Friday, January 27, 2012

Faith and Patience

Praying sometimes feels like a one way conversation. I know God is there and listening, but I find it hard to hear Him speak back to me. It is entirely possible that I am too busy talking to take time to listen. It's also feasible that I run my mouth and then move onto the next thing completely missing what He has to say. Sometimes I wish God had Facebook, text messaging or gchat. I rarely miss a message there. But, at the same time, what does that say about me? I pay close attention to technology that often fails me and breeze by the Man who created me and loves me more than any of the people I technologically communicate with ever could.

This past month has been different, however. I hesitate to say I have been a better listener. I don't think I have been, but I have not been able to deny God's voice everyday so far. What does He say, you ask? It's a faint but audible whisper. "Faith and patience". I feel God whispering in my ear especially when the situations of the last month have seemed off-kilter or downright impossible. Everyday, I tell God that I don't understand. And, He constantly responds with the words "Faith and patience".

God, being the Man that He is, also knows that sometimes I need re-enforcements. So, what does He do? Put me in situations where I have to exercise faith and patience - situations where He can knock me on head with the message He wants to get through to me. Of course, I think this is rather comical because I feel like I practiced more than my share of patience during my recovery from surgery, but God obviously thinks I could benefit from more practice.

A couple of obvious examples come to mind. Lately, I haven't been able to sleep very well. I think a lot of it has to do with what is going on at work, so I wake up and daydream at night. (Is that really possible?) And, I just let my mind go. Over the last month, I have dreamed some seemingly impossible dreams. Dreams that I know only God can make come true. Even when my family and friends might dismiss my wild imagination,  God whispers those three pivotal words: faith and patience. With God all things are possible, so here's to those "radical dreams" coming true.

I haven't taken the opportunity to tell all of you that I am doing pretty well with my recovery. My canes are back as my main mode of transportation from here to there with the wheelchair trailing behind "just in case". For this, I am so thankful. (I leave for Thailand in 2.5 weeks so my mobility is particularly important) While I am able to hold my body up and put one foot in front of the other with little difficulty, my strength has still not returned 100%. This has become evident when I am working out with my trainer. Jon will ask me to do something that I have repeatedly done successfully before my surgery and I struggle at even the thought of attempting the exercise. After 45 minutes of exercise, I am panting, sweat drips down my face, and I am on verge of tears thanks to the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion of the workout. It's not attractive and has been a source of discouragement and loss of self-confidence. I get frustrated when I walk slower than a turtle without my canes from one side of the room to the other. Four months ago, I could have walked a whole block in Old Town in the amount of time it took me to get from point A to point B in the gym. There are times during the workout when I just want to collapse on the floor in a pool of tears and give up. But, I hear "faith and patience" and keep going despite the fact that a frustrated expression feels plastered on my face. Today was the first day I have made real noticeable progress, so God's three words to me are clearly at work.

I am confident that God is going to put me in more of these situations. A 24 hour flight to Thailand is an exercise in faith and patience if I've seen one! My hope is that I will continue to pay attention to that whisper. I've asked for an audible message for years, I've got one, and I better pay attention! And, while I had wished it would come in the form of email, Facebook, or gchat (silly, I know), God's voice in my ear is far better. I can hear it anywhere. I don't have to be connected to technology to receive the message.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reflecting on 2011

I wasn't going to write another post on 2011, but I like to have these things documented. I was reading my friend, Alison's blog, and stole these questions from her.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Learned to ski!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any last year. This year I made some and hope to keep them.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my friend, Annie had a baby girl, Addie, who is adorable! My friend, Kerry, gave birth to twins: Jacob and Eleanor. Those two are in heaven protecting their mommy and daddy and giving them strength.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Praise God, no.
5. What countries did you visit? What states did you visit?
I didn't go to any foreign countries in 2011.  I did travel to a lot of states, though. MA, VT, MN, SC, TX
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A long-term committed relationship. Here's to 2012 for that!

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 15: My 29th birthday party
October 14: The day I had my surgery

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Learning to ski. I never thought I'd be able to do it.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being content with my current situation and always wishing for things I want, but don't have
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, I was pretty sick this past year. I was also really stressed and proved the theory that stress really does make you sick.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets to visit my friends. I love traveling!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
This is a weird question. But I will say, I got to spend a LOT of time with Brad and Joseph this past year! That is cause for celebration!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
All I will say is that the answer to this question is not one of my friends.

