Sunday special: Do dinner.

I have never been too good at showing how I feel. 
I'm even worse at saying it.
So I like to love on people by doing things.

Today I made dinner and dropped it to my director and her family.
I don't know if they liked it, but they looked hungry when I got there, so I'm hoping it went over well...

Confession:This is a ready-made pie crust.

Perhaps I'm vain, but when I give people food, I want it to look as good as it tastes.
And honestly, my pastry crusts don't look very good at all.

As I was taking this picture, I was telling one of my roommates how proud I was that my borrowed white shirt was still white.
Directly after taking this picture, I decorated a good portion of our kitchen with beautiful red splatters.
You know what they say about pride...

quiche florentine + red bell peppers = genius

Do you like to cook?
Have you had any cooking adventures lately?



noun. [L. providentia.]
1. The act of providing or preparing for future use or application.
2. Foresight; timely care; particularly, active foresight, or foresight accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use.
3. In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures. He that acknowledges a creation and denies a providence involves himself in a palpable contradiction; for the same power which caused a thing to exist is necessary to continue its existence. Some persons admit a general providence,but deny a particular providence, not considering that a general providence consists of particulars. ... By divine providence is often understood God himself.
*excerpted from Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary

Yes, I read dictionaries for fun. But that's beside the point.

As I think I've mentioned before, I love words. I love what you can do with them. Words can be powerful.

But words can also be useless if you don't know what they mean.

There are some words that my eyes slide right over without much thought, because they just don't mean anything to me. It's like the toddler who calls anything with four legs a "dog"; if I haven't formed a mental picture or understanding of something, it will likely go right over my head.

So it was with the word "providence." 

It's kind of old, not really in the vernacular, and definitely not cool. But I've just had an experience that gave "providence" a book's-worth of meaning for me:

For the first time in my life, I've been directly used in someone's salvation. 

Sure, I've talked to people about Jesus before, more than a few times. I've shared my testimony, written notes, stood up for truth when necessary, and, most importantly, made an effort to be a constant and encouraging friend, a ready ear, a safe place.

And I've known people who have given their lives to Christ and been changed by him. But I've always been on the outskirts, more of a seed-planter or waterer than a harvester, if you will.

That is, until Friday.

What happened that morning was crazy. It was really crazy, and it made no sense.

We were at a local nursing home, dancing in a tiny space, our Marley rolled out over carpet, in front of a giant fish tank. I think one of the clown fish had gotten a hold of someone's coffee, because he was spazzing out the whole time. Well, at least every time I looked that way.

It was our first time performing our new repertoire, in costumes we'd never danced in, and unaccompanied by our director (remember, the one with the baby?). In other words, *ideal* conditions.

We danced for nearly an hour. When we stopped, I suppose you know whose turn it was to take the mic.

Yep. Just garbling, tongue-tied, can-hardly-talk-to-her-friends-let-alone-other-people me. And I was out of breath.

I had carefully written what I would say.

Whatever the opposite of spontaneous is, that's what I am.

But God had other plans.  I really don't remember what I said. At one point, I suddenly heard what was coming out of my mouth, and the power of the truth of the gospel nearly overwhelmed me.

Suddenly all I could think of was someone in my family who does not believe this truth, who does not know the Lord. I had to stop talking, for fear I'd start to cry (and that's something I just don't do).

I don't know how long my mouth was shut. At least half a minute. That's when I noticed something that doesn't usually happen in nursing homes: People were paying attention.

I blinked, frantically took out the index card I hadn't been looking at, and started in again. I stumbled through the passage I had chosen and tried to muster a smile as I thanked everyone and told them all the dancers were coming back out to visit with them. I put down the mic and marched into the nearest hallway, almost mad at myself.

None of the others had ever botched it like this, I thought.

And then she came.

I don't know her name. I don't know anything about her. All I know is her tear-streaked face and her purple scrubs. That's all we had time for before she had to go.

But I know that on Friday, February 11th, God reached down, turned her around, and rescued her from herself, and she began a new life that morning.

And I was there! Thanks to the Lord, I was there!

God's power was again proven to me that morning.

He doesn't need me, and yet, for reasons no one on earth can understand, he chose to use me.

Nietzsche was very wrong. God is not dead. He is alive and very involved in the lives of His children.

This is providence.

I've now come to a satisfactory "working definition." No longer will I pass over the word like a green banana, looking for something that's easier to get into. When I encounter the word "providence," I will forever have that morning in my head.

Now I understand it.
And my understanding of the Lord has grown again.

