Sunday, August 31, 2008

smells like Fall!

It's only the end of August but it's already feeling like FALL here! The air has gotten crisp and cool and I even smelled something very like burning leaves today - yay!
I love Fall. It's one of my favorite seasons (my other favorites are Spring and Summer... Winter's got a bit too much of that cool air for me though I do love the cold). I'm looking forward to:
- leaves changing (do they do that here? guess I'll find out)
- fall festivals
- barn dances (doesn't that sound great?)
- hayrides
- sweaters
- experiencing a true FALL season... one that's not 90 degrees.
- October. For some reason, I really like October.

Yay for Fall :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

lots of green

Pictures as promised! Here are most of the things I've been doing, and words to explain the pictures!
1. Molly (my room-roommate) and I
2. The WA version of Hardees :)
3. Eating with chopsticks
4. Molly's mom pretending to jump while helping move the beds
5. Molly and and I after moving our beds and her desk
6. Our beds - very bright
7. Molly's GREEN bowling ball.
8. The roommates: Amanda, Madeline, Molly, Lindsay
9. Maddie, Molly and I at breakfast after church
10. Mom's huge calzone
11. Saying goodbye to mom
12. Molly and I with some of the food we prepared (60+ meals!)
13. At the Indians game
14. Maddie, Dustin and the "K" sign we never understood
15. (out of order) Nailing my cubes together
16. Baseball game - Indians won 5-3
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Born to Be Here

“You were born to be here.”

The words echoed in the quiet auditorium, resounding in the ears of 168 new students. The man with the glasses and full beard continued, “each one of you was destined to be here. God created you and you were born to be here at Moody Bible Institute - Spokane.” It was a different approach to the typical cheery devotion, the nice things that make you feel fuzzy inside, but he put his sarcastic humor aside to share some very true words. We were born to be here.

So orientation was yesterday. Dr. McMath spoke to us with a devotional and a charge for the rest of our time here in Spokane during the first session and immediately, I realized the truth of his statement. Here I am at the place I always wanted to be but never really thought possible. I’m a student at Moody Bible Institute. And this is where God wants me. Come to think of it, I never really specifically asked God to put me in Chicago to begin with. I wanted to go to Moody… I just didn’t know the Spokane campus existed.

I’m not completely sure why I’m not in Chicago and why I won’t be going there for another year but I’m anticipating understanding that someday I WILL know. I’ll look back and with a shock see how clear God’s hand was through Spokane. Perhaps He’s just been clearly leading me HERE. Maybe I’ll live here for the rest of my life. Maybe someone here will impact me, or maybe I’ll impact someone else. Maybe I’ll learn a lesson that will change the pattern of the rest of my life. Only God really knows and that is exactly why I’m so excited. God the Author of Life, the One who set creation into motion – this God knows. And I was born to be here – at Moody Bible Institute Spokane. Even though no one in this town has a clue that such a school exists, and even though it seems crazy to move 4,000 miles away to live with people I met on Facebook to go to a school I’d never visited. It seemed insane at first but it doesn’t seem that way now… I think it’s because God’s will was for me to come here.

I’ve doubted His will in this before. This process has been such a stretch of my faith, something that has felt very like a roller coaster. There have been doors closed and different doors opened because of the doors closed. The intelligence in God’s design and of His plan haven’t escaped me as I’ve reflected on His grace in His will. This whole process has served so far to show me how truly beyond my comprehension God is. He doesn’t make things easy or make them hard without reason. Gently, He’s shown me how I don’t put my faith where it belongs. He has me where He wants me and I need to trust that. And to be honest, I’m excited about it. He hasn’t taken me to places that I’ve hated and made me do the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. He’s been good and faithful and has shown me more of Himself through this than any other trying experience. I can now say without any doubt in my mind that THIS is exactly what I am supposed to be.

I want to grow while I’m here. I want to see God in new ways and meet people who are passionate and inspire me to love God without abandon (I struggle with that). This is so much more than about the school I’m attending. That’s just four years of God’s plan for me. How neat that what I am doing NOW is a part of GOD’S PLAN! How amazing to know that. To not doubt or even want to question.

I was, indeed, born to be here.

From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it on the face of the inhabited earth. Whether for correction or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen. Listen to this, O Job, stand and consider the wonders of God. [Job 37:9-14]

Friday, August 22, 2008

sneak peek

Coming soon: pictures of the roommates and apartment.

