7 Quick Takes: 4/19/13

It’s Friday once again! This one seemed to creep up on me without any type of warning, and I’ll be honest…I wasn’t ready for it, but here we go….7 Quick Takes:

1.) I have decided to start running. I found a pin on Pinterest that is supposed to take me from my couch to running a 5K. I am really looking forward to starting this training. I know it will help me lose weight, and improve my health. If any of you have done this program let me know how it went! 
2.) It has been raining here non-stop just about all week. We’ve had storms, and pouring rain for a few days straight….and even a tornado watch yesterday (Praise God none touched down). I love spring storms though! The non-stop rain is not that great but I love a good storm! The smell of rain, the rumble of the thunder, and the beauty of God’s creation all around when the storm clears! For me, this is a sign that spring has finally arrived! 
3.) There is a lot being crossed off my schedule finally! Things are slowing down a little bit more around here. We have one more HUGE catering job this weekend, and when that’s over I can focus solely on the Night of Worship concert that is coming up at church: Featuring all of our kids’ choirs, Jr./Sr. High praise bands, College/Young Adult Praise band, and the regular Choir and Orchestra. I’m looking forward to participating in this really unique worship experience. 
4.) Have you seen this video? If not take a minute to watch it…I can wait!
Okay, now that you’ve watched it, let me be honest with you. This video really got to me. I was a crying mess when I was done watching this. It hit pretty close to home for me. I shared a few weeks ago that I’ve always had body issues…but those didn’t always stem from my weight. If I had to describe myself to an artist I’m afraid of what the result would be. In my head I was coming up with what I’d say, and it’s not pretty. I have never seen myself as beautiful, and maybe that’s because I see myself each day in the mirror. A lot of my negative image came from being bullied in Jr. and Sr. High for my appearance. I have a hereditary condition that throws my hormones out of whack, and causes some slightly darker facial hair…..now, I know that a lot of women deal with that issue, it’s nothing new but when you are bullied consistently for 6-7 years because of it you start to believe the things you hear.
5.) Now that I’m older this particular problem is not at all as bad as it was back then…but occasionally I still hear the voice of that bully in the back of my mind telling me I’m not good enough, pretty enough, that I didn’t fit the world’s standard of beauty. I still have those days even now. I don’t take compliments very well because I have a hard time believing that anyone would think I was beautiful. 
6.) God doesn’t make mistakes….I know that, and I’m starting to finally see that. I have a very dear friend who has helped me come through this part of my life, and I thank God everyday for the difference I see in me because of her. The Dove Real Beauty video brought me back to that negative place, and helped me see that what I see everyday is not what everyone else sees when they see me. I’m hard on myself because I bought into the lies early on about what beauty is…..not anymore!
7.) Praying today for Jen and her baby, and the people of Boston and Waco Texas after the terrible events of this last week. 
Thanks for stopping by! Now go see Grace over at Camp Patton to read some more QT’s and add your link!

Have a great weekend everyone!



7 Quick Takes: One Louder Edition

Joining Jen and the rest at Conversion Diary for a little Friday Fun, be sure to check it out.

So, last week I told you all about Disciple Now, and I promised you a recap; here it is:

1.) We kicked off the weekend with a leadership meeting, and prayer for all of the kids that would be participating. We went over rules and expectations, and got ready to welcome them for the weekend.

Handbook/Note Keeping Journal
2.) Usually a rule on weekends like this is that (for the students) cell phones, i-devices, tablets, etc., etc, are not allowed. This one was different however. We literally wanted to be One Louder for the whole weekend. So, we allowed the students to keep their electronics. We blew up Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all weekend using the hashtag #OneLouder. 
2a.) On Sunday, to wrap up, we were told that our tweets were seen by a possible 140K people! How awesome, that our message went viral! At one point in the weekend we were “Trending”. 
3.) The theme of the weekend was One Louder. Andrew, our Sr. High Pastor said it best in his blog this week:

One Louder is buzz language for living out of ones own comfort zone and reaching outside to those who don’t yet know the love of Christ. One Louder is the acceptance of the outcast, the defense of the oppressed, the standing up for the bullied, and the love for the unlovable. Ultimately One Louder is a life lived for the other.

 You can find him at Arpology... he was the creative genius behind this weekend.

Our speaker for the weekend was our College Pastor, in one of his messages he said that we need to live our lives as an 11-out-of-10, One Louder, one more than normal. He also said that  we need to think outside the “soap”box. One louder isn’t necessarily street corner preaching, but that it could be Shiva…the Jewish mourning tradition of just being present. One Louder could be just listening to someone talk, when someone asks you to pray for them instead of adding it to your list take the time right then to pray WITH them.

4.) I had the most amazing group of girls to spend the weekend with. They are all struggling with issues that I dealt with at that age, and in one of them I see so much of myself. I could tell that she (more than the others) was really struggling to fit in, and that reminded me so much of my eighth grade self. I was able to have some great talks with her, and just be a friend for all of them this weekend. We started with small groups on Friday night, and right off the bat got into some pretty deep spiritual discussions, and I could tell right then what we were in store for, for the rest of the retreat. We did some get to know you stuff where the girls introduced themselves, and then got to ask me any question that they wanted to. I highly recommend this to anyone in a youth leadership position: I had them write on a slip of paper (anonymously) any question they wanted to…spiritual, fashion, relationships, nothing was off limits….and then I had to answer. Let me tell you, things got emotional. We talked about our spiritual journeys, friendship troubles, the importance of knowing that no matter how you feel about what you see in the mirror, GOD sees beauty! I got emotional, and so did my girls.

Then when we had gathered ourselves together we settled in with popcorn, and homemade peanut butter fudge and watched The Princess Bride. Which up until this point in my life I had never seen…..Holy Twoo Wuv Batman! It was AWESOME! I didn’t know what I was missing until now…..Loved it!

5.) Saturday was a day of service. We were sent all over the community to do a day of service projects. I went with my girls over to a local clothing closet, and food distribution center. We painted, vacuumed, sorted through bags of donated items, cleaned windows inside and out, and scrubbed floors. We did all that in two hours, and still had two more to go. We headed back for the church where we joined in on the folding of 4,000 plastic grocery bags for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan…yes, we folded 4,000 plastic bags! It was fun!

6.) I had a wonderful weekend, hanging out with the teens, seeing old friends, and remembering my time as a student on these retreats. These kids have committed themselves to living One Louder! They have said that they are not ashamed of the Gospel! I saw the power of God working in them! How amazing it was to see prayers answered this weekend!

7.)   Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” 

 One Louder. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel, don’t be ashamed of your faith, of who you are in Christ! Live your life as and 11-out-of-10! Let your actions, your unyielding faith, your love speak One Louder! I know that in this society it isn’t always easy, God never promised that your cross wouldn’t be heavy, but he did promise to bring you through. Living One Louder may sound impossible, but not with God on your side. I can’t wait to see where he takes this. We can be One Louder here at home, or on an international mission field. We can be One Louder as a pastor, or as a psychologist. God can use you wherever you are, whatever your circumstance he can use you to be One Louder!

Thank you so much for your prayers for this weekend! I would like to ask that you keep praying for our teens, as they return back to “normal” life. Being back at school, and at home for some is not always easy. Please continue to pray.

Allow me to leave you with this….here is a picture of me (on the right) and my best friend.

The two of us met seven years ago as students at Disciple Now, and were back this year as leaders! I trust this girl with my life. We keep each other accountable, we keep each other in line, and we confide in each other…thanks to a Disciple Now seven years ago….I got to witness friendships like ours formed this weekend. Thanks be to God for putting these people in our lives!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!