Sunday, July 27, 2008

You're blessed when...

I accidentally left my Bible in Grants Pass so I've been reading The Message during my quiet times. It's refreshing to read the gospels in such modern language. It is easier for me to read several chapters at a time and pick up where I left off. I appreciate the storytelling gift of Eugene Peterson.
Matthew 5 --
3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
When I can't do anything more, God can.
4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
I imagine snuggling up for a giant hug.
5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.
I'm okay being Elizabeth. Nothing more.
6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
A sincere longing for the fulfillment of Jesus Christ.
7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.
8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
It can be very hard to see God in the world, outside of the work God is doing within me.
9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.
Speaking Truth speaks volumes.
10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.
Kingdom-work is not in vain.
11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pretty Women

These pictures make me smile. :)

I love being daughter and sister to these two.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


It was one of those messages that you hope you'll never receive.
The kind that immediately accelerate your heart rate and cause you to sweat.
The kind where you go numb, process the information on the other end of the line, and try to "be strong."

I read the text messages then saw I had missed 5 calls from my brother.
"Call me asap."
"Pray for dad."

I was at the Eugene Emerald's baseball game and didn't hear my phone ring. I climbed up to the top of the stands where it was a bit quieter and called my brother.

I was anxious and fearful as he calmly, collectedly, and maturely relayed the information that my dad was feeling ill, showed signs of a heart attack, and was probably going to the hospital... in St. Louis, Missouri.

Seated behind home plate at the Em's stadium, my friends and I immediately bowed our heads to pray.

I returned home, plugged in my Christmas lights, set my iTunes to Jill Phillips, and curled up in my Mary Chair. It was like clockwork, as though I knew exactly what I needed at that exact moment. That is when the tears started to flow.

I imagined my dad on a hospital gurney, connected to oxygen. I imagined my mom sitting beside him, holding his hand. I imagined my brother sitting by the phone in New York. I imagined my sister trying to figure out how to navigate unfamiliar territory to get to the hospital at 11:30pm. I imagined the conversation I had with my dad just 5 hours prior, as he was helping Chrislyn pick out bedsheets in Target. I imagined a lot of terrible things.

An hour and a half later, I got a relieved phone call that the EKG came back normal and my dad was feeling better. We still don't know what happened. From New York to Oregon, people were praying. I believe God heals.

It's just never been so close to home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Letter to Myself

Have you ever written a letter to yourself, tucked it away, and then read it later? It is a humbling, challenging exercise.

As I prepare for RA Training, I am delving deep into the abyss of RA notes, training schedules, and manuals from when I was a student. Today, I came across my Walkabout Journal and a letter I wrote to myself 3 years ago. I am moved by the words I wrote to myself in August 2005. Even though it was written for my upcoming adventure as the AAC my senior year, it is still applicable today:

Oh Elizabeth. :)
You have come a long way since you came to GFU as a freshman. You've experienced doubts, tragedy, hardship, heartache... and also joy, laughter, fellowship, community and love. Don't lose sight of the things God has done in your life. Each experience has shaped you into who you are today. Recall the ways God has shown His faithfulness to you and smile as you think of how perfect His timing is.

This year is different than last. Your staff, AACs, and residents have all come together for completely different reasons. Try not to compare this year with last, but be intentional about connecting with those who made last year so special for you.

You are approaching graduation which means some big decisions need to be made. Spend time praying for direction and peace.

If you are in a relationship (and even if you are not), continue to make God your first priority and trust He has incredible plans for your future.
The RAs come back to campus in 3 weeks! I am finalizing speakers for each session and trying to make sense of a system that I've never been through as "the boss" without having a boss to guide me through it. Yikes.

I'm excited, though!

Instead of a 24 hour solo, we'll spend an afternoon in silence.
Instead of backpacking 6 days, we're camping for 4.
Instead of summiting a mountain, we'll go for a day hike.

Maybe someday I'll implement the full-blown Walkabout experience. For now, though, it's just me and 7 RAs and it's all I can do!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Weekend in GP

My parents and sister are well on their way to St. Louis, Missouri. They are spending 32+ hours together in a very full car. Chrislyn is venturing off to spend 2 years teaching 6th grade Science at an inner-city school with Teach for America. I am so proud of her - her adventurous spirit, heart to see students succeed, and desire to follow God's promptings even when she is stretched to the max. (She's blogging about her adventures: )

I drove down to Grants Pass last weekend to bid her farewell. The 4 of us (wish you could've joined us, Parker) enjoyed a glass of white wine with dinner on the back deck. It was a peaceful weekend, despite everyone's attempts to squeeze all their necessities into the car. (Grandma cars do come in handy when moving large amounts of things; spacious trunks are imperative!) I sat around daydreaming and petting the dog.

There are definitely parts about Grants Pass that I miss very much. Going to my parents' house (no longer "home") feels like a retreat. Their 3 acres in the country has never felt so peaceful or comfortable. The Rogue River was cold, yet inviting as Chrislyn and I spent a couple hours floating down with tahitis. We decided not to get out (100% intentional) where we left the car in order to enjoy the water a while longer. A nice man and his young son agreed to take her to the previous stop to retrieve our car while I stayed with the boats.

I had hoped for some deep, thought-provoking sister-conversations. Instead, we simply enjoyed the sun and each other's company, merrily, merrily, merrily merrily floating downriver. It was exactly what I needed.

At a wedding reception later that day, I saw several of my parent's friends whom I have not seen in years. It was so fun to catch up as adults. Each series of comments/questions was exactly the same: "You're all grown up! What are you doing in Eugene? How was Cambodia?" This repetetive set was always followed with "Sooooo... anybody special in your life?" It's as if they had somehow known about my new, exciting news, and for the first time since leaving home 6 years ago, I got to answer "Yes!"

My drive back up to Eugene was quiet and uneventful, except for my routine stop for ice cream in Rice Hill. I climbed back into the car, cone in hand, and continued on my journey. With 50 miles to go, ice cream dripped all over my lap, hands, seat belt, and steering wheel. I felt like a 2 year old and when I met up with a friend for dinner that evening, she kindly advised me to wipe ice cream remnants off the corner of my mouth.

Needless to say, it was a beautiful couple of days.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I want to be warm

It's one thing to be cold outside. It's another to be cold INside - especially when it's mid-July.

My nose is dripping, and it's not because I'm sick or allergic. Rather, the AC is much too effective and it is c-c-cold in my office. My fingers are freezing and my handwriting is illegible since I can barely grasp a pen. My fingers have shrunk and my ring rattles around as I type.

It's so sunny outside and I want to be warm. It's summer, after all! Ugh.

I think I should start keeping a parka on the coat rack.

Or maybe treat myself to some hot coffee. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

the fortune cookie

You meet some important, key people whose opinion really matters.
You are invited to join these people for lunch, 10 of whom you just met.
The meal of Chinese food is about over, and you are asked to select a fortune cookie from the tray in front of you. Everyone watches as you select one and then, even before you crack it open, they insist you read it aloud to the group.

You open it.
You read it.
The person sitting beside you is the reason you're at lunch with all these people; he knows them all and wanted you to join him.
Your eyes get big.
You show him the fortune.
He chuckles nervously and gives you a look.

The fortune must be read aloud; your table companions are curiously awaiting.

In a very matter-of-fact voice, you read the following:

The table oohs and ahhs while you giggle nervously and shyly glance at your friend, who is turning a little bit red.

As everyone was leaving, you slipped the fortune in your pocket.

You know, just in case.