basically here’s some stuff that’s helped me, maybe it can help you

Dangerous Wonder….the most life changing book..

this book showed me a side of faith i had never thought about. i’d always heard about viewing God as my father, but i’d never really understood seeing myself as his child. it allowed me to reconnect with God in a way i had long lost in my childhood and has drastically shaped the way my faith is today….i wrote a lengthy blog about this back in the day so i’ll just share the link with you…
^said notes don’t directly mention the book, however they’re a brief synopsis of my feelings at the time.
the book changed me in an amazing way and i think it can you too…

“the greatest enemy of christianity may be the people who say they believe in Jesus but are no longer astonished and amazed. jesus came to rescue us from listlessness as well as lostness; he came to save us from flat souls as well as corrupted souls, he came to save us from dullness. our culture is awash in immorality and drowning in dullness. we have forgotten how to dance, how to sing, how to laugh. we have allowed technology to beat our imaginations into submission and have become tourists rather than travelers. television dominates our time, alters our values, and numbs us to life in all its wildness. we have been stunned by mediocrity”

awesome.just read it

i received this book as a gift. i had heard of the dude but didn’t really know much about him. he is awesome, simply put, but there is so much more to it. this book gave me a refreshing look at christianity and how ‘american christianity’ is not the christianity we are called to live.  we are called to radically change the world for christ, not simply invite a couple of people to church in hopes that they’ll become ‘saved.’  shane takes you into the heart of Christ and shows you how he is radically impacting the world and shows you why we are called to radically change things and not sit on the sidelines hoping someone else does.   he travels with Mother Teresa and shows us a side of her we forget about.  the book is amazing, just read it.
‘be the change you want to see in the world’

i recieved this book as a gift too.  after seeing francis at Passion 2008 and again at the youth workers conference later in 2008, i had to read his book.  talk about a man radically following Christ and seeking to live out the Acts church that is described to us so clearly in the bible.  this book challenges us to step away from the typical way that church is done and see that we are called to do things the way of Acts not the way of America. i got the book on christmas, and it was finished in 2 days. its a short read, but definitely an amazing one.
previous notes about this book:

i’m not typically a huge max lucado fan, but this book was recommended to me randomly during a late night telemarketing call when i was working (sadly) as a telemarketer for Lipscomb’s scholarship fund. a random elderly lady on the other line recommended it to me and it changed my life dramatically.  it talks about the power of a mustard seed to change the world and talks about how we are all mustard seeds and with the right nurturance from God and allowing Him to reveal to us our gifts, we can become the people He desires us to be.  it shed a fresh light on making plans and trying to figure everything out so suddenly.  i don’t have to do that. i need to allow Him to show me the person he wants me to become and lean into him to allow myself to become all i can, but only through him.  if you’re feeling down on life and don’t really feel like you’re going anywhere or doing anything or being used by God, read this.  or just read it for a refreshing look at how God has given us each unique gifts, all we have to do is look to him for how to use them
previous notes
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

