First impressions

Sometimes first impressions are everything. I'm sure there's some fancy scientific number about what people will judge you to be when they first meet you, I'm just too lazy to look it up. People put a lot into having a great first impression through cosmetics and clothes, but does that really make that much of a difference in whether or not we end up being friends or not? I dunno... These are the things I ponder as I'm picking what I'm going to wear my first day back to school... I'm so shallow.


Well. It's been a while since I've written anything, why not make this new post wildly controversial? Today I'd like to discuss my current personal perspective on gay/lesbian marriage. I'm not usually one to broach the tricky subjects that get people riled up, but I guess I'm feeling a little feisty today. Please understand that these are my beliefs, and if you're offended by them, I would love a polite discussion with someone who can see both sides of an issue. I believe in the Bible and I have personally set that as the standard for my "morals" and what's right and wrong. I understand that this is not the case with most people. I believe that homosexuality is wrong, because the Bible says it's wrong. In 1 Timothy 1:9-11, Paul says this: "We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,  for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine  that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me." In this passage, homosexuality is grouped with many other sins and is referred to as "contrary to sound doctrine". It's a sin.  But it's not any more of a sin than any other sins. It's just as bad as gossip, hatred, stealing and lying and all of the other things listed in this passage. I know that everyone sins [Romans 3:23] and no one sin is better or worse than another. I realize that this is another controversial issue, which I may or may not address later, but for now, that's what I'm going with. Everyone is born with a sin nature, thanks very much to Adam and Eve for starting that snowball. So now let's say we have to people, average Joes. Both are born sinners. Both are sinful  by nature, right off the bat. Let's say one is homosexual and one isn't, but the one who is straight lies to his wife. That doesn't mean that one is more of a sinner than the other. They're both people who sin, both people who Jesus loves.  Sin comes in a lot of forms, some are just more socially acceptable than others. There are many arguments for and against gay marriage, and I can see both sides. The main problem with arguments against gay marriage is that those who aren't for it argue past those who are. They hold society to their own moral standard, in many cases the Bible. The sad truth of the matter is that society as a whole doesn't adhere to the Bible's standard of right and wrong, and it isn't fair to judge them based on something they don't believe in. My grandma has been divorced twice and is now living with her boyfriend. I personally wouldn't do that because I believe that sex before marriage is wrong because the Bible says so [Hebrews 13:4]. My grandma, on the other hand, doesn't believe in the Bible, so she doesn't have something that she believes in telling her it's wrong. It's still wrong, but it's hard to hold her to that standard that she hasn't accepted herself. I still love her, even though I don't agree with the things she does. As far as the issue of legislation and all that stuff, I believe it's really a matter of time before gay marriage is legal everywhere. Because of society's mindset and the sheer number of people everywhere who are for it, it's bound to happen, and I imagine it's pretty soon. Is it right? No, I don't believe so. Are we supposed to love them anyway? Yes. 
I saw a picture the other day that says, "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you" I guess my point is really that: just because a person does something you don't agree with, maybe something that God doesn't agree with, it doesn't mean they're terrible people. It means that they, just like everyone else in the world, need Jesus to free them from their sin nature. In the mean time, we're still called to love everyone. It isn't our job to judge or 'be the Holy Spirit' to anyone. Just share Jesus' love with them and hope that God will do a work in their heart.
So that's about it. That's what I think. I would love any thoughts or comments. 


When Enough is Enough

Sometimes you realize that the fight isn't worth fighting anymore - that there is no point in further dispute - so you walk away, letting your opponent feel victorious, when all the while you know that walking away was the winning blow, proving to yourself and the world that you are the bigger person, that you know which battles to pick, and you didn't pick this one. Sometimes as you walk away, your opponent chases behind you, nipping at your heals, desperately trying to engage you in further combat, but, as you remove your helmet and put down your shield, it is finished.
Sometimes I wish that life could be so poetic, that the villains always spoke as eloquently as in Shakespeare and that the heroine always knew when to give up, that battles were gentlemanly, and that the only thing you had to stand against for those you love is a dragon, and not someone else who loves them just as much.


