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This has been an interesting week so far, and I have found myself processing a lot of things.  I guess this is a good thing becuase it means I am learning, but it also means I don’t sleep much.  So, here’s a little of what has been on my mind….

Many changes are going on in my life right now.  I am in the process of moving.  I am trying to get a new ministry kicked off.  I am at a important junction in my job.  There are people in my life who are hurting, and I’m not quite sure how to help them.  And things have moved from busy to hectic.  Right now it would be easy to throw in the towel, or at least call a time-out, but I know that I must keep going.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready for work a song came on the radio.  Now, let me preface this by saying that I DO NOT listen to country music (I know I probably just lost some cool points with some of you, but I don’t really care), but this song happened to come on the Christian radio station I was listening to (and in my mind, they played it because I needed to hear it).  The song is Anyway by Martina McBride, and I wish I could sing it for you, but the lyrics will just have to do.

You can spend your whole life buildin’
Somethin’ from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

(Chorus)
God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good
When I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world’s gone crazy and it’s hard to believe That tomorrow will be better than today                                                                                                                                                           Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love ’em anyway

You can pour your soul out singin’
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah sing it anyway

I sing
I dream
I love anyway

I struggle with this.  I mean I physically have an internal wrestling match with this every day.  There are so many things I want to pour my heart into, so many people I want to love, so many dreams I want to dream, but I don’t let myself because I am afraid of the risk involved.  I am afraid of getting hurt, because I have been hurt so many times before.  I hold back from building meaningful relationships and really loving people because they may walk away, or even worse, break my heart.  I don’t allow myself to dream and hope, because I have convinced myself that dreams my dreams can never be real.

I struggle with this, because I am working to change.  The risk of getting hurt just might be worth it.  I can’t just stop building because a storm may come and blow it away.  I have to build it anyway.  And, for me, all of this translates into–Faith.  I keep on building.  I keep on loving.  I keep on dreaming.  I keep on risking, because I have faith in the One who is ultimately in control.  I trust Him.

All of this culminated for me yesterday when I was having a conversation with someone, and he said, “You can’t climb a mountain if it is smooth.”  I know this is kind of silly, but it hit me because I want to climb the mountain, but I also want it to be smooth.  It can’t be that way.  The rocky parts give us something to hold on to.  They require us to take a firm grip and allow us to continue the journey.  And, I know sometimes it seems like the journey isn’t worth all of the work we put into it, but I believe that it is.

Believe it with me, and we will climb the mountain together.  It’s risky, but I think that’s the point.

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Yesterday, I became an official member of Health Plus Fitness Center.  I am quite excited about this, and if you know me well, you know that it’s a big deal for me to be excited about exercise.  I have tried the dieting and exercise thing many times in my life, but it was always half-heartedly.  I didn’t see results quickly enough, and so I gave up.  But, not this time.  This time I am invested.

You see, I am not getting any younger, and if I don’t start changing my life now, I won’t get any healthier either.  I have always wanted to be thin (I have always been a chunky girl), but I never really cared enough about myself to actually take the time to take care of myself.  Now I see the effects of that.

I have been thinking a lot about the things God did in my life over the past year.  In 2008, I worked on healing my mind and soul–making my insides healthy.  It was difficult and painful, but it was something I knew I had to do in order to survive and live the life God is calling me to.  Now, 2009 is the year to get my body healthy–my outsides.  It will be difficult and painful, but it is something I have to do in order to live the life God is calling me to.

I am making a life change.  I have been eating healthier for 2weeks now and have lost 10lbs.  This is huge for me, because in the past I have only been able to loose like 2-3lbs in a month.  I am invested in this, and I want to be held accountable.  I want to be healthy so that one day, when I have kids, I can run and play with them and not feel like my chest is going to explode.  I want to be able to keep up with these amazing teenagers I work with.  And, I want to feel good about myself.  This time next year I want to be training for a 5k.

I am ready to do this.  I am ready for my life to change.  It has been a long time coming.

I have always considered myself and introvert. I actually like being by myself. But, I am beginning to truly understand the difference between being by myself and being alone.  I definitely don’t like being alone, but it is how I have spent many hours of my life.  Not anymore.