This book was one of the first ‘christian’ books i read.  I had always had this southern baptist americanized view of christianity until i read this book. i became enamored with how don made christianity seem so real and so applicable.  how he talked about christianity from a very ‘unchristian’ way if you will and showed how it really is and how life really is with it and God.  this began to show me the ‘realness’ of God
here are several albums/songs that have just kinda been amazing for me….
David Crowder-Remedy
Jeremy Camp-Restored
Kutless-Strong Tower, Sea of Faces
Chris Tomlin-See the Morning
12 Stones “It Was You”
Trapt “These Walls”
Tim McGraw “Beautiful People”
Switchfoot “On Fire”
Stellar Kart “Hold On”
Skillet “A Little More”,”Open Wounds”, “Savior”, “Under My Skin”
Sanctus Real-Fight the Tide
Relient K-Five Score and Seven Years Ago…oddly enough
Pillar “Hypnotized”, “Frontline”
Newsboys-Love Liberty Disco
Miranda Lambert- “Bring Me Down”
Matthew West-Happy
Matt Redman “You Never Let Go”
Martina McBride “Anyway”, “For these Times”
Lifehouse-Who We Were
Kenny Chesney “don’t blink”
Keith Urban “stupid boy”, “Everybody”, “Shine”
Joshua Radin “Brand New Day”
John Reuben-The Boy vs. The Cynic
Jason Aldean “I Use What I Got”
Hellogoodbye-Zombies, Aliens, Vampires
Gary Allan “Like it’s a Bad Thing”
Eli Young Band- “So Close Now”
David Crowder Band -ALL ALBUMS- “…neverending…”, “foreverandever etc.”, “open skies”, “wholly yours”, “rain down”, ‘o, for a thousand tongues to sing”
Christy Nockels “Hosanna”
Chris Tomlin “God of this City”
Charlie Hall “Walk the World”, “Marvelous Light”, “micah 6:8”, “We are Yours”
Casting Crowns “does anybody hear her?”, “Who am I”, “if we are the body”, “praise you in this storm”
Carrie Underwood “wheel of the world”, “twisted”, “so small”
building 429 “famous one”, “glory defined” , “never look away”
brooke fraser “albertine”, “faithful”
audio adrenaline “this is everything”, “underdog”, “get down”
the afters-I Wish We All Could Win


love people.
it’s really that simple.
yeah its hard to love those who hate you or who put you down or try to make you feel like crap, but thats what we are called to do.
retaliation never got anyone anywhere.

ever get that feeling when you do something nice for someone?
no, not the feeling you get if someone notices you.
the one you get silently when you just know that you helped them and it just feels right.

thats how life is supposed to be.
we’re not supposed to only do nice things when people ask for them.
we’re not supposed to only do things for those in the worst situations (although these are the people we sadly often ignore)
no we aren’t supposed to just throw money at things or do something just to say we did

we are called to radical lives of service.
to some this may mean traveling to africa and serving orphans while you’re still practically a child yourself such as this 19 year old girl:
to some it may mean giving up a comfortable life to live with those less fortunate and live in the ultimate community trying desperately to better the lives of everyone you encounter like Shane Claiborne does…

but to others it may mean simply deciding to put others first in everything you do and to constantly be confiding in God and allowing him to guide your every step toward loving others.

for me, it has meant pouring myself into the lives of those around me to the best of my abilties (i have failed, and i hate it, but life’s a journey).
i love children.  i have a wonderful 7 year old little brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters (check it out, even if you’re in college, just meet with a child for an hour a week, its amazing the difference you can make in their lives and they can make in yours)
i love mission trips. i went to knoxville in high school to work in the projects and just love on those children.  i miss that trip. last summer i got to go to gulfport, ms and work on the areas still devastated by hurricane katrina. i plan to do this again, and go to galveston, tx.
i have never been on an international trip and i am somewhat terrified but i am going to guatemala this may to serve an orphanage for a week.
i try to tip well when i go out places.
i let people cross the crosswalk even if i’m in a hurry.
i listen to people when they need me.
i’m not trying to sound all ‘oh look at me’ i’m just trying to say that there are simple ways to live a radically different life steered by Christ.

i’m still learning how and i will continue to learn along the journey of life, yet i’ve tried to give up on making strict spreadsheet plans and just lean into God and pray and allow him to guide me.

at times this is terrifying because i like to be in control and i like to know what’s going to happen next but life is so much more fulfilling when i allow him to steer my path.  I’ve seen him work wonders in the lives of those around me and when I step back he has done the same in mine, I just have to put aside my type a personality and allow him to do so.

I have to step back and listen.
The hardest thing in the world for me

I have to simply blare my music super loud and hear him speak to me through the words of these songs.

I have to surround myself with people who are actively allowing God to do the same in their lives.

