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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

From Here On Out....

Already brewed my first cup of coffee...I anticipate a busy day as I have 3 photo shoots starting in an hour, so I'm soaking up this quiet time. My parents and brothers went to breakfast and my sister is running out the door for her Annual Turkey Bowl. These past couple of days have been a whirl wind- family coming and going, meals made and eaten, stores visited and really does fly by sometimes. I think the fast pace of life is what causes me to sit back and enjoy a few more moments in bed...looking out the window and just starring at the Lord's creation. Its as if life stands still...for me at least. I need these moments. I anticipate life is going to fly by in the next 6.5 weeks and before I know it, I'll be waking up in Africa excited about whats a head of me and wishing I had soaked up every moment back at home...where life is familiar. Like I said, this just my nervous anticipation...not set in stone what it will be like. I don't necessarily want to be overseas thousands of miles away wishing that life had slowed down a little for me before I left so that my time at home with friends and families wasn't so rushed. I think its a choice I have to make from here on live life in the moment. That is hard for me...sounds good and all in theory but living it out is another thing. As life happens, there are always things to look forward to, you know how it goes. Lets take this holiday season, for example: You anticipate Thanksgiving Dinner but as you are eating it half way through you get excited about those homemade pies. And then as you are eating the pies you are discussing what stores you are going to tomorrow to get the best deals. Then, while you are shopping with friends and family, you are thinking about Christmas and what you are gonna give to on and so on.
I just need all the hustle and bustle to
And I just need to live in the moment from here on out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

For the Beauty

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.
May I see it like the first time
Standing as a sinner lost

Monday, November 24, 2008

Contemplation of the day...

Friday, November 21, 2008

November 27...Get Into Starbucks and start drinking!!! (RED)
In the words of Strabucks: "Join us as we count down to the launch of (STARBUCKS) RED. Starting November 27, every time you buy a special (STARBUCKS) RED product, a contribution will be made to the Global Fund, to help save lives in Africa. It’s all part of our commitment to give back to the communities where we do business, which is a key component of Starbucks™ Shared Planet™."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Morning coffee.

There is something precious about having my window next to my bed and being able to look out, first thing in the morning and seeing God's beautiful creation. Each and every morning, there is something new... leaves falling, wind blowing, snowflakes drifting, squirrels chasing... I just like laying there and looking at how creative He is...ok fine, and laying under the warm covers an extra few minutes isn't so bad either. This morning, once I got out of bed, I made myself a cup of coffee and got into the Word...another precious morning moment. With the study of Joshua I'm going through, I got to read about Rahab this morning. And I got to thinking about scripture reading and how all too often I don't take a step back and think of scripture through the eyes of these kind of Characters.

Hmm, what that must have been like for a prostitute (ok, I'm not ending that phrase there) to have 2 men show up at her door seeking shelter, nothing more. Being a prostitute, no doubt she must have been looked down upon by everyone in Jericho. And then one day.. "Knock, Knock." Two men show up at her door. I'm sure she assumed what they came for, but little did she know that God had picked HER to join in his plan. She got in on some pretty sweet stealth action...what a mission! Its just great how God uses the overlooked and the unexpected to help with his mission on this earth. When Rahab opened her door that day little did she know what she was getting incredible. She was also quite the fierce be able to mislead the King to spare the lives of the spies. Her life, for sure was expendable to the King and her hiding the spies must have put her in more danger and yet she remained faithful. Wow. And through her faithfulness to our God, Rahab and her family were spared from Jericho's Crumbling walls...the very place where she lived (in the walls). Pretty cool if you ask me, I don't, that's the way I see it! ;)

As the man says, 'not a sermon, just a thought'

Monday, November 17, 2008

What gets your blood pumping?

I finally got enough will power to make it to the gym this morning and yet stood on my treadmill, not moving, trying to figure out what play list to work out to. I was trying to decide between Rihanna, Upbeat country, or my Africa play list. Well, I was in an 'excited-about-Africa' of course that won! There is something incredible about the medley of African drum beats intertwined with the powerful voices of an African. What a rhythm. It doesn't take just a treadmill to get my heart racing and blood pumping. There are many things in life that excite me, African music being one of them. As I was running, I got to thinking...what other type of things excite/motivate/move&shake me? Here's just 10 things I came up with throughout the day... Trust me, there's more!

1. African Music
2. Powerful Worship
3. Movies that make you want to do more then just live your life for yourself
4. Photography
5. Inspiring stories from people who have made a difference for Christ
6. Organizations that are thriving in making an impact on this earth
7. Being encouraged whether by service or words.
8. Spiritually stimulating conversations
9. Exploring new places.
10. Time alone with God.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life and growing up

I have a feeling these blogs seem to be heading down the "Debbie Downer" road sooo, I'm just gonna lighten it up for a bit with a "life" blog... just life! I figure it can't hurt.

