Monday, May 2, 2011

Love is Greater

I have spent the last two hours trying to find the origin of the quote from Martin Luther King Jr that is all over facebook... "I mourn the loss of thousands or precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." There are many posts that this is a misquote or has been made up. I am a firm believer in facts and as I haven't found where the quote is from I am retracting it.

I am however going to directly quote Martin Luther King Jr from Strength to Love (which I am fairly positive if the other quote exists, it will be in this book), "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says to "Love your enemies," he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition."

I have always been a lover, a pacifist, and a peacemaker. One of my 5 strengths from my Strength Finders happens to be Harmony. How appropriate. This doesn't mean it is easy to love the unloveable but Christ gave himself for the world and I pray we take that seriously. He didn't give his life for a select few, for those that go to church every Sunday or tithe 10% each week. He gave his life for everyone. If we should be celebrating a death, it should be Christ's.

My friend Brandt posted a prayer that I would encourage you to think about. I think I was caught up in the beauty of the MLK Jr quote on facebook, which is why I didn't find it's source. I however still believe that Martin Luther King Jr stood on firm ground of non-violence and love.

I also want to say I am not wanting to belittle anyones feelings because what happened on 9/11 was a horrible crime. I am also not saying my way is the right way but I must hold true to my personal beliefs and convictions. I feel Love is much greater than hate.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Perfect Moments

Perfect moments are often very brief moments but they make an impact in your day, if not your life. I have had a few moments I would call perfect. Today that moment was very simple. Today I was driving back from Riverton with two boys from work. We were on I80 about 10 miles east of Elk Mountain. It was about 7:30pm, it was raining/snowing, there was a light fog and both boys were asleep. The CD was playing Ray LaMontagne's Winter Birds. That was it... so calming and perfect. It was as if no matter what happened or had happened, all was okay.

I have had other moments that I would call perfect. One that sticks out in my mind is the first moment I held my godson Noah (I just love that little guy). There have been many moments when I have been hiking and all seems right with the world. Seeing an eagle soaring in the sky, watching waves break on the beach, and sitting around a fire with friends... and so many other wonderful, simple times that I would call perfect.

I am thankful for today's perfect moment and the peace it brought to me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My strength is my weakness?

I have a big heart. My heart is my strength and weakness. Funny how both are true. It is my strength because I can easily look past people's faults. For example most people would think of a sexual offender as the worst kind of person out there. I think of them and I think, what horrible things happened to them in their lives that they committed such a terrible act. Right there; a barrier is broken, a story is heard, and healing can happen. If I thought of their act as evil and accused them as having to pay for that burning in hell, they would not share their story with me and the cycle continues.

It is also my weakness, in that I get taken advantage of easily and struggle dealing out consequences for actions that deserve them.

Many people may ask (and have), how can you have sympathy for someone that hurts a child, for someone that abuses animals, or that has sexually offended someone? Well, there are multiple reasons. One, as a follower of Christ, I am called to love (Matthew 22:37-39). I take this seriously. Second, my life experience has broken me and if I only focused on all the bad things that happened to me as a child, I would be ineffective and depressed. Instead, I have to use these experiences and not only sympathize with the victims, but also the offenders. Three, I work with kids who have done some pretty evil things to other people, kids, and/or animals but when you read their case history, see their scars, and hear their stories you can't help but think... no wonder they did what they did. In fact, it is usually pretty mild compared to what happened to them.

I think also, I am a protector. Today, I was asked "if you could choose how you would die, how would it be?" I want to die protecting someone or standing up for someone. Defending those that can not defend themselves. I hope my life reflects my desired death. I hope everyday I live, protecting those that can't protect themselves, standing up for the underdog, and loving everyone especially those that "don't deserve it."

My favorite verse is Psalm 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

This verse pretty much summarizes me (besides being a protector I have an obsession with feathers).

Go on, and love.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Love Wins

This evening Rob Bell (author of Velvet Elvis, Sex God, and my personal favorite Drops Like Stars) did a live stream about his new book Love Wins. Luckily I was on Facebook at the right time and noticed a friend had posted a link about it. I want to reflect on the interview and the controversy that seems to have followed the book.

First, he talked a lot about Heaven, Hell, and Salvation. Most of what he said challenged me to think and a lot of his responses I agreed with. He asked the question about Heaven “How do we bring ‘there’ here?” (ie Heaven on Earth). This is one thing I wonder often, why are people so cruel, why can’t we be nice to one another and be in Heaven now? He also talked about a “human ache” for something better. We strive for a longing of change, that this (the world) isn’t it. He said this ache is part of what creates art. I think this ache also gets people to change. Great movements were started because something bad was happening. The Civil Rights Movement started because people were angry they were being treated unfairly. Water has been provided to countries that previously did not have clean water because someone got angry that people would be without such a necessity.

Second, was his response to works vs faith. He asked the question “Do you actually think this is a great story?” I believe that if you actually believe the story of Jesus that the question of works vs faith doesn’t matter because if you believe the story, you will live the story.