I have to take comfort in knowing that many of those people are not within close proximity to me yet they still have a deep impact on my life through the songs they get me to download (*kelsey*) or the life altering changes they make to move across the country to a place they’ve never been.

I have to look at my parents and see the changes that have been made in their lives as a result of my super strong little sister who desired to be active with Christ at a young age not simply go to church because her friends did.

I just have to look around at the puddles I get to stomp in and the grass I get to walk on and see the blessings God has placed in every facet of everything.

And I have to love people.
Actively pouring every part of me into them so that God can pour over from me to them. I cannot do this alone and I cannot do this on my own strength. I have to lean so hard into him that he just spills over.


this first part of the miniseries which probably wont end up being too ‘mini’ will be about what being a christian is and is not to me anymore…

being a christian is no longer about doing checkbox things and going to church and donating x amount every week.

being a christian is not about going on a certain trip so that you can say that you did or bringing a ‘lost’ friend to church every week for free pizza in class
being a christian is not about hanging out with all of your church friends all the time and listening to the ‘right‘ music and seeing the ‘right’ movies with the ‘right people’
being a christian is not about looking like a super conservative republican who wears the best clothes, drives the best car, and looks like a country club snoot
being a christian is not about being a big wig in the community and making sure people know you (ironically, you’re called to not go around and tell people about yourself)
america has made us think that christians are these great little people who have this cool little book with all these boring rules that only certain people have to follow and you have to look nice and have your shit together before you can join the party or else you’re just ‘ a bad christian’
that is the worst lie we could have ever been told.

its about loving people
all people.

it’s about deeply knowing God and allowing Him to know you and sharing that with those around you.  yes, God knows you whether you tell him about your life or not because after all He is God, but i’ve grown to understand that i actively need to confess to him and tell him about my life and my struggles and areas where i know i need to improve. through this i sometimes realize things i didn’t know about myself.  i think he does that to me.  sometimes we all, especially me, refuse to admit things to ourselves and don’t see them until we tell someone else about them.  this is what i’ve begun to do in my talks with God, tell him about my life so that he can show me things i’ve missed.

i don’t have to talk to him like he’s some high and mighty person looming down with lightning bolts ready to strike.  he’s my friend, my comforter, my father, my savior, my strong shoulder, my guidance counselor, my confidant, and so much more.  i can talk to him more openly than anyone else and can feel his comfort when times get hard, if i talk to him and keep up a relationship with him.

i’ve learned what it truly means to love him.
i was always told to write out a love letter to god telling him all the reasons why i loved him and how i saw his love to me but i never really did that. lately it’s been on my mind.  i haven’t written it out but i’ve thought alot about it…

who else on this earth can you say some of the things i’ve said above about? no one. no matter how amazing my boyfriend is to me, even he cannot measure up to Christ‘s love for me.

on that note, we are called to actively love those around us as we are loved by Christ.
a little over a year ago, the amazing man that God just kinda plopped in my life told me stories about how he was challenged to more actively live that out.  to love those around him as Christ loved him.
i’d never really given this much thought, i treated people well and that was good enough right?

i began to search and see how God loved me and from there i just couldnt hold it in. i wanted everyone to be loved the way i was by Christ and by my wonderful man.

he loves me more than i thought any man could and i see Christ in him in the way he treats everyone around him.  we all have our struggles and he’s only human, but he tries every day to put himself second and treat others around him with the love he feels from Christ whether they act like they want it, treat him well, or even acknowledge his existence.  he works his ass off daily for selfish people yet never gives anything but his best and then comes home and loves everyone else around him with nothing but the best love he can…it amazes me.  i don’t know how he does it, but he does.  for that i am thankful beyond belief that God placed him in my life.

he’s a great example of how to treat people and each day i strive more to pour the love God has shown me into the lives of others because i feel this is what we are called to do.  no reason to hoard something so amazing right?