When you were a child, did you ever have a childhood dream? Like a dream to go to Disney World, own a pony, have Christmas every day of the year? Yeah, come were a kid at one point, of course you did! Haha, I kinda laugh at mine because it wasn't the normal girl dream of a pony or prince charming...I always dreamed of going to a Military Ball. No joke. It must have been growing up with my parents always going to these Balls, dressing up, coming home late, and talking about the events from the night before that sparked my interest at such an early age. The hilarious thing is how many "close calls" I've had to having this dream fulfilled and yet, no dice. Ok, so at the time I didn't think its so hilarious (my housemates can definitely attest to that!). But lets face it, when things fall through time and time and time and time and time again (ok you get the point.) tends to be expected, therefore hilarious.

In the past, when these opportunities arose, in most cases, it was not my choice that these Balls fell through. Once i graduated from college, I expected these opportunities to diminish. So I threw in the glass slipper dreams for those of mosquito repellent and flip flops. Quite different dreams, but I'm learning that dreams can change over time as your bigger ambitions in life get molded as God shows you new "jobs" he wants you to complete for his glory.

This morning, one of my housemates called me saying "Kate....whatever you are doing tonight, cancel it!!! I know someone who needs a date to the Marine Corps Ball, and You are gonna go!" Of course my immediate response went straight towards my dreams from yesteryear's. What a sweetheart my roommate was to call me and tell me of this opportunity. But, unfortunately (or fortunately...however you choose to look at it) I am realizing that responsibilities that bring you to your adult dreams need to come before my childhood dream. As my mom always says, "Ten years down the road, what are you gonna remember more____ or_____?" In this case, I had photo shoots today and tomorrow to complete (All the money going towards my Kenya Support fund). Knowing that, I couldn't justify calling those families up and asking them to cancel their shoots so that I could go to a military ball. This time, I had to be responsible...Ahhh-responsibility?!?!?! (Ok fine, I also had some help from Kiki, my Mom and Kate who urged me not to drive down to the Ball.) But my point being, I have to remember my task at hand: Getting to Africa. All in all, Ten years down the road, I'd like to look back and remember having enough support to get myself on the plane with a one-way ticket, Destination: Kenya.

Its funny the little things that cause you to realize you are growing up. Drinking a steady cup of coffee every morning, setting up your own Doctor's appointments, discussing books rather then movies...whatever it may be, growing up is inevitable...It happens...but loosing your sense of adventure doesn't have to. For instance, I recently heard of a family who's husband is spending his tour of duty in Iraq, leaving his wife and two kids at home for a half a year or so. Not knowing many people in their new town, This woman decided to pack up her two kids for three months and "world school" them. In a week, they are leaving for New Zealand where they are renting a hippy van and driving throughout the country, "world schooling" along the way. Sure, as a mom, she has her responsibilities but from the looks of it, didn't once have to compromise her sense of adventure!

I'd say trading a small dream for a more responsible adventurous life sounds like a pretty good deal to me! I just pray that I never get too "grown up" and loose the spirit of adventure I crave.

Sarah, I'm praying for you tonight and hope you feel like Cinderella! :) You deserve to wear that glass slipper! I'm expecting a phone call tonight to hear ALL about it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

It Is Well

Hmm...tonight I decided to refresh myself on African news. I've been taking a little hiatus from it all, as it began to scare me a bit. Wrong night to pick it back up!

Headline: Italian Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya.

awesome...yeah, not so much. Hmm. Times like this I have to rest in the verse Hebrew 9:27
"And just as it is appointed for man to die once..." Ok that might not seem like an encouraging verse in this kind of situation, but to me it is. I had a talk with my dad tonight about what happened today in Kenya and he reminded me of this verse. God has already appointed a time in my life that I will pass on from this earth. Death happens, its natural and nothing you can do will stop it. Ok, I'll admit, this all does sound a little extreme to me considering the fact that these nuns haven't been killed or anything, but I guess I'd be lying if I didn't say that my mind can't help but jump to that possible conclusion. (Right now I'm praying for those women). But see, here is where that verse becomes encouraging. Even death is in the Lords hands. If right now is not the appointed time for these women to die, then nothing can take them from this earth. God is not yet finished using them here.

I guess this idea applies to my accident a few weeks ago. Although all signs and facts show that I should not have walked away from that accident in the condition I did, fact of the matter is, I did! That accident was not my appointed time to leave this earth.

