Wednesday, November 27, 2013

...But Encouraging One Another...

I love the body of Christ. Whenever I am in need of anything, God touches my life, provides for me, and/or protects me... (most of the time) using His servants. And, ALL things are His servants.

By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
(Psalm 119:91 ESV)

In this season, I am back in school for my Bachelor's Degree. I am also a daughter, sister, wife, mother, step-mother, sister-in-Christ, friend, etc. When I look at scripture regarding "fellowship" I am reminded:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24, 25 ESV)

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12 ESV)

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46, 47 ESV)

I love fellowshipping! I love having similar talents and interests as others in the body. My friend (and sister-in-Christ) called me Saturday evening and asked if I would be interested in an acting gig. It has been years but I guess it's one of those things that never goes away. I don't know if I'll ever outgrow it.

I have to be honest, getting up at 5:00 a.m. was an obstacle. And, I was kind of hoping she would text or call me to say she had a change of plans and was not going to be able to go. But, that did not happen. It was an hour and a half drive and though we passed the place many times (driving up and down the street), we were finally able to find it. By this point, we had also come up with a plan of action if we felt uncomfortable being there and needed to leave.

My point here is, God is truly awesome! He orchestrates my life as I need encouragement. Whether friends move or relationships change, God always has my heart covered. He challenges me, grows me, blesses me abundantly, provides for me, protects me from wickedness, teaches me, disciplines me, loves me, nurtures me, is not only my Savior but also my Lord.

I "feel young again" (as my friend so accurately put it). And, I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to just play for a day (no pun intended), for hubs who took on all of the parenting and household responsibilities so I could be gone for the day, and for Amber who threw down the gauntlet and said, "Let's do it!" I had a blast and cannot wait until next time!

(24 Hour Theater: Writers get 12 hours to write the script then the actors get 12 hours to learn it, rehearse it, and perform it.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Video of My Acting Gig Yesterday

Saturday evening, my friend called and asked if I was interested in doing "24 Hour Theater" with her. Play writers had 12 hours to write a script then directors and actors had 12 hours to rehearse and perform it. We were up at 5:00 a.m. and arrived at the "theater" at 8:00 a.m. (at which time we were assigned to a director, script, and cast). We only took a 90 minute break for lunch and a 45 minute break for dinner. We came up with all of the props and wardrobe, too. So, without further ado, I present:

"Real Men Eat Quiche On Mars" by Charles "Chuck" Fanucchi
Directed by Anderson Templeton
Actors: Amber R. as "Dudeman"
Me as "Dudebro"
and Sarah as "Dudemanbro"

I hope it makes you laugh!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Do Not be Anxious About Anything...Not Even Theater

I was looking up some information, yesterday, in my SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY book by Wayne Grudem and I was reminded how much I truly love (and desire to study) God's word. When I was a teenager, I wanted so much to be a pastor. I just knew that is what I wanted to do with my vapor of a life. Now, as an adult, I know that is not the path to which God is calling me. I still don't know all He has in store (because He choses to reveal things to us, slowly) but I do have faith and confidence I am on the right track.

On a different note, this evening a friend called me and asked if I was interested in participating in a theater thing, tomorrow. My interest was peaked. Theater is my third love... 1. God and Jesus (and God's word), 2. Dance (ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, acrobatics, etc.), 3. Theater, 4. Martial arts and MMA, 5. Volleyball...

But, I have to be honest, it has been quite a while since I have done ANY kind of theater work. But, I still love it. Every single time I watch a musical or theater production, I want to get up and join in it. So, when this opportunity presented itself, my two responses were 1. Heck yeah, I really want to do it, and 2. No way, it has been way too long since I've done this kind of thing. But, I prefer to challenge go outside my comfort zone and just give it a try. Part of the fun, tomorrow, is making errors, forgetting lines, resorting to improv, etc. I love improv!!!

Side bar: Let me just say, here, how insanely thankful I am to the teachers I had in dance, voice, acting, and theater! I feel they were each amazing individuals who taught me well and all they know. I am generally very comfortable on the stage...almost as if it were my second home. I hear "home" calling my name.

