Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Cross

I just wrote a short little paper on The Cross and I thought I'd share. It's something I've posted about on here before, but I've added some thoughts to it.

Isaiah 53 hits me really hard every time I read it. I changed the we’s to I’s and it really put it into perspective for me. Here are a couple of the verses.
“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. I turned my back on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and I did not care. Yet it was my weaknesses he carried;
it was my sorrows that weighed him down. But he was pierced for my rebellion,
crushed for my sins.
He was beaten so I could be whole.
He was whipped so I could be healed. I, like a sheep, have strayed away.
I have left God’s paths to follow my own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.”
Christ loves me so much that He went through all of this just for me. Yes, His death was horrible and beyond anything I can even fathom. But I often forget, he endured pain his entire life. It wasn't just one day. It was an entire lifetime. I go through small trials and get down. I get sick for a few months and think my life is ending. I have had times when I thought God didn't like me because someone gave me a terrible terrible haircut and got my eyebrow skin waxed off in the same month. Or He must not like me because I have to live in a cute little house alone for an entire... summer. But, I mean, really?? God's own perfect Son went through these same things. Well He didn't have to get his eyebrows waxed every single month. But, His trials were much worse, to say the least.
Why in the world should I think that I wouldn't go through any trials if Christ, God's own son, the only perfect being to ever live, suffered more than I can imagine? Like, if I think that little bit of wax ripping off my skin is painful, how much worse would a big leather strip with sharp objects in it ripping off my back be? And that wouldn't even be for my benefit (thinner eyebrows). 
So many times, I look at things totally wrong. I know I don't understand what is going on-- what God’s plan is. He's teaching me to just trust Him. But it's so hard. It's so hard to see the big picture when I'm focusing on myself and my happiness. Then I realize--the thing that's wrong with all of my thinking is the I's. It's not about me. It's about Christ... and then me after Him. He has it all under control. He knows what He's doing in order to advance His Kingdom. I just have to trust Him. I can't worry about it simply because I can do nothing to help the situation. Bad things happen, but Christ went through much worse and He is there for me to rely on and for me to talk to about it. I know what I am striving for, and Christ will get me there in His perfect timing.
Verse 11 of that passage says, “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” What an awesome gift I have been given! I am counted righteous (that's a big deal!) because of Christ’s anguish and suffering on the Cross.
My prayer as I think about the Cross is that I wouldn’t forget this gift and how much it means to me. I am nothing of worth without the Cross. I hope that I will remember why I’m here—my life is not for me or my reputation or my enjoyment, but for Him and His glory.  I am overwhelmed by my Savior’s love for me. I almost can’t believe how much He suffered for me only because He loves me. I pray that I will be moved by His love each and every day to advance His kingdom. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

I reallllly need it....

There are wants and there are needs. And this is a definite need.

I would love to have a camera so that I could, say... have more than 3 pictures with Geoffrey! I would love to take pictures at the best internship ever when we do things like shooting guns, making Thanksgiving dinner, or going to the Titanic museum in Gatlinburg. I would love to take pictures in Haiti next week. Did I tell you that I'm going to Haiti next week? I don't remember if I told you, but I am going and I'm excited. We're staying in Port-Au-Prince and mostly helping out at an orphanage with 43 kids and playing with them during the day and doing a few crafts and games since they don't get much of that type of stuff.  We're also going to go to a tent city and play soccer with the kids and make them some beans and rice. 

I'm sure it's going to be a shocking experience as I've heard that Haiti wasn't a very luxurious place to start with, and now there has been almost nothing done to fix the earthquake damage. Maybe when I come back, I won't think that I really need the camera anymore. 

This is a picture from an awesome website, Go over there and check out all of their pictures. But this sign says, "God gives, God takes, God bless." The caption on this said, "This man is a pastor who lost his daughter in the earthquake, but as you can see, hasn't lost his faith."