Stories like the one I read tonight do, indeed, scare me...I am human! I guess I can continue in my journey towards Africa confident in this...No matter what happens to me in Africa (or here), I am COMPLETELY in the Lord hands. Phew...easy for me to watch me try to apply this in the upcoming year!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Afterthought: (noun) reflection after an action.

Obviously God has been teaching me a lot lately. I think I'm at a point in my life, preparing for a new stage and getting ready to move on from the old, that I find myself scrounging around for an understanding to the change I'm about to experience. Obviously God is saturated with lessons to teach us, whether you are looking or is always there waiting for discovery. I think the one that Christ is teaching me right now is about strength and courage.

My dad's favorite man of God in the bible is Joshua...and what a man he was! I can tell, in all the times I have heard my dad preach, Joshua is the one he is most passionate about...and for good reason. I was in the bookstore a few weeks ago looking for a new devotional to study and one caught my eye. "Live Fearlessly" the Study of Joshua. Live fearlessly?.......SIGN ME UP! Joshua....SIGN ME UP! Funny thing, I walked down to my dad's office to get his opinion on the devotional. He laughed when I showed him the book, then reached down and picked up a book from his Desk. "Living a Fearless Life." (another study of Joshua). I've enjoyed learning about Joshua and how to apply his fearless leadership and living to my life.

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers 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. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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 terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:6-9

Hmm, makes me wonder if God's trying to say something about having strength and courage in Him??? Lately those two words have been sticking out in my life like a sore thumb (yeah I did just use a grandma phrase, so what?) Strength...Courage. Those are two very powerful words, and my God is commanding us to have these characteristics. Better work on that!

I'm still sorting through areas in my life where I lack strength and courage. Tonight, one area came to mind...debates/arguments. I am one to run in the opposite direction when it comes to these things. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I think it has something to do with me hating the fact of possibly coming across as a jerk or just holding up a weak argument. Ok, I should state here that I'm not trying to say that I think that I need to argue more or debate more, but this is an area that I could be more eloquent in.

Like I said, when it comes to an argument or debate, I tend to get quiet even if I am very passionate bout the subject. Strength and courage lack completely. Sometimes...very rarely, however, I get into an debate with someone and get a little too fired up about it...lacking something important- Love/Compassion. I described it to some friends tonight like running down a hill. As you run down the hill you pick up momentum and before you know it, it is hard to stop. In the same way, sometimes if I'm discussing something I'm passionate about I tend to get too into the debate, throwing aside the love/compassion towards the person I am talking to. So where is the middle ground?

Is there a way to combine love/compassion, strength, and courage when it comes to arguments or disagreements? Tonight, while in Panera, i got to sit in on a discussion between two friends. They were discussing a sensitive subject. I, of course, got quiet and acted like I wasn't interested in what they were discussing in fear of being brought into the debate. I thought about it for a while...why am I fearful? Why can't I just share my opinion, one I feel strongly about? I think, to be raw and honest... I think I was afraid of my opinion being out there for all to analyze. But if I feel strongly about it, why is it hard to share? Well, like I said, this is an area where strength and courage need to be more thriving. So back to the discussion. The discussion between my two friends was fascinating. They both approached the discussion with strength, courage but most importantly, Love. I admired that about both of them. They listened to each other, contemplated what each other had to say, shared their own opinion and throughout it all, kept love at the center. There was no bitterness or hard feelings at the end. Just a greater understanding of each other and appreciation for seeing it from both angles.

(Sorry I'm running around in circles with this entry but I just thought a lot tonight)

Earlier this week, I did have a discussion with someone about Abortion. This can be a very sensitive subject and one I would usually tip toe around but that "running down the hill" effect started with me. Once i began the debate I couldn't stop. It wasn't like I wanted to argue for the sake of arguing it was more so that I was so into the debate that it became personal and when it became personal, I compromised...compromised compassion and love. Sure, I had some strength and courage to say some of the things in our argument but i can tell from looking back that the things that were said, were not said out of love or compassion. And lacking love and compassion was not worth the strength and courage it took to get there. Like I said, I need to find the ability in my character to go into an argument with strength and courage AND love and compassion. The verse that comes to mind is 1 Cor 13:1 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

So, a goal for myself: when faced with a discussion I am passionate about, join the discussion with strength and courage but never lacking love and compassion...Its like Coffee and creamer, can't have one without the other! ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

{8} to {21}

Yesterday I received a frustrating email. Earlier this week I contacted my facilitator up at headquarters to inquire about my missions support percentage. Looking back, I think I was due for being put in my place by the "man upstairs." I wish I didn't have to admit this, but my inquiry was out of desire to boast. I expected to receive a response to my email something like; " wow Kate, although support has taken a big hit due to the economic crisis, you have worked hard in raising support and it is really paying off." Hahaha....seriously, what was I thinking? Looking back on my selfish and boastful thoughts makes me laugh at myself. Who am I to think that I had ANYTHING to do with the money that has come in? Well as if that doesn't make me feel ridiculous enough, the response I received made my mouth drop.