Alas, it is time to say, "Good night!" I have to be up at 5:00 in the morning to leave by 6:00 a.m. to get to the theater event by 8:00 a.m. And on a Sunday, of all days! It must be get me up and out of the house by 6:00 a.m. AND to miss church.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7 ESV)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Live to the Hilt Every Situation You Believe to Be the Will of God

I was on a roll posting more than just daily scripture pictures on here, again! Yay! I have been so bogged down with school work for my Bachelor's Degree that I haven't been very social at all (online or in person). But, I see the light at the end of the tunnel for this semester. Only three weeks, five homework assignments, three or four quizzes, four exams, and one big paper to write left! Hopefully, next semester will be a little less demanding. But, I am SO thankful to be able to go back to school!

It took me a long time to get past the fact I was going to have to start from scratch when it came to higher education. With a goal of law school, that would be a seven year commitment, I just did not think I could do it. However, some of my credits did transfer over from my first attempt at college and God has provided for this opportunity. Still, I have a long way to go, yet it seems doable! I believe it is fair to say, I am excited! I will be ready to begin a new season when my youngest are, too, after they graduate high school. We will take that leap, in faith, together.

I am curious where I will attend law school. My hope is it will be somewhere close to where I'll be living but God only knows.

Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. - Jim Elliot

Today, I was a chaperone on a school field trip to see the fabulous musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". I have to be honest, it made my desire to perform again even more intense...but I doubt I will ever go back to it. Although, a friend of mine said we should go audition at the local theater just "to feel young again". So, I don't know, maybe.

For the time being, here is one of my old competition videos...just "to feel young again". (I wish you could see that I am smiling.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Learn to Do Good; Seek Justice

Thinking about egg donation brought something to my attention. What about women who really want to give birth but are barren? When all other options have failed and in vitro is being considered and discussed. I felt a mild pull toward it as I contemplated egg donation but how strong and tempting it must be to those who want a baby with all their heart.

Multiple eggs are harvested, fertilized outside of the body, the "best" one or two are implanted into the woman's uterus, and the remaining embryos are aborted or used for stem cell research. This would be quite a dilemma for me if I was faced with such a decision! The call to be a mother is so intense it is sickening at times! But to sacrifice multiple lives for a 55% chance of a successful pregnancy and birth?

Side note: All of this brings to mind embryo stem cells. When I had each of my children, I was asked if the stem cells from the umbilical cords may be obtained. I said, "Yes," each time but I couldn't help but wonder if there is any "unethical" research conducted on those cells. Today, I read, "...umbilical cord blood is an ethical source of stem cells." That gives me peace of mind.

How truly thankful I am for my biological kiddos, my kids I co-parented but did not birth, and someday (maybe) adopted children. Yep, I am back to mulling over adoption...but not in the near future. Perhaps in, oh say, 12 years or so. I want to get my Bachelor's Degree, finish raising my young ones, go to law school, and then meditate on and pray about being an adoptive or foster parent.

learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
(Isaiah 1:17 ESV)

The above is what I intend to do as an attorney, too.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (John 14:15-21 ESV)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Declare Me Innocent From Hidden Faults

To donate or not to donate? That was the question.

What is the biblical standing, if any? I'm not sure the bible addresses this directly. There are so many beautiful children, little lambs of God, who need loving, forever homes. But, I also know there are women who strongly desire children, yet are infertile. There are adoptive parents, foster parents, surrogate mothers, those who donate, etc.

Back when I was in college (the first time), I considered donating an egg cell or few. Presently, being in Human Biology and having studied "survival of the fittest" and "natural selection" a tad, I have been thinking, once again, about giving reproductive cells. However, no matter what I do in life, I want it to glorify God! Would this? Or would it be considered "wrong" or "unbiblical"?

Perhaps it is the pride in me that says, "I am in excellent physical and mental health. I carry roughly a "B" average (it's not Mensa, Ivy League, or anything but hey, it's not bad). I am athletic and agile. I pick up things pretty quickly. I feel God has blessed me abundantly. All good attributes to pass along.