I'd show more but our room is anything but set up.
The mattresses are stacked on the floor where the bed will be and our things are strewn everywhere.
We're hoping to get the bunk bed in our room this weekend and once it looks nice, I'll show pictures.

My actual roommate Molly and I picked out things together so they match (awww) and everything in our bathroom and room is extremely... happy. There will be a LOT of bright colors and lots of green in the pictures to come, so be warned :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008


new address
new time zone
new climate (no humidity!)
new people
new roommates
new town
new bedding
new towels
new home
That's a lot of new.
I think I'm going to get tired of "new" and "change" pretty soon but right now, it's exciting. I'll write more about it later.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

confessions of a late night procrastinator

[written while taking a break from packing.]
goodbyes stink.
packing is a daunting task.
i like philippians.
my closet is nearly void of clothing.
i am ocd about list-making.
i didn't realize it was so late.
i really like my header... it's happy...
so glad i took those pictures in ukraine because otherwise i wouldn't have a header.
come to think of it, i regret few of the pictures i take.
doesn't feel like i'm packing to MOVE.
i'm procrastinating now, so perhaps that's why. i'm not packing.
i want a carolina t-shirt, roll of stamps, and a good night's rest.
wish i could cry about moving but i can't decide if i'm sad or not.
i'm so glad jillian and emily helped me pack on saturday. thanks y'all!
when i get my new license (since the old was stolen), it will be my fourth
...maybe fifth.
i've only been licensed for four years.
facebook is amazing (no, i'm not on it right now).
i think i'm going to need more boxes. or less stuff.
where can i get more boxes?
i hope the next iPod i get is green.
i need sleep.
going to move the things off my bed.
so i can sleep.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Cross

I found this paper among a stack of things while packing. It's an extra credit essay written on "My Cross"... I knew it would still be on my computer because I'm bad about cleaning things off at the end of the semester so I thought I'd share. It wasn't often that I got to write from MY point of view so I enjoyed this assignment immensely. Enjoy!

I have come to realize that discipleship means much more than saying a quick prayer in a Sunday morning service, walking an aisle, and being baptized. Being a disciple of Christ is not quick or easy or cheap; it is an all-consuming lifestyle and it must cost me something. If I truly desire to become a follower of Jesus and to learn from His life, things in my life cannot stay the same. I will always be changing, always be growing. A disciple of Christ without a changed life is not truly a disciple. Daily I must make a choice to give something to Him: me.

My cross is my pride. It is all the things that I believe I have done: all the triumphs spiritually and physically, all the things I have held dear. I must realize that my vanity because of these things is just that: useless, vain and futile. They have no end and no eternal reward and are only in the here and now. I do not want to realize that or come to that conclusion but I have. I have realized that the cross I bear is the thing I hold most dear, and that God is most glorified and I am most satisfied when I give that to Him, allowing Him to use me and my talents and accomplishments for His glory.

After the Apostle Paul tells the church at Philippi many of his accomplishments and the things he has to boast of, he makes an astounding statement: “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7, NASB, italics mine). If Paul who really did have a “claim to fame”, could say this, and deny himself, I know that I am more than capable of the same thing. I have no claim to truly boast; I have not accomplished much in my nineteen years. Like Paul though, I am a prideful person. I do not want to deny myself, but I have no choice. Paul used the best words in describing this, words I feel from the bottom of my heart: “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8, NASB). This is what I think it means to lay down my cross: to give Him the thing that means the most to me, for His glory and to gain Him. I may lose myself, but I have gained something of infinite greater value.

Friday, August 15, 2008

we're considering it all joy

We went out to the sandbar today, our family and Granddaddy and Grandmamma in the big boat. It rained a little, was a little sunny at times but overall a nice day. Becca and I got to walk around and talk... I really enjoyed the time.

As we were putting the boat into the river, we noticed that the Pilot and Granddaddy's truck were the only two vehicles in the parking lot at the landing. Someone mentioned people cutting off parts of cars to sell and Mom and Grandmamma worried but the rest of us took it lightly. I mean, who does that really happen to?

When we got back to the landing, there was a small group of kayakers gathered talking and a policeman came forward from the group. "Is there a David Norman here?" he asked. Dad answered in the affirmative. "Your vehicle has been broken into, sir" the man said. We followed him to the Pilot. The glass in the passenger window was completely gone and the door was left open. Scott got there before I did and had picked up some cards and things that were in my Bible. Which was in my purse. Shoot.