14. Where did most of your money go?
My mortgage and trips to visit my friends.

15. What did you get really excited about?
Booking my family's upcoming trip to Thailand!!
16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
My dad has these two motown mixes. We must have listened to at least one song from the cds everyday on the way to work. My dad taught me to love motown when I was little and it has totally stuck with me. We will probably listen to them everyday in 2012 too. That seems a little excessive, I know....just sayin'
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder?I am more hopeful. I am happy about some things. Sad about how 2011 was, but I feel like 2012 is going to be a very happy year for me.
– thinner or fatter? I haven't been on a scale in quite some time. I feel fatter, but my "skinny" clothes fit, so that can't be right. I start back at the gym on Wednesday. WOOHOO.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had spent more time with God and enjoyed it rather than thinking of it as something I should do.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being impatient about God's plan for my life
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve, we went to the Maxwell's for their traditional dinner. I look forward to it every year. Before going there, we went to church. On Christmas, we opened our gifts and then went to Annapolis, MD to be with Kim, Roy, and family. It was sweet as well.
21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I wish.
22. What was your favorite TV program? 
Glee, The Bachelorette, Selling NY and Selling LA, House Hunters -- Wow, that's some quality programming, don't ya think?
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
My feelings remained the same or I grew to love a few people deeper. But hate, no way.
24. What was the best book you read? 
"A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a little girl named Penny" by Amy Julia Becker.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I wouldn't call them the greatest, but I did discover Thompson Square this year and really like them.
26. What did you want and get?
A Tim Hightower jersey
27. What did you want and not get?
An autographed photo of Art Monk
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Help. You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My friend, Laura, threw me a wonderful 29th birthday party!
30. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?
Patiently waiting on God's plan.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
I discovered a few more boutiques and love shopping there instead of traditional/more common store.
32. What kept you sane?
Celebrating the successes and exciting events in my friends' lives. This also made me a little crazy because I felt behind, but I really enjoyed planning things that would make them so happy.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Kate Middleton. She is so classy and her wedding was beautiful. I read a lot about what it means to be a princess and I am not sure I would want to be her.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The Occupy Movement. I just don't get it.
35. Who did you miss?
My grandma.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
One of my colleagues, Kim. She is so good to me and makes work more fun.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
God will provide beyond what we think possible. (Stolen from Alison)
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Here at your feet I lay my future down
All of my dreams I give to you now
And I find peace, I find peace

Jesus, Jesus, at your feet
Oh, to dwell and never leave
Jesus, Jesus, at your feet
There is nowhere else for me
--From "At Your Feet" by Casting Crowns

(Again, stolen from Alison)

Saturday, January 7, 2012


We're now one week into 2012 and I've been doing some serious thinking about my hopes and dreams - commitments and resolutions - for this new year.  Last week , I posted about those and hope to stay committed to them. But, this week, as I mourned the end of the Christmas season and helped pack away all of the decorations, I felt convicted. One of the most exciting parts of Christmas for me is checking the mail everyday. I love to flip through what fell through the mail slot and find what I think are the Christmas cards! I anxiously rip open the envelopes secretly hoping for a beautiful photo card or one of those long letters that details what seems like every hour of a family's last 365 days. After admiring the photos or the card that housed the annual Christmas letter, the card is placed on the window for all to see. As we get closer and closer to Jesus' birthday, the windows are packed with smiles and cheer that I admire every time I walk into the room.

So, why is it that most people put forth so much effort to send cards during the Christmas season and every other time of the year it is perfectly acceptable to just send some sort of electronic greeting? Now, I must say, I am a bit of a hypocrite in writing this post. I loved receiving all of the cards, but this year I did not personally send any. My family sent cards to people we don't regularly see, but I sat on my butt for over 8 weeks and did not take the time to compose a single Christmas card to any of my friends. Lazy, I know! However, as I was recovering, a few people took the time to send me get well cards. One of my friends sent me a card once a week. I looked forward to this cheer. It made a difference in my day. Don't get me wrong, the electronic greetings were nice too (Thank you!). There's just something about seeing a person's face or their handwriting that seems to make that greeting extra special.

Given these two recent experiences (Christmas and recovery), I am going to be more unplugged this year. I have a love-hate relationship with technology, but still have no intention of abandoning it. But it' s time for me to not use it as a crutch. You know what I am talking about. The thought that passes through your mind, 'Well, I wished her "Happy Birthday" on Facebook that should be enough". Well, this year when it comes to my family and friends, using technology to express such sentiments is personally not enough! I remember the feeling I got when I received a card in the mail.   It's time for me to pay that feeling forward to the people who mean the most to me.

So, friends, check your mailboxes this year! Of course, it'll be full of junk and bills, but every once and awhile, you will get a little surprise from me! If I keep up with my commitment to be more unplugged, I should also be able to wipe number four off of my list!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

12 in '12

I'm very good at making lists and then putting them to the side and never looking at them again. I make a list for the sake of making a list, not because I will actually refer to the list later to see if everything on it has been accomplished. So, here we are, the first day of a new year and what am I doing -- making a list! Six things I am looking forward to in 2012; six things I resolve to do in 2012. The hope is that I can't lose this electronic list and more importantly, my blog fans (Do I have any?) will help keep me accountable.

Looking forward to...
1. Being 30! I am so hopeful for my 30th year and this new decade in my life!

2. Thailand. My family and I are vacationing there in February. We have never been to Asia. Despite the 23 hour flight, I am psyched to explore this part of the world.

3. Being with my teammate for life. That's what I call my future husband. Even-numbered years have always been great years for me, so I expect to be in a long-term relationship by the end of the year.

4. Advancing my career. I am not exactly sure what this will look like, but it's time for me to look out for myself professionally.

5. Moving back into my condo. As soon as I am fully recovered from my surgery, back to Old Town I will go!

6. Making improvements in my condo. My tenant did some damage. Instead of being upset, I am looking at it as an opportunity to freshen things up and make it my place again. 

I resolve to...
1. Find a church home. I'm been "church shopping" for a little while now and this year I want to find a place that I can call my church home.

2. Have more consistent quiet times: I love to talk to God, but reading and studying the Bible often gets pushed aside for other less important activities.

3. Do more cardio at the gym. At least 2 times per week

4. Lay the groundwork for my foundation. In 2011, I got some good leads but got really overwhelmed by all that is involved in starting a foundation. In 2012, I resolve to take it one step at a time.
5. Be more organized. I hate clutter. I feel like my room at my parents' house and part of my condo is a disaster thanks to clutter. No more.

6. Be more comfortable being alone. I love having my own place, but I am terrible at making time for being by myself. Alone time is just as important as being in community. I can't shy away from it.
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