We could use your prayers! We leave Sunday, August 1st and return Friday, August 6th. And I will be getting on another airplane. We aren't taking a cruise ship as I'd hoped :). The 3rd plane trip this year! It's funny how I fly more the summer after my plane scare than I do any other summer of my life. Anyways, your prayers are greatly appreciated. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The rest of the St. Thomas Trip

I'll fill in the rest of the trip! 

The view from the beach.

The shade palm tree above us.

The amazing water view from our 2nd room.

Our hotel room view.

We were in Sugar Bay, so it doesn't look like the ocean.

A local man at the resort begged me to let him do a portrait of me for $45. I kindly said, "Aww man, I wish! But I don't have enough money." He said he'd give it to me for $25. And I said, "Oh I don't even have that much." (Lying through my teeth.) He said he'd do it for $20 because he really wanted to attract attention. I said, "Okay, well I'm going to shop around and come back." But I was planning on shopping around and forgetting to come back. He came over to me and said he was ready. Plan failed. So I sat there for 20 minutes, paid him $20, and this is what I got. People kept coming by and saying, "Oh my gosh, that looks just like you!" and "WOW!!! That's insane!" I was expecting something really good. Is this was I really look like??? To be honest, I was a little bit offended when I saw it. A little superficial, I know, but I look really fat and angry here.

Anyways, these are all from my camera phone because my camera no longer works. I really need to get one! I have more pictures but I have to send them from my phone to snapfish and then wait for them to get there and then save them to my computer and upload them here. It takes a while, so I'll share more later. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Six Flags Over Georgia, Literally

I am getting a little bit ahead of myself here, but I'll just start out with my favorite quote from yesterday. First let me tell you that I always wondered why they called it Six Flags Over Georgia instead of Six Flags In Georgia. I now have a new understanding of the term.

On the flight from St. Thomas last night, right as we got into Georgia close to the airport, right after the stewardess had fallen to the ground because of the rough ride, she told us, "People pay big bucks at Six Flags to feel like this!" She said it like it was no big deal. She just fell with her coffee tray in her hand! And she didn't get up. She laid there for a while, right next to us in the aisle as we awkwardly tried to figure out--laugh, help her, or ignore it?

At any rate, her statement was true. At Six Flags it's fun to drop in the air and have some bumps and be a little nervous. But we weren't at Six Flags; we were in the air, and therefore I personally did not enjoy that feeling for the duration of the flight.

Cros and I had such a fun time in St. Thomas. Beautiful weather. Awesome food. Gorgeous resort. Amazing beaches.

Our flight to St. Thomas was great, although the hours on a flight just don't go by quickly for me ever since my scary plane incident. The entire 3-4 hours I was listening to make sure I didn't hear any blowing up noise coming from the place that I assumed was the engine area, watching the wings to make sure no parts flew off, noticing the flight attendant's every move and facial expression as she talked to the pilot on the little phone. It wasn't fun. But we made it there fairly easily. Not much turbulence, a few minutes early, just great. We arrived promptly at 2:00 pm, to the resort by 3:00.

The first full day at the resort, I was so excited to get outside to lay out on the beautiful beach! The water was crystal clear blues and greens, coral reefs right off the shore, and just gorgeous. So Cros and I woke up early, put our suits on, covered ourselves with sunscreen to let it soak in longer, then dressed in our coverups, and ate breakfast, then we headed straight to the beach by about 10:30. We immediately took off our cover ups and got our chairs all situated to lay out for a while.

We laid out for a while, I started reading. Then I got a really hot and remembered that this bathing suit has different tan lines than my normal one so I better put on extra sunscreen on the blindingly white areas. As I started to put on the lotion, I noticed that I didn't see any blindingly white areas, and my bathing suit looks like... MY UNDERWEAR! Oh wait, it IS my underwear!!! No way! 

I froze and panickingly told Cros, "Oh my gosh Crosby!!! My underwear!"

She couldn't stop laughing. Thankfully, they were nothing too revealing except that they were very old and slightly see through from one fifty too many washes. (The only reason I had them on was because I had run out and didn't have time to wash clothes before I left... I most definitely do not wear them on a regular basis.) Anyways, I was humiliated that that many people could see my ratty underwear. It was like one of those dreams where you suddenly find yourself naked and in public. Does anyone else have those dreams, or is that just me? (Because it is actually a practical fear for me to have with my absent-minded tendencies.)