Mom had hidden my purse under a towel in the middle row, hers in the backseat. They didn't bother to look around for hers I guess, because mine was the only one they took. My license, debit card, money I needed to deposit (darn), Bible (saddest about that even though I have another one at home), iPod were all inside. One officer took all my information and an itemized list of what was inside. Mom was upset because I'm moving in five days but for some reason I'm okay. I didn't like my license picture anyway. The purse was (thankfully) a fake and not a real Coach. I'll miss my iPod but it's fine... I have the same music on iTunes at home. I'm hoping I didn't have my Social Security Card in there... that would stink. The most upsetting thing is that they also took:

not the handgun in the center console, not the DVD player, not even Mom's purse...

...Scott's pants.

Yep, that's right. A Wal-Mart special. We laughed a little bit until we realized that attached to the belt was the Leatherman Scott saved up for a long time to get. That's the not-funny part. He's... incredibly sad. If we get nothing else back, I hope he gets that. Poor guy.

So anyway, we're practicing considering it all joy this afternoon.

Even though Scott doesn't even have any pants to wear.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Lately, I've been happy about:
- Alvin Ords with Mom
- coffee and cinnamon rolls with Brooke
- rides to the airport and silliness in Wal-Mart with my brother
- colorful cards and notes from my girls
- the beach
- sleepovers
- Batman and Mr. Darcy ;)
- more coffee and more Brooke-time
- thrift store browsing and trying on strange outfits with Taci
- pictures to capture it all
- God's "thumbprint" on things
- being able to purchase books online
- the China team coming home
- coffee dates, window shopping and card making with the A Graces :)
- hearing what others thought of the summer trips
- reminiscing over dinner with friends
- talking forever in the parking lot
- movie nights
- my Ukraine roomies
- and my China roomies, while we're on the topic :)
- God's word and how living and active it is

...I'm very thankful for a camera that works, because I've been snapping pictures of all these last things with friends so I can see their smiling faces when I'm gone. There's going to be a lot to miss.{ale, ashley and i today... we had coffee, shopped downtown, shopped at Wal-Mart and finished off with card-making at Sonic... love them}

it's a birthday!

Happy seventeenth birthday to Emily!
I can't believe you're so stinkin' old, girly! You're one of my favorite people in the whole wide world :)
Hope your day is amazing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

part of me?

Sometimes God's word seems new all over again. The words I've read a thousand times before become clearer. The other day I was flipping through my Bible and my eyes fell on Colossians 3:16:

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

And I thought WOW. Allow the word of Christ to become a part of you, so that the things of Him overflow into the lives of others... how neat is that? I know... one person that's like that. Nearly every word out of her mouth is encouraging, is scripture, has something to do with God. She brings up hymns and songs that meant something to her. She's genuine, kind to everyone. She's not even that old but she has let God work in her in a way that's truly inspiring and such a testimony to Him.

And I, well, I don't know what I do. Instead of letting God's word richly dwell within me, I get up, read my Bible and go. Sometimes I give it a second thought at the end of the day. I pray throughout my day but I'm not constantly meditating on God's word, it's not an active, important part of my life. I'm seeing that more everyday. I haven't let myself slide, really, but I haven't really been progressing, either. I've grown, but not necessarily in a way that seeps into other's lives.

It bugs me. I'm pretty annoyed with myself, that I have all this at my fingertips and I don't do a thing with it. I mean, come on, it's the WORD OF GOD. And I let myself mumble on about all the stupid things I'm doing this week or next year instead of talking about it? What a waste of my time! What a waste of yours!

I feel like a hypocrite writing this. Like I'm not going to change. I've said/written so many things, lots of ambitious thoughts and ideas that I haven't carried out. This is one thing that I don't want to fail in. I don't necessarily want to know every chapter of the Bible by heart, but I want God to become so much more to me than He is right now. I want to know Him through His word, because that's the best way to know Him. I want to be a sponge for the things of Him. When I speak, I don't want to be the most spiritual person, the best Christian or the most wise, but I want to overflow with the things of Him. That sounds so "Christian": "I don't want to be anyone, I just want them to know Him better because of me"... well, I don't know how else to word it.

I want it so much right now and I see how much I've messed up in that area that I'm nearly in tears. I want to be a light, even to Christians, of the glory of God. I want to encourage others just by talking about Him, not by thinking of the right thing to say. This friend of mine has been an encouragement through so many things and doesn't really have the "right" words, but lets me know that she's praying and then encourages me by telling me what she's learned lately, making me desire to get into God's word more and causing me to thank God for people like her.