the past few years

so i’m supposed to be doing any number of things: reading any of the books i’ve started yet gotten distracted from by school/life, Manager’s Hot Seat videos for class, figuring out my Leadership class project, anything but writing a blog pretty much yet i feel like being here.
lately i’ve been contemplating how my life has changed since i began college.  simply put it has changed tremendously and not in any way for the worse.

i have gained some of the best friends i’ve ever had, met a man that treats me like a princess, developed a deeper relationship with my parents, seen my sister grow into an amazing woman of God with strength i wish i had as a teenager, become a stronger person myself through watching her, but most importantly i have developed a much, much deeper relationship with Christ.

i’ve gone to church less in college than i did before. i don’t have ‘church friends’ like i did when i was younger and i’m not actively involved in a weekly bible study.  

i wish i was in a bible study, i miss having church friends, and i miss going to church weekly however my relationship has become so much stronger. 

through reading Shane Claiborne, Donald Miller, ‘Dangerous Wonder’, Francis Chan, David Crowder….going to Passion 2008, NYWC 2008, late night drives, coffee conversations with friends, putting myself completely out there and trusting only in God to hold me through, late night talks with the roommate i miss dearly, sonic runs, angry nights crying in my car or by the river in the city, incense, blaring Crowder as loud as my speakers can take, and just pouring myself into those around me i have found Christ in a way i never thought possible.

i want to do a little miniseries about the things that have impacted my life in the past three years or so.

i somewhat hope that you can see something interesting and maybe pick up a book i’ve read and it can change your life the way that it has mine or that you’ll be challenged to see Christ in a new way as i have, but that’s not up to me, just keep an open mind and enjoy 🙂

stimulus package

think about how different the world would be if every person (all 6 billion of them) got $136.50 to do whatever they wanted with it.

random amount of money right?
well, the current stimulus bill that is going through the lovely hierarchy of the american government right now sits at or around $819 billion.
$819 billion / 6 billion people comes out to roughly $136.50 per person, this includes men, women, children, inmates, disabled persons, persons on life support, etc.
i’m not saying i’m against the stimulus package because although this does put a HUGE burden on future generations, that burden was laid on us the past 8 years and unless we do something now to attempt to begin to fix these problems, we will crumble.
politics aside, think about this for a second.
think about how much of a difference this could make in Africa in the rural villages….
think about how much of a difference this could make in third world countries in southeast Asia….
think about how much of a difference this would make to all of the children who have never gotten a chance to go to school….
think about all of the pregnant women without proper prenatal care
think about all of the people without proper healthcare of any kind…
think about the people who cannot afford to feed their families…
$136.50 in american money translates into so much more across the world, especially in 3rd world countries.
in addition to the positive change this could bring across the world, think about the difference it could make right here in the United States.
yes i realize some people (sadly, many) would waste the money, but think about the families right here whose children cannot afford school supplies or clothes, the mothers who cannot afford prenatal care, the power bills that cannot be paid, the meals that cannot be bought, the houses in hurricane affected areas that cannot be built, etc. etc.
like i said, i think the stimulus package needs to be put into place, i think oversight needs to be had for the money, i think spending money on the things that have been screwed over in the past 8 years is the only way we can even begin to fix our economy is necessary, but just think for a second at how much change can be made across the world with a small amount of money evenly distributed.
with this in mind, i want us all to think about the current economy and how it affects everyone in this economy and across the globe and think about what we can do to reconcile the adversity and challenges our fellow humans face.
without community, we are nothing.
in dire times, without people helping out those around each other, we will not prevail.
selfishness is disgusting right now.
we need to all challenge ourselves and those around us to invest in other people’s lives and rebuild a network of community so that we can fix this economy crap together.
the government cannot simply spend money and fix things if the american people are not willing to get out of our selfish mindsets and help those around us that are struggling.
yes we may think that they got there by their own fault.
yes we may not agree with universal healthcare or tax hikes.
yes we may think that those people who are poor and lost their jobs should have went to college or prepared earlier
maybe that person should have gotten a better job
maybe they should have not had so many kids
maybe they should have saved money
blah blah blah get over yourself!
the fact of the matter is, the economy is in the drain. people are hurting. we need to all get out of our selfish bubbles and do what we can to reconcile the pain and suffering in the world.
go on a mission trip
do a service trip to hurricane destroyed areas
mentor a child through big brothers big sisters
sponsor a child in africa
let the old lady go in front of you in the grocery store
be informed about the political things that are on the table to try and help out
care about the people around you
don’t ask ‘how are you’ and not actually want an answer
be yourself
invest in those around you
be there when times get tough for your roommate or office mate
help out the homeless
donate to goodwill
or whatever you can do to help out those around you, not just in this economic time, but all the time
we all need to have a lifestyle attitude of servanthood and invest deeply in those around us if we want the world to be a better place.
to bring a bit of Jesus into this, its what we are called to do at the deepest level. if you disagree with me, tell me, but read Irresistible Revolution and then tell me you disagree.