Dear Jesus

Thanks for today.
Thanks for my mom who pulls my blankets of my bed to wake me up.
 Thanks for the opportunity to have people stay at our house.
 Thanks for rain that adds a little moisture to our dry little town.
Thanks that we have a car at all to have a dead battery in. Thanks that that's the only problem it has [knock on wood].
Thanks for emotions and feelings like anger, that we have something to be passionate and care about and people to love.
 Thanks for the house we live in, and my big bedroom, even though it has drafty windows, and that I get to share it with my sister. Just my one sister.
Thanks for my cell phone that has scratches and issues. Thanks that I have unlimited texting and that I can call and take pictures with it, even though it doesn't have internet, and 'i' or a 'droid' in it.
 Thanks for my computer that has internet issues sometimes... that it connects to the internet at all, that we have internet to connect it to.
 Thanks for school, that I have the opportunity to do homework, that I get to write math papers and pass math class.
Thank You that I miss people, because it means I loved them when they were here.
Thanks for the pile of dirty laundry sitting in my closet, cause it means I have plenty of clothes to wear. Thanks that I can wear clothes and jewelry that I think looks cute, not just for warmth and cover. Thanks for the laugh I get when I see some people who exercise their right to choose something 'cute'. Thanks for USPS shipping crates that work just as well, if not better, than real laundry baskets.Thanks that my pants size is just a little bigger than I'd like, because it means I've never gone without a meal. Thanks that my pants are getting looser, which means I've been exercising the capable body that God gave me.
Thanks for the mess all over my sister's side of our bedroom floor, I know that we have much more than we need. Thanks for the vacuum cleaner that cleaned my side of the floor, even if it is a piece of junk, it gets the job done.
Thanks for our awkward, oatmeal colored carpet that smells like dog, it's much better than bare concrete or dirt.
Thanks for our oven, which produces many cookies, pizzas, cupcakes and other tasty things, even though the handle has been broken off.
Thanks for annoying family traditions that bring us together year after year.
Thanks for friends who know when to push and keep asking what's wrong, even when I really don't want to talk about it, and who are there when I'm ready to.
Thanks for friends who buy random things we don't need, just cause they love us.
Thanks for showers, even if the hot water doesn't last as long as I'd like sometimes.
Thanks for deodorant, lotions, perfumes, body sprays, and all of the other things that people use to make themselves smell good, even if it does get a little crazy sometimes.
Thanks for pain from things I love: calluses, pealing fingers and blisters from playing guitar, burns and stains on clothes from cooking and baking, headaches from studying, stained fingers from painting, cramping necks from trying to get that perfect picture.
Thanks for simple things like crackle nail polish and Snuggees that are really inconsequential, but make people really happy.
Thanks for advertisements on websites and radio stations that make it so I can look or listen for free.
Thanks for really heavy family heirlooms.
Thanks for the constant of family, and the variable of friends.
Thanks for scented candles that always smell weird after you blow them out.
Thanks for 60 bobby pins for 98 cents.
Thanks for menus and restaurants that have way too many things to choose from, even though it stresses me out trying to choose what to eat. Thanks for the option of eating in.
Thanks for sparkles that get all over my house and torment my brothers.
Thanks for mirrors, which, unlike asking someone how we look, show us that we really do have a big zit on the end of our nose. Thanks for cover-up for those days.
Thanks that I have the option to take an hour to get ready, doing my hair, putting on make up, or I have the option to wear sweats, and chances are, no one will say anything about either. Thanks for all the other people who wear sweats and pajamas to math class, who make me feel like less of a hobo.
Thanks that we don't have arranged marriage in America.
Thanks that there really are guys out there who are 6' 8". Thanks for hope.
Thanks for the trees who had to die to make my collection of books.
Thanks for ball point pens, even though they frequently run out of ink just when you need them most.
Thanks for Vicks, even though I can feel the residue on my chest for days, it's a life saver during a cold.
Thanks for all the cows that get hooked up to awkward machines every day so that I can have the convenience of milk in a jug.
Thanks for crappy digital cameras that take awkward fuzzy pictures, but still help me remember all the good times.
Thanks for my love-hate relationship with money. I hate that it's so necessary and that people get so crazy about it, but it really makes life handy sometimes. Thanks for always providing, above and beyond what I need.
Thanks for things like fitted twin-sized sheets, which I never realized were so influential until I got an abnormal mattress and tried to put a normal sheet on it.
Thanks that I have shoes, even if they're not very cute in my size. Thanks that I don't wear high heals, cause I'd probably spend a lot more money on shoes if I did.
Thanks for not making it snow here very often.
Thanks that we use forks and knives, and not chop sticks [no offense, Asia].
Thanks for my relatively easy hair, I'll take one side being more cooperative than the other if it means I don't have textured hair [no offense, Africa].
Thanks for Mozart and Beethoven and all those other dead guys who made really good music.
Thanks that I can have three Bibles, a concordance, two commentaries, a Bible app on my Google Chrome homepage, and a prayer journal on my bed right now. Thanks that I can carry my little Bible everywhere in my purse and not have to worry about going to jail. Thanks for giving me the strength if I ever have to. Thanks for dying for me and all the people in the world, even though we're all jerks and don't deserve it. Thanks for the Fruit of the Spirit that continually elude me.
Thanks for being Love. Thanks for love and heartbreak.
Thanks for thankfulness.

Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?


If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us so

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

And oh, how He loves us
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us so

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

I am a visual person. When I write, think or talk, I use metaphors. I compare the intangible thoughts of my chaotic mind to visible, tangible things of the world. Jesus was the same way, but for a different reason. His knowledge is so beyond us and so amazing that He had to kind of dumb it down for us humans, so we could even know what the heck He was talking about. He used parables. He compared heavenly stuff to earthly stuff so we could try and wrap our minds around it. 
This song is kind of one of my favorites ever. I love the visual aspects of it. The opening line, "Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of Your wind and mercy" I am fortunate enough to have never been through an actual hurricane, or any kind of natural disaster for that matter, I don't know the true power of the storm, but I have seen news videos and pictures of the damage caused by one. God's love is so much bigger than that. He has passionate, violent, crazy intense love for us, so much that we can barely handle it. We are the little palm trees in Florida that are whipped back and forth in the wind and the rain. 
"When all of the sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful you are" When we're in the midst of the storm of His love, we forgot about all of the other things going on in the world. When  we lose our job, our parents are getting divorced, our grandma has cancer, we break up with our boyfriend, we're so helpless and feel so useless in our life that we can hardly stand to go on another day, It's right in those moments that bam! God's love hits us like, well, a hurricane, and all we can do is surrender and bend and whip around in the passion. 
Lose yourself in God's love today. Read Song of Solomon, 1 Corinthians 13, heck, read any part of the Bible. 
Oh, how He loves us. 
So, I'm a note person. I love writing notes to people, usually just short little things and a verse or something. Often times when I give them people will say it was exactly what they needed that day or something. I thought it was a sweet thing to say, but I hadn't ever really known what that meant until Saturday.  I got a short facebook message from a girl in youth group that said she was praying for me and my family and some really encouraging verses. It was exactly what I needed then. God knows what we need. God knows when we just need to hear that someone else knows about what's going on and that they care enough to pray for it. He knows when we need something tangible that says that someone loves us. He knows when we need to hear from His word, but we're too stubborn to open it up ourselves. Most of the New Testament is comprised of letters and notes to people. God has been using notes for centuries, isn't that so cool? Who needs a note from you today? Who needs to hear that you're praying for them or that you love them?
"I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy." 2 Timothy 1:3-4 - A letter from Paul to Timothy


Results take effort. To get any kind of return, you have to put something into it. If you want to have fun or do something awesome, you have to get up and do it, plan it, participate. Do hard things. Do moderately difficult things. Do easy things. Do something! I'm trying to re-learn this. I've been in a funk lately where I kind of want things to happen and I hate being home all the time, but I don't want to put forth effort, I don't want to call people, I don't want to leave the house. I'm a conflicted person. Sometimes it just takes a kick in the pants from a good friend to get you out of your funk. Do something today. Take a picture. Paint a picture. Play a game. Go to a park. Go swimming. Tell someone you love them. Do something simple. Invite someone to do it with you. Then write it on the calendar, and next week you can call that person up and say, "Hey, remember that last week when we made the world's biggest house of cards? That was awesome!" or "Remember when we made cookies and finger-painted? That was so fun!" The world needs more fun. The world needs best friends.