After we (I could tell Crosby was embarrassed too) got over the humiliation of accidently wearing only underwear in public, then we couldn't stop laughing. Who forgets to put their bottoms on? I am so completely out of it so much of the time. I put my cover up back on and hiked the 131 stairs back to the room to change. I then reapplied the sunscreen on the blindingly white areas and laid out again.

About 5 minutes later, an iguana came up to my chair and people all gathered around me and took pictures of it. All I could think was that that was some good luck I had! Can you imagine discovering you're in your underwear when people are all around taking pictures of the iguana under your chair?  Good thing I can only imagine that. There's always something to be thankful for!

That's just the very beginning and the very end of the trip! I'm going to put up pictures and fill in the rest later!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It was a success!

The wedding was a success! It was magical! Eleanor was glowing and Cale couldn't stop grinning all night. I smiled just looking at them. 

I was so incredibly worn out by Sunday! We had a full day Friday, then a full day Saturday and then the wedding and reception until midnight. 

Pretty much everyone who I've ever known was at the wedding. It was huge. Plus, El and I had a lot of the same friends since we are so close in age and have lived in the same city for quite a while. I had the privilege to see Tuck at the wedding. He is my cousin's cousin's boyfriend, and he was awesome. I told him I would mention him in my blog since he reads it. It pretty much made my entire night when he told me that he actually reads what I have to say. 

Geo came to the wedding too. It was his first time to meet my entire family, and I can imagine that it was really overwhelming. I wasn't really thinking about how crazy that weekend would be for him to come, but he did so well and everyone loved him. He got left alone a few times because I was doing stuff with the wedding party. But, he got some good quality time in with my parents. As in like 5 whole hours. Sorry Geo! 

Right before we were about to leave to go to the wedding, Eleanor (the bride) decided she didn't want her hair to the side like she had it. So I walked in the bathroom and they were all standing around looking at the hair situation. No one wanted to be the one to fix it because they were worried they'd mess it up. So she asked me to just move her hair over to the middle. For some reason, things like that don't scare me. But it definitely didn't work. There was way too much hair spray and bobby pins in there for the hair to even move. I ended up moving bobby pins around and pinning certain things down and a whole bunch of stuff and it worked! 

She felt a lot better about it being in the middle and it looked really good. I really didn't do all the hard part, but I'll take the credit for her hair. 

She looked beautiful and we had so much fun!

I'm expecting some pictures to show up on Michele's blog from the wedding! Check it out if you have time. She's a really good photographer. 

Bamber did their photography and they were so incredibly nice and fun to work with! I really enjoyed having both of them around. Sometimes, in our past experiences, wedding photographers have been grumpy. But these guys were so sweet and helpful with everything!

Anyways, I'm going to St. Thomas tomorrow with my cousin Cros for her 21st birthday. I'm really excited! We're going to be safe and make really good, wise decisions. I've had a run down on all the rules. I think we might tell people that our parents are in the room sleeping. We are chickens.

I'm nervous to fly and so is she. I would really like some valium after my last experience, but I never called the doc AND I forgot my ambien too! I would totally be a drug addict if I didn't know better. Honestly, I love drugs. I love pain killers and being put to sleep and sleeping pills and relaxing medicine. If I did drugs, I would do pills. 

I really have to watch myself when I take things. It could potentially be a problem. Do other people like meds as much as me? 

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Wedding Weekend

I'm home for my cousin's wedding! She's the one who's my age. Weird!

Congrats to the future Mr. and Mrs. Hildebrand!

There they are, so cute!

I have the bridesmaid luncheon today, then a spa day, the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, then we will hang out with Eleanor all day tomorrow, wedding, then the reception! It will be busy but so fun!

Geoffrey is coming for the rehearsal dinner tonight through the weekend.

Hope to update again soon!