The bottom line here, though, is the end result will be a human being. An offspring who will not know me and I will not know him/her. Yet, we will coexist and twenty-four of his/her chromosomes will be from me. I believe I would be okay with this but I would ALWAYS pray for him/her/them as I do the kiddos I have (and continue to) co-parent hands on. (Two of which are not my biological kids but I love them dearly as if they are.) So, why would I not be able to do the biologically but not in person? Am I so arrogant to believe I am the best mother out there?!

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
(Psalm 139:13-14. ESV.)

I have learned that "family" is made up of many varying factors and looks differently to everyone (or many). For some, it is all about bloodlines. For others, their "family" members do not share the same genes. We have church "families", dance "families", fighter "families", foster "families", adoptive "families", biker "families", biological "families", brothers and sisters in Christ, beloved friends who act as "family" (and sit closer than a brother), etc. And, as long as a child is loved, nurtured, provided for, protected, and trained up in the way he/she should go, that should be what matters, right?

But upon further research I found egg donation and implanting is a more complex procedure than I originally thought. The donor would have to receive hormones or chemicals to cause the ovaries to produce and release multiple "eggs". I am not fond of putting anything into my body. I prefer to be au natural.

Further, the part that bothers me the most is once these "eggs" are harvested, they are put into petri dishes, fertilized, the best one or two are placed in the recipient's uterus and the rest are aborted. And that there, is the deal breaker for me.

7The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(John 14:15-26. ESV.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Straining Forward to What Lies Ahead, I Press on Toward the Goal

I run into some interesting individuals day to day. A couple weeks ago I was studying in a coffee shop when two voices caught my attention. It was not the sound of their words that caused my ears to tune into their conversation, but rather what was being said. Okay, I was eavesdropping, you caught me. But, they were talking there ya go.

One woman, who was facing me (they were at a table over my left shoulder) was a surgeon, as so it sounded. (I am not sure about the other lady...she did not say very much.) The first lady spoke of patients comparing scars and trading stories about their surgeries, to each other and another physician. Hers boasted about how beautiful she is, etc. My interest was peaked and I wanted to sneak a glimpse (at this gorgeous doctor) without looking obvious.

I was still (most likely) as evident as a neon sign. I am about as subtle as a firecracker.

When I got up to leave, I looked directly at her. Yet, quickly. She had long, flowing hair and was wearing make up. Other than that, it's a blur. But, two things happened in that moment...well, two thoughts, actually. #1. I said to myself, "I could be like her." And #2. I felt a moment of envy. But, why?! I really do not desire what she has or does...I do not even know her!

I suppose I could change my major to medicine and serve people in the scope of that field. But, the heavy burden of losing a patient, if I was just unable to help, would weigh heavily on me. And, I would never want to challenge God or shake my fist at Him because His will was different than my own.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Most importantly, though, is the fact I love my life! Not necessarily all that has transpired in it or the bad choices I have made, but rather what I have and the wonderful individuals with whom I have crossed paths. Not to mention the direction in which I am heading.

I by passed a higher education right after high school, traveled, and started a family. I would not trade that for all the success and money in the world. The children I have co-parented (and continue to co-parent) are amazing! And, I have SO much life experience (well, as much as a thirty-something year old can fit into those years).

Maybe I forgot who I was or what I wanted, for a period of time, but I remember now. I have always put my husband and children before myself, as I always felt I should, for 13 years. This past summer, I felt it was time to go back to school, chase down, and obtain my goal of being an attorney... not a healthcare professional.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14 ESV)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Baptism in the Near Future?!

I am so excited!!!  The Little Chef wants to be baptized!  The first step though, is a three week "New Member" class. 

I was baptized in the church where I grew up (in Florida) and the Little Chef started off at this church (pre-school + 2 years) and now, we have returned (been back for maybe two years).  So, it makes sense to me.  It makes me glad.  I'm hoping the Little Leaguer feels called, too, before we move.

John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16 ESV)


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