Saturday, August 14, 2010


I kind of gave up memorizing things a while back. I seem to have left that part of life back in the school days. Memorization is for kids who want stickers and lollies and patches for sewing on a vest, for tests and grades.

As a kid I would spend weeks out of the summer in VBS. That's vacation bible school. I would go to my Grandma Vi's church bible school and my Grandma Dorothy's church bible school, flopping back and forth from house to house, always a little concerned about Grandma's ability to fix my hair. As much as I adore my grandmothers, my house of choice for VBS weeks was my friend Kendra's. Her mom Teri was my babysitter from 6 months old til we moved far far away. Kendra and I were, well, she was my best friend. And I don't use that term lightly.

Teri was VBS super mom. She still is. She has always and forever given her time and talents to the teaching of children, caring deeply for them with the love of God as if they were her own. There was always scripture memory at VBS and as we got older the bigger the passages they challenged us with. The last VBS I can remember we were given some big long obscure passage in the Old Testament. Kendra and I decided to take it on. We stayed up late into the night that week huddled under her white cotton twill blanket with our flashlight reciting and memorizing that chapter of Habakkuk. We were careful to hear each other closely and make sure the other one was getting it. And eventually one or the other would drift off to sleep mid verse.

By the end of the week we had both mastered it. One by one those who had it memorized were to stand in front of the whole VBS and cite the passage. We were both nervous for each other. We did it all for some amount of points and a chocolate bar as I recall. Funny though, it wasn't the points or the chocolate that mattered most.

A dear friend of mine memorizes loads of scripture, still. I found that quite challenging. So after thinking about its importance and how I still live from the verses I memorized as a kid; I decided to bring it back. I picked a passage and have been memorizing it. And can I just tell you how fun it is and addictive. How good is that, being addicted to the bible? I carry my bible around with me, to the bathroom, to the kitchen, outside on the patio, in the car. I've been reciting in my head, in the shower, whilst baking cookies, to my husband, to the Italian girl who shares our wall.

Side note: I speak way more with my hands now after living with an Italian. I find this highly entertaining.

So I put my thinking cap back on and I like what it's doing in my mind and in my heart, all the memory of it.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Flooded Heart

My good good friend Rachelle told me she started her very own blog the other day. She's going to tell her story and I thought "right on" or "good onya" as they say here Down Under.

I want to highlight it because it is sure to be really good. She's one of those people who makes everything cute and creative, bursting with adorableness, but more than that it's a beautiful story. It's her story, it's God's story through her that no one else can tell. So if you want...

Before and After Chocolate

I've been in a bit of a slump lately. Nothing terrible has happened. Just a few family upsets, friends gone home, some physical pangs and the ever present expanse between me and those I hold dear. Like I said, nothing terrible just a few frumpy days peppered with crying. Bound to happen. If you asked me how I was, I would tell you honestly, "I'm great, never better."

I cannot believe it is August and that tomorrow is Friday already. We are now 4 months from December, from catching a plane ride home. For some here at college it means 4 months from the next step, 4 months from an answer to the question of "what now?"

A good friend dealing with that question invited me for coffee last night. She is a friend who makes me laugh and lifts my spirit. She is a joy to be with and so I said of course, I'm in. Deciding it was too late to walk and we neither wanted coffee, we settled on a chocolate shop destination. We did the chatty small talk on the way there and by the time we parked the car it was getting real and honest. She went on to unload about her fears, her wants, her sacrifices made, her questions, her hopes, her desires and no answers, worry over making the wrong decisions. All the quandary of it. The uncertainty. I listened and listened some more. Still in the car, in the thick of it. As she talked I was careful to hear everything she needed to say. I wanted her every care to be validated but I couldn't leave her there. I asked her to think on all she's learned this year and started to encourage her that there is always hope, to keep the faith and that we'll do it together, that so much can change and shift and happen in a day or a month and to trust in the God who knows her tomorrows though she cannot see them. That He sees all she has sacrificed and has not forgotten her.

At a pausing point we made our way from the car to the chocolate. Chocolate shops are big here and I am a fan. You walk into a rich creamy chocolate covered dimly lit cafe with barstools and jars of cookies, brownies, sprinkles, gumdrops and melty chocolate drizzle. Big thick bars of solid chocolate line the walls. I had my usual American Marshmallow Chocolate Cocoa and a cookie. We talked of boys and dreams and looked at pictures on her phone in chocolate heaven.

On the ride home she said "I just don't know what to do, what if I make the wrong decision?" I totally empathize with her, how many times have I said that? It just came out of me and exuberantly I said "I think you should do what you love, spend time with the people who build you up and make you strong, live life, celebrate it, enjoy it, listen to your heart, yes you can plan but the Lord leads your steps." I went on to talk about how much I've learned from two favorite authors about living a great story. That maybe God just wants to live a great story through each of us, His story. That maybe He wants us to celebrate life and enjoy the gift of knowing Him more along the way. That maybe it's not so much about right and wrong decisions as much as it's about our knowing Him and displaying who He is around us. That's His will for us after all, to know Him. As much as I was speaking to her, if not more, I was speaking to myself.

Back at the house we prayed together with a lilt in our voices, offering warm hugs and leaving with an encouraged and inspired bounce. All to my great surprise, before and after chocolate.

Now this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. John 17:3 msg