Now, I don't want anyone who may read this to think that I'm posting that percentage so that you feel sorry for the "poor missionary who isn't even in double digits yet." Not at all...I post it because the story gets even better! Ok, so here I am, being ridiculous and thinking that I'm getting this support on my own accord and then the next second thinking that I'm a failure because I'm not even at a mere 10% yet. Like I said on my last post...if I was at 0% right now or 99%, is God any less worthy of my praise? NOPE! He is the one in control of this whole ordeal. He is the one who has orchestrated my heart towards missions....hmmm wait, I'm gonna list all the things he has orchestrated to get me to where I am right now (I like the word orchestrated :) )

1. God created me with a heart and proactive nature towards missions
2. God blessed me with creativity in Graphic Design and Photography
3. God initially brought me to Africa in 2001 and allowed Africa to steal part of my heart
4. God opened my eyes to Africa Inland Mission
5. God brought #'s 1-4 together to get me to where I am today

All 5 of the blessings listed above are obvious works of the Lord...pieces to my life's puzzle. Each blessing incredibly unique and purposeful. So why do I doubt God's hand in that other obvious piece of the puzzle in getting to Kenya...$$? I'm still figuring out why its hard for me to trust that it will come in...but I'm working on that.

So anyways. I've been working on my heart and knowing that I need to get to the point of fully trusting the Lord with my percentage and praising him for each percent I receive. There is nothing in me that has control over my support and therefore nothing worthy of praising. It is all the Lord and he is worthy of my praise.

There is a song that has a really meaningful verse in it that applies to me right now, "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord." (Everlasting God) Sooooo, guess who is gonna work on get spiritually buff in the next few months! ;) Haha. I guess there is a timeless factor to the Lord that I need to remember. His ways are not our ways. He has the power to bring in all my support tomorrow or next year. So whether I wait a day or longer, I'm still waiting on the Lord and his perfect timing. I just hope through it I will continue to bring more glory to Him.

Well, ALL that said, this evening I checked my email and to my surprise I got another email from my facilitator. Some of my checks had not been processed and instead of being at 8%, I'm actually at 21%!!! Wow, 8%-21% just like that. Now, in light of my last post I must say....God is amazing, but even if I didn't get this email tonight, he would still be just as amazing.

I'm not gonna lie,I'm glad for that "8% email." It humbled me and taught me, and that is priceless.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God is Merciful

Indeed, God is merciful. There are so many different ways to describe our Lord. Good, wonderful, faithful, amazing.... all are easy to roll off the tongue. Lately I've been thinking about how easy I can say when things go "my way" and how difficult it is to say them when things don't go "my way." No matter which twist and turns our life takes us...God still remains: Good, wonderful, faithful, amazing...Its my attitude and outlook on life that needs an adjustment when it comes to referring to God.

Last week I got in an accident on the Beltway. The details seem unimportant at this point but to say that God spared my life is true. The force of the impact and type of accident I was involved in was one that I should not have walked away from, nor should anyone else in the other cars involved. God is indeed, merciful. That day was filled with friends, family and I thanking and praising God for keeping me safe. Like I said, it was so easy to let those words roll off my tongue. "God, thank you for keeping me safe! You are wonderful, faithful, amazing..." I started thinking later- If the outcome of that accident were not as they were, would that make God any less than he already is? No, not at all.

I started thinking a lot after that accident about my own personal view of my Savior, and I think to be honest, it was more selfish then I would like to admit. If I had not been able to walk away from that accident without sever injuries I wonder what I would have been saying to God...if anything. This is not the type of one-sided, do-for-me relationship I want with the Creator of the Universe. He deserves more from me then praising him when things go "my way." But lets face it, with God, "ALL things work together for good." (Romans 8:28) so why then, do I struggle to praise him in the tough times? Hmm, guess I'm human!

This is a part of my character that I would like to work on...being able to praise God when life hits me hard. I feel like so much joy can be squeezed out of life if you are going through it in-step with the Lord knowing that no matter what comes your way, He is the one in control. He is the one who is wonderful, faithful, amazing... NO MATTER the circumstance.

So, as I'm facing hardships with fund raising to go to Kenya, I have to remember to praise the Lord. It is no surprise to him that the economy is hard on everyone right now and it will be no surprise to him the exact date that the money will come in and the day prepared for me to set foot in Kenya. Ohhh what a great day that will be! I so look forward to it but will continue praising God in America until that day comes!

So, until then, I'm pressing forward..."chin up, champ!"

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10