only in tennessee

only in the lovely state of Tennessee would i be able to

scrape off ice from my car windows
freeze my face off walking to class because it is 15 degrees on thursday
only to turn on the AC in my car
wear flip flops
 and drive with all of the windows down and the sunroof open on friday/saturday/sunday because its hovering around 70 degrees.
i cannot decide if this is awesome or not.
i will say that this state has the most bipolar weather of any state i’ve ever heard of.
my friends in colorado have been either delighting in or complaining because it has been much warmer than usual this winter (~60 degrees)
my friend in texas has been wearing short sleeves most of the winter
my chicago friend is frozen
it has rained on me on my way to class when it was 10 degrees, how is this possible?
and i am a mixture of it all…mostly just frozen
and people say global warming doesn’t exist???
on the weather note…it is BEAUTIFUL today and has been all weekend.  this warm weather makes me feel more alive and myself than anything. someday i hope to live somewhere where winter consists of temperatures no lower than 45 degrees.

no conversation?

this semester i’m finally finished with my gen ed classes and am taking only classes for my major and/or minor, with the exception of any extra classes i want to add for my own personal benefit.

three of my classes this semester are focused primarily on discussion.  this is AWESOME to me.  one is schools and society, one is leadership in organization, and the other is organizational behavior. the last 2 are for my management minor and i’ve discovered something quite alarming and depressing.
in my business classes, which are discussion based, no one seems to talk.
no one seems to think critically.
everyone wants a textbook definition for everything.
everyone wants a concrete answer to the question.
we’re discussing leadership vs management and what defines each or the other and if they are the same or if they’re different.  a very deep discussion topic, i’ll agree, but something that affects everyone’s life every day and very few people in my class seem to even care to talk about it. they’ll ask for clarification about the question as if they’re looking for what could be the concrete answer to the question when in fact there isn’t one.  this upsets me on one level and saddens me on another.
it’s upsetting/alarming because i am a deep discussion oriented person. i love deep conversations and i love discussions. i find concrete answers to be rather boring and would rather go deeper into a subject than just take a multiple choice test. i don’t learn anything from that and in all honesty, most people dont.
yet most people are perfectly complacent with learning nothing beyond the answers to the  multiple choice questions and on a macro level, this is what’s wrong with america. among other things.  i’m not going to bash america all the time, but i am going to say that we as a general rule have lost critical thinking and our desire to dig deeper into things and people. we have lost a sense of community and have lost our desire to know and be known.  ok we haven’t lost it but we’ve begun to refuse to accept that it is natural to want these things and that is the way we are conditioned to be.
think about that and give me your thoughts.
more to come later about the state of america’s schools and my thoughts on why this is a much bigger epidemic in the business department than the sociology/psychology department but we’ll leave that for after i get done with class.