Tuesday, December 27, 2016

stuck on Christmas

"a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices"

   It's December 27th, but I am still stuck on these words from "O Holy Night." My goal for this season was to really focus on the gift that God gave me, the reason for that thrill of hope. The more I focus on it, the more overwhelmed I am by it. The more I am overwhelmed by it, the more my weary soul rejoices. 
   Now, I know, I know, I know, that most of you have heard everything there is to hear and know everything there is to know about the Christmas story. When I was four I corrected my grandma's pastor because he got the timeline wrong, so believe me, I feel you. And I don't have anything new or different to say about Christmas. In fact, I'm just gonna repeat a lot of what you've probably heard before. (Now is a good time to casually slip out the back if redundancy really irks you.) I feel very strongly, though, that some of us need to take a moment to listen to what we already we know. We need to take a moment, a pause, a timeout, to focus in on what we already know. 
   I mean, think about it. The king of the universe - the literal king of the literal universe - left Heaven to become a baby - a literal human baby. The one true God, the God who knows no bounds and who created and maintains everything - literally everything - took leave of His throne and the incessant worship given Him there. The king of the universe - the literal king of the literal universe - humbled Himself and came down to our level. He came to our puny little Earth, and He took on puny little human flesh. He dwelt among us. He grew up with parents and siblings, he experienced hunger and temptation and sadness, and he put up with our ignorance.
   The king of the universe - the literal king of the literal universe - walked around for 33 years and never once threw a fit when He wasn't given the respect He deserved. He didn't demand a throne. He never forced anyone to serve Him or to worship Him. He healed people, taught people, and was in relationship with people. Everything He did was for our benefit. Everything He did was out of His crazy, ridiculous love for us.
   Out of the His love for us, the king of the universe - I'm sorry, but we are literally talking about the literal King of the literal universe here - allowed Himself to be scorned, rejected, and mocked. He was beaten and bruised and torn. He died - He literally died. Not in a nice way, either. He was nailed to a cross designed for torture, and He hung there until He suffocated.
   He didn't have to. He could've changed His mind at any moment. He could have chosen to transport Himself back to Heaven. He could have chosen to have a legion of angels come fight an epic battle with the Romans. He could have done whatever He wanted.
   But He wanted us. He chose us. At the beginning of time, He chose us. 2,000 years ago, at that first Christmas, He chose us. Over and over and over again, He chose us and is choosing us, and for the rest of eternity He will choose us.
   He chose me. And that's why I'm kind of stuck on Christmas. That is why I feel this thrill of hope. That is why my weary soul rejoices.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


   I made it. I survived the first leg(s) of my trip, and I am with my family in Missouri for Christmas and the foreseeable future. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings I need to work through, but I'm not sure I'm ready for all that just yet. It's coming, I promise, but until then, here are some lovely lists to hold you over and further enlighten you about my time at Naomi House.

names and titles I responded to at Naomi House:
  • Charlotte
  • Sarah
  • Genevieve
  • Mom
  • Matilda
  • Mckenzie
  • the intern
  • Multiplication
  • Hey, what's your name again? 
  • Ma
  • Michaela
  • (also various grunts, yells, and sobs)
shows and movies I watched a lot of at Naomi House:
  • PJ Masks
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
  • Leap Frog 
  • The Lion Guard
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • Teen Titans Go (recommend)
  • Friends (on my own time)
games I played a lot at Naomi House:
  • Knockout
  • Jelly (the kids had to teach me)
  • Foursquare (I had to teach the kids)
  • Mock Everything Ivan Says and Does
  • Push Summer On the Swing Until My Arms Fall Off
  • Try To Decipher What In the Heck Ferrah Is Saying
  • Monkey In the Middle
actual things I said at Naomi House:
  • Stop eating your brother.
  • Put the chair down. This is not the WWE.
  • I live at Naomi House. I don't actually have a life.
  • You're an unrealistic whale.
  • Yes, you are very cute, but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want.
  • I miss corn.
  • I broke your shower this morning.
  • It's okay to say it if zombies are chasing you.
  • Holy cannoli
  • Please stop saying "booty."
  • Be chill. (approximately 29 times a day)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

let's go on an adventure

   I hear a lot of people complaining that their life is boring, or that they're so tired of doing the same things over and over, or that they need someone to spice up their life. More recently, they've been telling me they wish their life was as exciting as mine, or they wish they could go on an adventure like mine.
   I want to encourage these people. There many parts of our live we cannot control, but this is one that we can. They say "life is what you make it," and this is one way it's true. If we choose to have an adventurous life, we will. If we refuse to live in monotony, we won't. If we insist upon learning and growing and laughing pushing the limits, that's what we're gonna do.
   You don't have to drive across the country to make your life an adventure. You don't have to have lots of money to make your life an adventure. You don't have to quit your job or stop going to school or abandon all your responsibilities. Making one's life an adventure does require a bit of spontaneity and a dash of courage, but it is so, so doable. It doesn't even require any huge or drastic actions. Small choices, small actions lead to small adventures, and a series of small adventures will turn your week - month - year - life into one big adventure.
   Anyway. If you want to make your life more of an adventure but are not sure how to start, read the following list. It has at least a month's worth of small adventures.

  1. Try a new food
  2. Watch the sunset
  3. Mail a hand-written letter
  4. Do something different with your hair 
  5. Pick a road and drive down it as far as you can
  6. Visit someone in the nursing home
  7. Go on a picnic
  8. Stargaze
  9. Make prints of the photos on your phone
  10. Play at the park 
  11. Wave at people
  12. Bake cookies or brownies or cake or something 
  13. Throw a party
  14. Walk or bike instead of drive
  15. Bring food to someone at work or school
  16. Learn - and use - a new word 
  17. Celebrate a holiday you've never celebrated or maybe never heard of before
  18. Make a new friend - or at least a new acquaintance 
  19. Share your testimony
  20. Play hide and seek in Walmart
  21. Listen to classical music for a week
  22. Invite someone over for dinner
  23. Pay for the person behind you at Taco Bell (or wherever you spend your money I guess)
  24. Give lots of compliments 
  25. Blow bubbles
  26. Wear fuzzy socks in public 
  27. Sing and dance whenever and wherever a good song comes on the radio
  28. Go for a run - as long as you can
  29. Read a novel
  30. Watch "try not laugh" videos on YouTube 
  31. Call someone - just to talk
  32. Play in the snow
  33. Listen to the Holy Spirit
   That last one will get you every time, y'all. Good luck and have fun! Let me know all about your adventures on Facebook or in the comments.