I'm trying (meaning, praying very hard) to make this the pattern of my life. I so want my life to overflow with thankfulness to God. I've had a song stuck in my head today: "I love you Lord and I lift my voice to honor You. Oh my soul rejoice. Take joy my King in what you hear; may it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear".

May the things that we do and say (and think! that gets me every time) be sweet in the ear of the Lord.

"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord." Ephesians 5:19

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008


I'm having a hard time adjusting back to life over here!
*I got eight hours of sleep last night but unfortunately that's because I fell asleep at 6pm. The clock in my head is very confused, trying to figure out the 12 hour time difference. I'm not really sure what time my brain thinks it is right now... but I can't wait for the jet lag to go away!
*I'm also not so thrilled about moving anymore. Thinking about all the people I must say goodbye to and all the "last things" before I leave is getting in the way of my excitement. It set in the day I left Ukraine and hasn't left.
*The day I got back from China, I was informed of two things that really shocked me. My great grandma died the day I got back, as did Molly's mom. I'm glad they're out of pain and that they're living like they were meant to, but it's hard to get over.

Since I haven't exactly been sleeping, I've been doing some thinking. At first, many of my thoughts were very self-centered. I whined inwardly about all these things, made them seem worse than they were...
And then I read through the journal I kept during the trip. And thought about what God did. And guess what? Yeah, that's right, I was convicted:

thoughts on James 1:2-4 (2nd day in Ukraine)
-consider... a concious effort
-all joy... making your mind choose to view things with joy when encountering trials
-knowing...understanding that a trial is not the end, but that your faith in God through it will produce endurance
-endurance...commitment to keep going, not backing down (note says steadfast)
-we are perfected and completed as we rely on God and put faith in Him
-side note next to "perfect and complete" says "mature"... we grow in faith as we exercise it

A song that we sang often in camp in China went like this: "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice, Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice, Rejoice, rejoice, again I say rejoice..."

Instead of giving many of my problems to God, I dwell on them. These verses really got me:
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke
Even He who teaches man knowledge?
The Lord knows the thoughts of a man, that they are mere breath.

If the Lord had not been my help,
My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
If I should say, "My foot has slipped".
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consultations delight my soul.
{Psalm 94:9-11,17-19}

The conclusions I've come up with, based on reading God's word, reflecting on all He's done, and reading my own reflections are these:
* Decide to give my anxious thoughts to God now
* Think about all the things God has done. Why wouldn't I consider it all joy?
* Rely on Him, not my feelings
* Rejoice in the Lord always, no matter what

Now, typed out, it sounds like all I'm doing is sitting around sad. I'm not. I do a lot of sitting around, but that's not because I'm sad... I really don't have a whole lot to do. It's really weird to get back to life when life seemingly involves nothing of purpose. I realize that it does have purpose but it's different from anything I did in Ukraine and China. I'm praying for eyes to see what I should be doing so I can act on it. I hope to get over the jet lag so I can live during the day instead of just at night :)
...and the moving thing... I know that's where God wants me, so I'm pretty sure all the worries about going and anxious thoughts are part of a scheme to upset my focus from God, where it should be. Now that I've thought about it and prayed about it, I'm actually quite excited about the new life in Spokane. A little scared, but if God wants me there, He will provide for me.

How refreshing it is to have perspective from God's Word!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ukraine and China

I'm back! July was a long, amazing, rewarding month. I was so glad to return to Ukraine and see God working there and I loved China also... very cool things happened in both countries. I journaled quite a bit over the month so perhaps I'll share some of those thoughts soon. For now, just a small collage of both countries. They are so different :)

China roommates: Christina, Jillian, Katherine
Ukraine roommates: Stephanie, Heather, Katherine, Taci, Jasmyn, Marta
China food: mysterious varieties of meat, rice and noodles, eaten with chopsticks
Ukrainian food: lots of potatoes, fried bread, vegetables, eaten with forks!
China: buildings and smog
Ukraine: wheat fields and blue sky
Biggest contrast: the Great Wall of China and the bridge in Giradisha :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

my daddy's birthday

He's 25 years older than I am, so that means...
Dad is 45 years old today! I'm not here to say happy birthday in person so I hope this will suffice until I return from China.

Happy Birthday Daddy, I love you and I miss you!!

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