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last night was cool. it was cool because there are few times when reality lives up to your expectations. so often we find ourselves disappointed, which i think is actually good because it’s a natural reminder that this isn’t all there is–that we long for more because there is more.

but last night stood up to test! last night, holly, kitty and I piled in my car and made our way to Xenia, Ohio, a little town that i’ve occassionally heard of but never ventured and never really cared to venture to. except in this case, because Tara Leigh Cobble was playing a show there. only an hour’s drive away, it was quite an opportunity because upon reading her first book we all would say, “I want to be her friend!”

last night, we were! we arrived at the church, where they were serving tasty Starbucks-y drinks (I often think that churches do Starbucks better than Starbucks does). when TLC started playing, we moved up into the front row to watch. my favorite thing was that when she sang she looked so happy and looked like she was singing to God, which i think is pretty amazing. because we were front-and-center, she said hi and asked us our names. a few of her songs made all of us teary-eyed but there was one that was oh-so (sadly) true: she sang about how when you meet a guy and if he’s taller than you and, especially, if he’s wearing a cross around his neck (or in my case, goes to a christian school or works at a christian company or has “Jesus” under his list of Myspace heroes), you immediately start imagining your future together. so sad to say that that’s something i struggle with all the time, but it was nice to know i’m not the only one!

afterward we waited till the crowd around her thinned and went up to say hello. it’s so nice when people who you imagine and hope are nice actually are. we hung out with her and you’d just think she was someone we met at the mall or at a party, not someone who spends her time driving the country and writing books and singing songs and whose memoir we read and hung onto every word. she invited us to hang out with her as she packed up and shared some strawberries that they’d given her backstage. she’s really as nice and sweet and funny and real as we’d imagined.

when we said our goodbyes and made our way back to the highway, we detoured to “dorothy lane” exit, found some food and then pulled into cincinnati after midnight. it was a great trip, and grounded me as to the kind of person i hope to grow into: who can touch lives and inspire people and who people can tell really loves Jesus and means it. sometimes i’m afraid that i just look like a shod, that my heart is no different from anyone else’s… but that’s for a whole other entry.

thank you, tlc for being our friend, even if only for a short evening!!

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i recently finished reading a modern-day nun’s memoir “forever and ever, amen.” it’s quite admirable the things she learns when she enters right out of high school and how open-armed the convent is, to this girl who sneaks in vodka-injected oranges and who was admittedly wild and unruly. the girls enter green and the convent allows them to pursue God and get to know him; through things like obedience, seeing God in everyone–especially their enemies, fighting for injustice, sharing, sisterhood, supporting one another even when you don’t  agree with them, knowing when to bend the rules when another sister needs it for camaraderie, wisdom, silence, prayer, solitude…

things that i know i must learn, and many of them exemplified by the older Sisters that the author admired most. i too want to learn those things. because they’re so poignant. and because i know that upon learning them, they can change my life.

she writes, at one point, “it was the everyday blessings that ripened me the most.” as i think i mentioned (but perhaps i didn’t) i was reading an article about dating and how God works through ordinary means. this sentence reminded me of that. and to learn to see God in everything–the big as well as the small. it’s so easy to see him in the big, where it’s undeniable. but to see His handiwork in the small and subtle seems to be reflective of an atuned spirit. i don’t want to forget or neglect or underappreciate all he does for me. or ever feel like i can do all this on my own. i want to be sure to appreciate all he’s given me.

i’m beginning to think about my tattoo and it bearing the word: “blessed.” because isn’t it so? isn’t it so terribly so?

and i’m alright now, and i’m alright now
and i was blind and hypnotized; i could not see
you had me wrapped up in this mess again
but i broke free…

I’m not sure what’s been going on lately, because it seems like there’s been a lot of transitions lately, with people losing their jobs. Perhaps I’m just now paying attention and when one thing happens, you perk your ears for other incidents. Or perhaps it’s just the economy claiming its dues.

I’m not sure, but it’s a somber reality that people who love what they do and are sacrificial in nature, have to get asked to do something else. It’s something that ought to be their choice, but instead is thrust upon them. But you know, maybe that’s the reason—they love what they do so much that they’re unwilling to leave, so God has to intercede and have someone else make the choice for them, to prod them onto the greener pastures that await.

I don’t know. But I am quite inspired, watching people take what could be bitter and sour and really crappy, and see—rather, embrace and TRUST—the possibility in it. One of the women I look up to/admire most got let go from her job and sent out an email that exemplifies that admirable kind of heart perfectly:

Every good and perfect gift comes down
from the Father of Heavenly lights.”
James 1:17

I wasn’t sure if this decision was from men or from God, so I asked my God and he was kind enough to tell me that it was a gift from him … that he was setting me free to do other work for him.

Please be happy with me and for me … and for Eastside and its people as God continues to “move in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.” 

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