Things in my life are changing…for the good.  And, I don’t quite know what to do with it.  I am not used to things going well.  I am used to tradgedy and pain, grief and struggling, questions and doubt.  But, now I have sparks of hope and happiness, love and laughter, faith and friendship.  I like it.

And, the one thing that I can see surrounding me, the biggest change in my life all boils down to people.  Four months ago, I was alone.  Now, I am surrounded by growing relationships with amazing people.  People who actually want to get to know me, who listen to me, encourage me.  People who sharpen me and make me want to be a better person.  People who believe in me and support me.  They are transforming my life.

I’m not used to this.  I’m used to toughing it out on my own, not having a community of support.  But, I like it.  I don’t want to live my life any other way.  God created us to do life with other people, not to seclude ourselves and only be with our self.  I understand this now, because I am living it.

God knew what He was doing when He created Eve.  He knew Adam would wither away if he didn’t have someone to be with.  It’s about so much more than marriage…we were meant to be in relationship.  It’s vital to the fabric of our being.  It’s what is good.  No…it’s what is best.

Thank you.

This morning on the radio I heard that an article in PC World offically declared that  the VHS is extinct.  The company that was the last distributor of VHS tapes has shipped the last of its supply to its distributors.  So, for those of you, like myself, who still own VHS tapes, the armegeddon of the VCR is near.  Prepare yourself.

But seriously, this made me start thinking.  The question that was raised by the raido host was “What do you miss?”  People called in an poured out their stories of long lost records and eight tracks, wholesome television and the Atari, but the only thing I could think about was how limited humans are.  People invent products that become the next bigthing, which at one time was the VHS, then became the DVD, and now the Blue Ray disc.  The VHS only lasted for 20 years….20 years!  A technology went through its entire life cycle in less time than I have been alive.

This thought has haunted me all morning, and I can’t help but think about God in all of this.  I am so grateful that God didn’t create this way.  His creation was perfect in the beginning, and not only perfect, but necessary.  There will never be anything man creates that can take the place of what God has created.  There will always be a need for trees, oxygen, water, humans.  These things may be destroyed by humanity’s neglegence and destructive actions, but will never become null.  Man has spent his entire life striving to create something better than before.  It is our nature.  It is one of the many ways we reflect God.  But, we strive to always make things better and created the next “big thing” which causes us to teeter on the dangerous line of being like God and trying to become God.

I went to lunch today with my cousin Ashley and her now almost 3yr old son, Micah.  It’s always good to spend time with them because it seems to take me, if only for a few moments, out of the mess that my life has become.  Today, one of Ashley’s friends and his son met us at Micah’s favorite place, Burger King, so the kids could spend some time playing together.

As I have gotten older, I have realized what a joy children are.  It is so amazing to just sit back and watch them, and it is even more amazing to watch how they interact with each other.  Yes, there are still some kids that make me want to pull my hair out, but there also some who absolutely light up my world.  Micah is one of those children.  I love being around him, and I may be a little biased, but I believe he is one of the most beautiful children in the entire world.  He has the most amazing laugh which is so contagious that I can’t help but laugh with him, and he is probably already smarter than me.  All of that to say, I love this child.

Today as I watched him run around the playground, sliding down the big, red, plastic slide, every possible way he could imagine, which made his curly blonde hair stand straight up from the static, and burying his cars under piles of wood chips, I got a little lost in the wonderfulness of this incredible little boy.  And, I began to wonder if God sees me this way, after all I am His child.

I wonder if my laughter brings so much joy to my Father that He can’t help but get caught up in it and join in.  I wonder if sometimes He just sits back and watches me in wonderment, not because He created me, but because I am His daughter.  And, just as much as He loves the good times, I wonder if His heart breaks when my heart gets broken.  Like a parent running to his child and swooping her up into his arms when she gets hurt, does God act this way toward me?  Is there something about the love of a parent that can teach us about the love of God?  Is there something about the wonder of a child that shows us how God loves us?  I believe so.

The most amazing thing is how much I adore Micah, and I am not even his mother.  In fact, Micah and I have a rather new relationship.  We are still learning about each other and growing closer.  I can’t even imagine the love Ashley has for him.  She has been there from the very, very, very beginning.  But, even more, I can’t imagine how much God, who has been there before the beginning even began, loves him, or me, or you.