"By divine providence is often understood God himself."

Do you have a story like this?


This is what happens...

...when an experiment goes awry. 

I've been wanting to do some "granny" squares for a while. I like the fact that you can use them to make a blanket without toting the whole thing around with you (because I do most of my work away from home). So I tried one out.

The original pattern was called "Alhambra" and was supposed to be about a foot square.

But once I got there I decided I didn't like it enough to make twenty-some-odd more like it. So I improvised and added on to where it is now.

But the question is:

What is it?
(Or what will it be?)


What is love?

I have a near-obsession with words and an affinity for poetry - the older the better!

Because of this, I have always loved the old hymns, and have been so glad to see that a few of them are being revived. Singing this one this morning gave me a much-needed reminder:

Love is not a feeling or state of being; 
It is an action, a "doing" verb.

"Here is love, vast as the ocean
Lovingkindness as the flood:
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom
 Shed for us His precious blood.

"Who His love will not remember?

  Who can cease to sing His praise?

  He can never be forgotten
  Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

"On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
 Flowed a vast and gracious tide.

"Grace and love, like mighty rivers,

 Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

"Let me all thy love accepting
 Love thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek thy kingdom only

 And my life be to thy praise.

Thou alone shall be my glory;
  Nothing in this world I seek.

  Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me;
  Thou thyself has set me free!

"In thy truth thou dost direct me
By thy Spirit through thy Word;

 And thy grace my need is meeting,

 As I trust in thee, my Lord.

Of thy fullness thou art pouring

 Thy great love and power on me,

 Without measure, full and boundless,

 Drawing out my heart to Thee.

"No love is higher! no love is wider!
 No love is deeper! No love is truer!
 No love is higher! No love is wider!
  No love is like Your love, o Lord."

Original Gaelic by William Rees, 1832; English translation my William Edwards; music by Robert Lowry, 1876; tag by Matt Redman


Oh, February.

Who are you and what are you doing in this world?

So dreary, so finicky, so... cold. Sometimes.

Today was one of those "sometimes." Our morning classes were cancelled due to icy roads and 16-car pileups, so we celebrated with chocolate chip waffles in the shape of...


I do love and miss my home state.
It's pretty much the most wonderful place in the country.


In the news...

One of my closest friends has a burden on her heart to see abortion ended.  She talks about it to anyone who will listen. She attends pro-life rallies. She writes letters to politicians. She spends hours upon hours praying and talking to girls on the sidewalks in front of our local abortion clinic.

One of her longtime friends is Lila Rose.

Perhaps you've heard of her?

At age 15, Lila Rose founded Live Action, a youth-led, non-profit, pro-life organization. Since then she'd made it her mission to uncover the illegal and inhumane practices of Planned Parenthood through undercover videos.

{You can visit LiveAction's facebook page here to stay updated.}

Her latest video has been all over the media the past few days. In this video, a Planned Parenthood manager gives advice on child sex-trafficking to two people she thinks are a pimp and one of his prostitutes, but are really actors working for Lila Rose. 

{If you haven't already, watch the video here}

Abortion is an issue I never heard or knew much about. That is, until I met my friend. 
Somehow, though I knew it happened, it was glossed over in my mind. Well, really, it wasn't in my mind at all, and definitely not anywhere near the vicinity of my heart. 

But God has used this dear friend to break my heart for something that is very close to His: that is, the  115,000 unborn children murdered for mostly social reasons every day.

And He's also changing my heart regarding the women and girls who have abortions. I have seen them go into the clinics with desperate faces; some set in steely determination, others with eyes on the verge of tears lowered painfully to the ground, some all by themselves, others ushered in by fierce-looking men or reproving mothers. I want to shout, to run after them, to take the baby away to somewhere safe. 

But they do not carry their children in their arms.

(A sign on the front door ominously reads "No children allowed.")

And so I can't. I can't shout at them, I can't run, for it would do no good. 

I can't protect those helpless babies.

The worst part is the cross sitting in the side window. That was when my heart-breaking happened.
To be honest, I lost it.

And I hope I never get it back.

I don't ever want to become comfortable with this again.

Oh Lord, would you never let this reality fade from my conscience! Give me your heart for the hopeless as well as the helpless.

With all that's wrong in the world, I often feel powerless to effect any kind of change. But I choose to press on, for He who promised is faithful, and I know that at the end of the race I will not have run in vain.

And so I encourage you to be strong and of good courage, to be bold in what you say, in what you do, in what you give, and especially in what you pray for.
We have full and privileged access to our Father's ear.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16