Saturday, February 25, 2012


Today I went to a baby shower. It was for my friend Beth, and she writes here.

A wonderful lady named Esther gave a devotional for Beth, and it was great. But one thing she said really stuck out to me.

Esther was telling Beth not to be afraid of making mistakes - we all make mistakes. Then she said "God will still be God after your son is born. He has and always will redeem the things that we mess up."


God is in the business of redeeming the things that I mess up. And I mess up a lot. But not too much for God to handle.

Again, wow.

How can I be in my 30's, and have this hit me like a hammer between the eyes? I mean, I GREW UP hearing this, and I made it through 30 hours of Bible and Theology in college. I KNOW this.

But I guess it goes to show that to know something with your brain, and to know something with your heart are totally different things.

Thank you Esther, for speaking to right where I needed to hear it, and for ministering to me even though I was just a guest at this shindig.

Redeemed. God has and will redeem the things we mess up. What a comforting thought.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Today I was down.

I had down time, watching things I had recorded on TV this week. (Survivor, CSI, and some other fun stuff.)

I laid down for a nap.

I sat down and read a book for a little bit. I only have 3 different books going right now...

I did walk down to the front door, but only to look out at the weather, and decide how much snow we got this morning.

I put the phone down, after getting the call that school was cancelled.

I called my friend Jenn and TRIED to not be down that we are off school today. :)

I actually am a little down that Mom is still sick - she sounds terrible, and I don't like when she is sick.

What a great way to be down - I will take this kind of down anytime!

Monday, February 20, 2012

beef and cheese

Last weekend I was at the High School Winter Retreat. It was fantastic! I am SO not a high schooler anymore, but I got so much out of it, I might have a hard time articulating all of it. Shocker...

I want to start off with Chris' talk from Saturday night. Chris Simning was our speaker, and his website is here. You can read his bio if you want, but the short story (from my perspective) is that he woke up one morning when he was in 8th grade, and he couldn't hold his head up. He had a really rare musculo-skeletal disease that not many doctors knew much about. He spent 5 years getting worse, and was in a wheelchair by the time he was a Senior in High School. Eventually, God has given him some freedom,and now he can drive, walk, and do most things by himself.

But if you were to look at him, he looks like he has something like CP. he doesn't, but from a first glance, you wouldn't know that. And there's the rub. He has lived with this situation since he was in 8th grade, and as such his perspective on life is much different than most of ours.

Chris' talk on Saturday night was about what or who you put on your throne, instead of giving Jesus the rightful place there. He started off with a movie clip from Elf, where Will Farrell accuses a department store Santa of being fake - he KNOWS the real Santa, and this guy is not it. Will says he stinks. Will says he smells like beef and cheese. Will says he sits on a throne of lies.

Now this scene is funny, and still makes me laugh today. But Chris talked about how we put fake things on the throne of our life, and that should be Jesus' rightful place. This could be lots of things - activities, athletics, people, even Youth Group. but if Jesus is not on the throne, all these things are taking the rightful place that He should occupy.

God really used this to convict me that I do a good job of being "in Christ" during church, and during devotions, and on retreat, and even at Youth Group. But the rest of the time, I don't really live "in Christ".

I don't know why, but I felt convicted about the radio. About what I listen to in the radio in my car. Most all the time, I listen to the news or to talk radio. But I felt like God was calling me to be connected more closely to Him, and the radio is one way to do this.

So, for the past week, I have listened to Christian radio in the car. This is a pretty big deal, mostly because I don't like Christian radio. But I'm open.

And I will freely admit, it has made me more focused on God. It has helped me to pray more. It has helped me to talk to God more.

Not that news and politics are bad things, but this whole week I have felt the difference - I've felt more closely connected to God. So I am grateful that there is not one thing on the throne of my life that smells like beef and cheese, but that I have gotten closer to having only Jesus on that throne.

Here's to not smelling like beef and cheese.

Monday, February 13, 2012



I have SO much to say...

There is no way I can describe all the things that happened this weekend, so I think this will come in installments, like a loan or a mortgage. But better. :)

This weekend was High Altitude, which is our High School winter retreat at church.

There were 48 kids and 10 adults who went.

I am not positive, but I think the camp was at about 10,000 feet. So the name fits. My asthma was not happy, but everything else was!

Our speaker was Chris Simning, and I can't say enough about what an awesome speaker and man of God he is. More on this later.

I had about 9 hours of sleep the whole weekend, and might be getting too old to handle that very often...