A few other bullets that I am not going to respond to but for you to think about…
He responded to a question about Matthew 7:13-14 and I thought explained it beautifully, putting it in layman’s terms. He basically said life is hard and we have to work at it everyday. The example he gave was marriage and that you are deeply in love with this person and yet everyday there is something that could hurt it, marriage is hard and you have to be intentional to make it successful.

Another question was about getting to heaven (the exact question, I don’t remember) and Bell said “He (Jesus) is very exclusive and yet fantastically inclusive.” How many times in the Bible are we shocked by something Jesus does? This answer touches on that.
One thing Bell did say that I don’t agree with is “God gives us what we want.” I was so distracted that he said this that I did not completely hear his explanation but I still do not believe this. There are several things I want that I don’t have. There are many things I don’t have that I think it is probably good I don’t have. Maybe his explanation would have given me more insight into why he said this because I think he, like most anyone has enough life experience to know “you don’t always get what you want.”

I love that the last question fit so perfectly with it being the end of the interview. I also love that Rob Bell challenged people to read their Bible and ask yourself what God are you serving. Are you serving a God that needs Child Protective Services called on him or are you serving a God that loves you and there is nothing you can do that would make Him love you less.

I believe the latter.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My likes and dislikes

I have been inspired by several people to make changes to my lifestyle. I am pretty happy with who I am as a person but there is always room to grow. This year I have been inspired by my mom to lose weight and exercise more, inspired by Luis to eat healthier and know what I am putting in my body, inspired by my brother Dakota to look deeper at the world around me, and inspired by Donald Miller to think about how my life can tell a great story.
I have begun exercising more, eating healthier, slowing down, and trying to tell a better story but feel I could do better. Recently Donald Miller wrote a blog about knowing your likes and dislikes and how he uses this to guide his decisions. I have decided to follow his lead and made my own list of likes and dislikes from the past year. I was honestly surprised how many more likes I had than dislikes but I think that means I am already going in the right direction and it will be easier to make changes. So, here is my list...

Things I liked about last year
1. Being with family (After Holidays trip, Dakota’s grad, Thanksgiving, September trip)
2. Being with friends (Lander!, hiking, concerts, birthday, Denver)
3. Taking the dogs on walks
4. Hiking, snowshoeing
5. Seeing wildlife (in the wild or not)
6. New friends
7. Being a Godmother!
8. Drinking good coffee
9. Training my dogs
10. Advancing in my job
11. Road trips (Lander, Missouri, Utah)
12. Having friends with babies to spoil
13. Discovering new things (Sushi, peaceful drives, music, local restaurants)
14. Making things (wreaths, dream catchers, jewelry)
15. Seeing local bands
16. Biking (mountains or the green belt)
17. Canning (pickling)
18. Fixing things/being handy (Rock River church, anything involving my drill)
19. Farmers Market!!!
20. Quitting online games (big step for me)
21. Seeing people change their life or hearing stories of changed lives
22. Helping friends
23. Having a clean house (I <3 Vacuuming!)
24. Reading
25. Going to church
26. Organizing, downsizing

Things I disliked about last year
1. Working Sundays
2. Eating at fast food
3. Not getting enough sleep
4. Being sick
5. Feeling like I have disappointed my dad
6. Hiding who I am
7. Being hung-over (eg goldschlager)
8. Holding back from fear of what others think
9. Not visiting friends that live within 50 miles more often
10. Losing friends (mostly distance)
11. Procrastinating

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Prayers needed

The degree of separation is quite a bit but (my brother) Dakota's best friend, Keenan's sister and her fiance were involved in a terrible tragedy. Kate and Jesus were recently engaged and were in Puerto Rico meeting his family. They were at a family gathering when Jesus' uncle torched the family with gasoline. Four people have died because of the injuries, including Jesus. Kate has been flown to Miami and is in a medically induced coma and does not know Jesus has died.

I can only imagine what this family is going through and what they will go through. I have never met Kate or Jesus but when I learned of Jesus' death I cried and my heart aches each time I think about it. I slept horribly last night and woke up early and I immediately logged on to facebook to see if there was anymore news. If I am this upset by this tragedy, how much pain must the family be feeling? There have been many news stories and videos. This one is telling of their love for each other and how hard it will be for Kate when she wakes up to hear the news.

So a couple things... Please pray for the families involved. Pray for Kate, that if she lives that she will find comfort after such a great loss and traumatic experience. Also, give thanks for what you have because at any moment, life can change. Pray.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Resolution

It seems a bit cliche for my first post of 2011 to be my new years resolution but I think this is important to let the world know and help hold me accountable to.

My new year resolution is to let go of my inhibitions without getting drunk.

I don't get drunk often, probably bi-yearly but when I do it always seems like I have a blast doing whatever it is I am doing and I think it is because I don't hold back. I am a shy person, I always have been. When I drink though I let that go, I am unafraid. I want to be able to do that without alcohol because the next day sucks... wouldn't it be nice if I had fun the night before and the next morning felt great?

What I need you to do... remind me the world isn't looking at me and to enjoy the moment. Remind me I don't need to drink a bottle of wine to have a blast.

Let's have fun in 2011!