Sunday, January 31, 2010

Relaxing Weekend

This weekend was a welcome relief of rest and recuperation. I have been going non-stop for 2 weeks, as I faced several deadlines at work. When you work 60-70 hour work weeks (and especially 2 in a row), you realize just how much you need sleep and rest. But thankfully I survived the craziness and was able to get some rest this weekend.

Friday night I built a fire and enjoyed snuggling with my puppy; definitely a nice end to a busy week! Lately I have been frustrated with my apartment and have even contemplated moving. I think there is something wrong with my heater, because my bedroom doesn't actually get heat, and my electricity bills have quadrupled since November. Unfortunately, my concerns over a high electricity bill do not put me at the top of the maintenance priority list, so I will have to wait to find out what is going on. And Thursday night I came home to a leaking window. I do have to say though, my fireplace is one of the best features of my apartment! I know I can get a fireplace in a different apartment, but probably not for the same rent/good location. Who knows. We'll wait out the electricity investigation and then make some decisions...

Saturday I was able to catch up on cleaning, laundry, and errands. With my crazy schedule, several things had been neglected, so it was nice to get things back in order. And I finally have food in my fridge! Haha. I was also able to have coffee with my sweet friend Sami. She is such a sweet blessing in my life, and I always enjoy our conversations. We can talk about pretty much anything, and I have never had a friend who challenged me as much as she does in my walk with the Lord. She's the friend who asks the tough questions...and I LOVE that! We are a lot alike in personality (although I would say she is much more patient and loving than I am), so it's so great to have someone who understands my struggles and weaknesses. I am so grateful God brought her into my life!

And today I enjoyed a great morning at church, then a fun lunch at Sambuca with some sweet girls in my 20s group. I have spent the afternoon reading the Word and preparing for the rest of the week. I feel so refreshed and ready for a new week! I just have to say though...can anybody tell me where the heck January went?!?!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Craziness, Confessions, and Comfort...

Sorry I have been gone for so long...and this is just a quick post to say that things are super crazy and it may be another week or two before I write a real post. I am feeling slightly overwhelmed right now, and just don't have much time to breathe. But I wanted to take a few minutes to offer a confession and some encouraging verses God has given me in recent days...because how real/transparent is it to only write about the good things? :)

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the schedule; it's better to be busy than have nothing to do, right? Everyone faces quarterly workloads and deadlines. And I knew this semester was going to be crazy because I am still finishing out old commitments while taking on new ones. God is doing good things, it's just a season where I am running at full speed. So now for my confession- haha. Yesterday I let my flesh overrule and let the stress and frustrations of the day get ahold of me :( Ever had one of those days when the frustrations just don't seem to end? When you don't get a single thing done on your to-do list, not because you were lazy, but because other people kept you in meetings all day just to give you more things to add to your to-do list? When that co-worker just can't seem to be nice to you and chooses to be rude when you just want to say hello? So when she is rude again, you act like a child and stomp away? When you get your electricity bill and realize that it skyrocketed again for the second month in a row, spend 15 minutes waiting to talk to someone at the electricity company, only to find out that you have to check the meter yourself, which just happens to be located behind prickly bushes and are completely indecipherable? And you take out your frustration on the poor service representative on the phone...when you know you are being a bad witness, but just want someone to know how upset you are? When your sandpaper people choose to be extra annoying on your already bad day? And you give them an "eat dirt and die" look instead of loving them like you are supposed to? When you call your mom to vent and complain for an hour instead of asking her how her day was? When your sweet girls are disappointed with you because you just didn't have time to have an hour conversation with each of them that week? And you can't even apologize because you are so self-focused that you feel they are asking too much of you anyway? When you have had not nice thoughts run through your head all day long and you just can't seem to stop them? When you love your dog, but realize she has eaten all of your good black socks that you need for work? When, at the end of the day, you realize that you were such a miserable representation of Christ that all you can do is cry? Ever had one of those days?

In one word, yesterday = FAIL. Instead of acting in the Spirit, I acted in the flesh. I let my frustrations dictate my actions, and I couldn't be more disappointed with myself. Needless to say, I had a lot of confessing to do last night. Sigh. I am so thankful for a God who is patient and forgiving, who picks me up when I have fallen, and who continues to encourage and love me despite how ridiculous I can be. Today is a new day, and I can choose to walk in the power of the Spirit.

"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." - Psalm 86:15

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” - Isaiah 43:1-3

"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness!" - Lamentations 3:22-23


Sunday, January 10, 2010

1920s Murder Mystery Dinner!

Last night I got to celebrate my sweet friend Lindsey's birthday. She had a 1920s-themed Murder Mystery dinner! How fun is that? We all received a character, got all dressed up, and had an evening of fun!

I was Guilda Guiseppi, wife of Jack "Greasy Thumbs" Guiseppi, who was the accountant for the father of the Chicago mob. My character was fairly simple; I just had to act innocent, and I had no secrets to hide. We were all in attendance to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Four Deuces speakeasy. With gangsters, hit men, politicians, a jazz singer and many other interesting guests, the night was full of murder and intrigue!

With Laura ("Tom Hops"- the bartender) lol

Jon and Sami (Carrie Crooner and Al Capone)

With Lindsey, Sara, Kelly
(Rebecca Ravioli, Cassandra Steal, Penny Cheatum)

Sara and James (Mr. and Mrs. Steal)

With the Birthday Girl!

Oh the drama...

The Gentlemen

The Lovely Ladies

Such a great group- we look awesome!

Happy Birthday Lindsey!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Crazy Love

Our girls' Bible study took a break from studying the book of John and decided to read Crazy Love by Francis Chan over the Christmas break. I was excited to read it because so many people have talked about it, and I had the opportunity to hear Francis Chan speak at the Fusion conference I went to in November. I just finished reading it, and I highly recommend it! It is an in-your-face, no glossing over look at what it means to be in a passionate love relationship with the God of the universe. "The fact that the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor...loves me with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love" should change everything.

This book really challenged me to take an inventory of my heart and examine how I live my life for Him. I want to truly grasp the depth of God's love; and more importantly, I want to live my life in a way that looks crazy to the world in how I love the God who loves me. 

O God, I have tasted Your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, I want to want You; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Your glory, so that I may know You indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow You up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. (A.W. Tozer from The Pursuit of God)

Jesus, I need to give myself up. I am not strong enough to love you and walk with you on my own. I can't do it, and I need you. I need you deeply and desperately. I believe you are worth it, that you are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next. I want you. And when I don't, I want to want you. Be all in me. Take all of me. Have your way with me.

So here's to a year of CRAZY LOVE...