Intestines were mentioned several times over the course of the weekend.

I refereed lots of games of Dodgeball, and lived to tell about it.

OK, the deal with intestines:
At family time (where just our youth group gets together and talks about the speaker and sessions), the subject came up about how God often works in weird ways. Like sometimes He will work in our lives through something we didn't even realize was happening, or those "coincidences" where someone we meet talks to us about the very thing we are struggling with.

I said that that was like intestines.

Bear with me.

God created intestines. Who would have EVER thought that making a tube-y thing super long, and then coiling it up in our abdominal cavity would be a great way to process waste. And if you stretched intestines out they would be ridiculously long, but all curled up they fit perfectly.

Who would have IMAGINED that as a great idea? But God did. Point: we cannot know what God has planned, or how He is going to work. His ways are not our ways. We can't know how He is going to bring people (or Youth Retreats) into our lives, and change us for the better.

I guess that the example didn't have to be about intestines, but we had talked about intestines on the drive up there (before the blizzard over Berthoud Pass - I didn't talk during that AT ALL.) so it seemed like a fitting analogy.

But really, have you ever thought about intestines? And how amazing they are? And I once knew someone who has Crohn's Disease, and she had some of her intestines removed and replaced with plastic. Wait, not on topic.

But really, God is amazing, and worked in the lives of our kids all weekend.

I'm grateful for this retreat. I'm grateful for our Youth Group kids and their realness. I'm grateful that we made the drive up there. I'm grateful for intestines.

More to come.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

death is everywhere

Well there's nothing like a positive outlook, is there?

Today I went to teach a piano lesson, and I found out that my piano student had passed away. This is the 76 year-old Vietnamese man who has been taking lessons for the past couple years. He was one of my best students ever. He was dedicated, he was committed, and most importantly he was excited to learn new things each and every time we had a lesson.

I really enjoyed teaching him, and every so often he would pause and tell me something very profound. Or give me a moon cake.

I want to do something to tell his family how much I enjoyed the time we spent together learning piano, and how much I will miss that now, but I'm not sure of the Vietnamese cultural protocol.

I am glad that his daughter answered the door today, because she can speak English, and I could tell her how sorry I am for her loss, and ask her to let her mother know how sorry I am for her loss as well. I could never say that, because Tuan Le's wife doesn't speak English. But I'm glad that I could at least pass the message on.

I can truly say that my life has been better for knowing Tuan Le, and I have been blessed by the time we spent together. Here's to you Tuan Le, and thanks for all the great conversations about piano, life, religion, and so many more things. Thank you for sending rice to needy people in Vietnam, even though you did not have much yourself. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of that.

We will miss you.

Friday, February 3, 2012

rock n roll

This week I found out that someone I used to know has died.

We weren't best friends, or anything like that. In fact, I would call him an acquaintance. But I did know him when I used to live across the country, and now he's dead.

And in a weird twist, he actually died 7 months ago, but a (real) friend of mine sent me that article this past week and I didn't look at the date, so I THOUGHT he had just passed away recently. This has all been very surreal.

When I found out about his death, I looked up the article in the local paper where I used to live, and then several articles popped up on local blogs about his death and how he will be missed. I read the obituary his family put in the paper and it was very touching. And sad because he has 2 kids that he left behind.

In one of the blog articles, it said "he lived the rock and roll lifestyle". I would say that was true, especially considering that I met him and knew him through a tattoo shop. He was the owner, and a fairly well-known person about a fairly small town. And he did live that kind of a life. He was heavily tattooed, and was out on the town often. So I guess it's not unbelievable that he had been out drinking with a friend, and rolled his car into a concrete embankment and was killed. But that comment about the "rock and roll lifestyle" really struck me.

And it made me sad.

There is a profound sadness in the fact that he searched for fulfillment in living that kind of life. In living hard and dying young. In rolling your car at 3am after being out drinking. And I know that people have to make their own choices.

But it makes me so sad that he never found the real source of fulfillment. It makes me sad to think that he was constantly chasing things to fill his life, and never had the opportunity to know the only One who can provide real and lasting fulfillment.

Being a musician, and person who is very connected to music, it makes me think about the "rock and roll lifestyle", and how very sad and empty that is.

It makes me pray. Pray that I have the courage to tell my friends that are searching that they really can find peace in the One who came to bring peace.

And it impresses on me that the "rock and roll lifestyle" is a life of futility, because there is no way to find Peace unless you find Redemption out of that lifestyle in the end. And it makes me sad that Mitchell never found that.