I could think about was how much I love my heavenly Father. How much I adore Him. And being that this week was Valentine's Day, I spent some time on that Monday just sitting in my room singing this song to Him. It has been in my head all week long. Music and lyrics are such a powerful thing...and in this moment...this song displayed exactly what I wanted God to hear from me.

All I need is found in You. I adore you. You are wonderful. You have my heart and my life. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for making all things beautiful. Creation lifts you up. I, your child, will worship you til I no longer have breath.




Thank you God for showing us your perfect love. Real love. This is the type of love that we should strive to show one another.
1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)
The Way of Love
   1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3 -7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.
   8 -10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
   11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
   12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
   13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Back to the "grind"...but in a new way!


This is my sitting in Starbucks, pondering my week type of face. And I just bought these crazy looking glasses and wanted to see if it makes me look smarter, more intelligent, more sophisticated, etc...thus the reason for this photo. Does it work? LOL =) I'm thinking not so much.

Anywho...the title for this post being back to the "grind" is because I have officially started working again this week for the first time in about a year! Most of last year I was in school full-time, and then since graduating in November I have been on somewhat of a vacation for the last 2 and 1/2 months. I have very much enjoyed having that time to focus on my education, and to follow God's leading in this new career path of mine. God uprooted me from my previous accounting job last year...provided the financial means for me to go through school to pursue a passion of mine, and I am now a licensed Cosmetologist. I began my first week of work in the salon as a hairstylist this past Wednesday!

It is back to the "grind", but in a completely new and exciting way! I made the choice a few years back that I wanted to wake up every morning not dreading going into work, but excited, passionate about what I do, and knowing that I have the opportunity each day to invest into the lives of others in some way. This career as a hairstylist isn't just about the physical, materialistic, how you look on the outside type of influence as most people see it. I look at it as a way of putting myself in front of people every day for God to use me however He chooses. Loving them in any way that I can, serving them in ways that hopefully build their confidence, being an ear to listen and hopefully a positive voice in their lives. All my life I've wanted to be in a position where I'm serving God with everything that I am. I used to think that that meant I was supposed to work in some form of full-time ministry within the church. But now I have realized that this is my ministry. Something as simple as someone entrusting me with their hair can lead to all sorts of open doors. And I'm super stoked to walk through each and every opportunity that God puts in my path!!

I am so beyond grateful for God's provisions, faithfulness, love, and for everything that He is. I couldn't live this life without Him!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Am I worshipping God or my "idea" of Him?

Just a few highlights in my life since my last post!


Trip to Disneyland with my favorite little 2yr old Skylar Grace. I currently live with one of my best friends Stacy, and this is her little girl. To her I am known as "Auntie" and every time she calls me that my heart melts! It was her first time meeting Tinkerbell(her favorite right now) and I have to say, I didn't know going to Disneyland with a 2yr old would be so much fun!!! Well maybe not EVERY 2yr old lol...but this one brings me great joy =) Seeing her face light up when she met her favorite characters, watching her hug and squeeze them and not let go...these moments are priceless!


Snowboarding trip to Snow Valley with my friend Travis and a group of people from Rock Harbor Church. Thanks to Cameron McCartey for setting this trip up and being my snowboard instructor for the day. As well as Travis who stuck by my side, gave be continuous bits of advice, and watched me fall all day long. LOL! I have technically been snowboarding for a few years now, but only once or twice a year, and in the completely incorrect way. If you are a snowboarder and know what a "falling leaf" is(basically only riding using the back edge of my board)...that's about the extent of my snowboard skills. So I went into this trip with a challenge to myself to learn how to carve correctly. Quite a few falls and a couple of bruised knees later I can say I have made some definite progress =) Still have a ways to go though. I will keep pressing on!!


Then upon returning from snowboarding I immediately went to Rock Harbor for our weekly Circles discussion. I have thoroughly enjoyed the connections and friendships that are beginning to form here! Bringing 30 people together every week who all have an intense desire to grow together in Christ, that in itself will create a wonderful sense of community. But then when you begin to know people on a more individual level it only enhances that relationship. For instance, two examples off the top of my head that stand out. Dannah Christensen and I have quite the similarities. We share a love for surfing, the outdoors, music, that sort of thing. Both of us are on the road to becoming hairstylists after working jobs that left us completely unfulfilled, and realizing we weren't on the path God had laid out for us. I'm super excited to get to know her more and to use our gifts and talents together in ways that bring people hope, joy, and untimately give glory to our heavenly father!! Also, I have met Blair Bradberry and discovered that we are "southern soul" sisters!! Both born in Alabama, but lack a southern accent because we were mostly raised in the midwest, and now our lives have brought us both here. We share a heart for southern culture. Similar story in those aspects but I can imagine in others we are quite different. She went to college at University of Georgia...I never even attended a 4yr college. I spent a few years after high school in a small but intense bible/ministry training school. She attended Harvard for grad school...I spent 9 months and just recently graduated from Beauty School. She works as a college counselor...I am a hairstylist. But it is a BEAUTIFUL thing!! We speak the language of Fried Okra and Sweet Tea =) Our common ground thus far is first and foremost our heart to live our lives for Christ and his glory, and also our love for the south! If we hadn't chosen to make God our priority in the midst of our crazy lives we may have never met. But I'm glad we did and that we all have a chance to grow together over the next 8 months!


Wrapping up my thoughts here I just want to leave you with this. My father posted this quote on his facebook a few days ago, and it's been on my heart and mind ever since.
"Do I worship God or do I worship my experience of God? Do I worship God or do I worship my idea of Him? If I am to avoid an ego-centric approach to "spirituality" that takes me from "experience" to "experience" hoping for "deeper" and "better" things, I must know what I believe apart from the feelings that may or may not accompany such a belief!"
In this walk of life we experience highs and lows. Great times and tough times. Times of excitement and times of dullness. Times of growth and times of stagnancy. Times of joy and times of turmoil. Times of accomplishments and times of failure. These are all feelings that are a result of experiences we go through. But I love this quote because it challenges me to not live for the "feeling". No matter where I am in life whether it is good or bad, what I believe should remain constant. I worship him because of who He is, not because of how I feel. God does not waiver. God is God always. God is good in all things. God is faithful. God loves me. God has my life in his hands. 100% of His Word is true and right. And if my worshipping him is based on feelings that occur or circumstances that happen in my life...then in reality I was worshipping my "idea" of him rather than who his word says that He is. We are imperfect humans living in an imperfect world filled with a sinful nature, and God loves us anyway. My belief in who He is must stand firm through thick and thin...otherwise I don't think I can say that I really believed in Him at all. Only my idea of him.