Sunday, January 25, 2009

It still feels like a new year...

I'd like to keep the "new year" mentality all year long. I love the constant feeling of being refreshed. A good long talk with an old friend can do that. A good long hike with wonderful women can do that. God's Word can do that...perhaps most poignantly of all.

Today, Britt spoke about the life of Noah and how it sheds light on our own lives of faith. It contained three simple, yet powerful tenants. And, he asserted--the order is everything.

Worship. We are created to worship our Father God and in all things give thanks to Him. Our sole purpose on this earth is to glorify His name. We must first, before all else, worship our Savior.

Walk. Part of the reason we worship God is because He has called us into relationship with Him. That in itself is an awe-inspiring concept (that might just take you back to worship:). We must daily commit ourselves to walking in faith. Whom we walk with is simple; we walk with the Lord. Our destination, is also simple; we are walking to be with Him for eternity, pressing on for the prize. The pace must be decided, but with an eternity mindset, because God is not in a hurry as we are. The path that we take is perhaps more clouded, but we are assured that He will prepare the way for us and walk with us, and the road map is spelled out in His word.

Work. We are then to approach His work, and position ourselves to be His hands, His mouthpieces, His imitators, on earth, while recognizing that He does not need us and that this too, is a privilege we have in being His children.

I love the simplicity of these three active perspectives. I want to orient my life to them. So, through many conversations and many examples set before me, I've decided to wake up an extra hour early every day to begin my day in worship, which can take many forms, and then in walking with the Lord in one concrete way (among many) and that is in reading His word. I want these two things to begin the day, instead of work. I am excited to see the fruits of this faithful discipline as many have. And simply, I am excited to come into a deeper relationship with Him every day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year

At the risk of being redundant (after all, my last post was a recap of 1/2 of 08)- here it is anyway...


Jan 1 on a plane to Europe. 2 bags. 6 months. Little to No plan.
Florence with Abby and Greg. Alex and Eduard, Italian aggression meets Italian hospitality. Delightful pair;)
Mara picking me up at the airport in Sevilla expecting a week-long visitor (may have under-communicated a tad).
Spanish immersion....complete with a Spanish cumpanero de piso.
10 day discoteca run.
Moving out of the Spaniard's apartment.
Living life at high frequency with Miss Mara DeRitter.
Visiting adopted family, the Martins, in Portugal.
Carnival Part 1: Rota. U.S. Military Men.
Carnival Part 2: Cadiz. Mob mentality.
Teaching English to my sweet old men at La Guardia Civil.
Illegal employment by the government=quintessential irony of Spain.
Morocco. Riding camels into the Sahara. Camping with Berbers. Fez.
Semana Santa.
Learning to dance like a Sevillana.
KAITLIN and V. Eurotrip 08. Barcelona. Geneva. Marseille.
El Camino de Santiago.
Being adopted into a make-shift Span-Italian familia.
Cantabria with Paige and Deyl.
Jill and Kevin get hitched.
Peripatetic summer, new home base: Santa Clarita.
Homecoming Part 2: Back to SB.
The wonderful, rowdy Mollkoys.
Growing in my desire for more of God.
Children with Autism. Learning to work for a company.
Reality Carpinteria. Homegroup. Exploring ministry/missions.
Kacie and Greg get hitched.
Searching for my place here.
Growing up just a little bit more.
Settling into to a lower frequency.
Spontaneous trip to Denver for Katie B.
Brittany makes a comeback- Oaks 5 year reunion.

Resisting the urge to wander. Practiced Contentment.
Digging my heels in for a while.
Solitude. Communities.
Prayerful, Joyful Expectancy.

My goals for 2009 are still being worked out in my mind, but I know that they will include taking more calculated risks. Calculated is the more difficult of the two. I'm naturally prone to the obvious risks, so it's more of a risk for me to stay here and fight atrophy than to move to South America (for example). But, it is one I am willing to dig into and flesh out because I know there is real growth in that. And, while I know that having clearly delineated goals is one of the main keys to success (or how else do you measure it), I'm not sure I can make any hard and fast goals for myself this year that I don't already have as part of my modus operandi. I'm in the figuring it out, stretching myself period (and probably always will be) I prefer to have themes or schemata for my goals and bend and move from there...

There will definitely be a physical component. I've grown fond of training my body and in so doing, challenging my will, my mind, and my spirit. I'm open to suggestions...and training partners;)

There will be an educational component. Grad classes in Applied Behavior Analysis start next week and then...? All I know is I miss school and it's time.

There will be a financial/biz element. Learning about Commercial real estate and possibilities amongst the downward trend in the Residential market (under the tutelage of my sage uncle and precocious older brother). Astutely, carefully avoiding as many taxes as possible. Making personal and familial decisions around current and future investments. Still surreal. This is one of those things that makes me feel like I'm approaching the mid-twenties, because otherwise I could be 19 and I wouldn't know the difference.;)

There will be a ministry element. Further, and more specific investment in a church family, in community.

There will be a creative element. This has always been dance for me in the past, but I think it is time to broaden my horizons or recover that lost art. I might start writing. See what comes of it.

Really, I just like thinking about these things. I think on them often, but welcome the impetus that a new year can be for a fresh start. So here's to a surprising, challenging, joyous New Year!