Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Monday!

116. Hometown Legend by Jerry B. Jenkins - an autumn tradition? I read it last Autumn and have picked it up again for a re-read. One of my favs!

117. Rows of homegrown green beans

118. Chirping crickets

119. Hazy, Indian corn sunsets

120. Apologetics

121. The beginning of autumn, my favorite season.

122. Listening to Focus on the Family really early in the morning.

123. Senior camp-out this past weekend

124. Mama and Dad's prayers over me.

125. Waking up with decent hair. smile.

126. Laughter in Spanish 3.

127. A tiny, cold mouse nibbling on cheese . . . our very real Spanish three mascot that has passed away. Poor little guy. :) He fell into a sink on the weekend and couldn't get out. :( At least he wasn't running loose. Oh boy. :)

128. How Jesus helped me with my anger and with loving.

130. Hope and tomorrows.

131. Hearing "Lead me to the cross" on the radio on the way to funeral.

133. Yellow shawl from Grandma's hardworking hands.

134. Toasty campfires

135. S'Mores . . . mmmm

136. Staying up until 2:30 am laughing with a friend

137. Jesus in the chaos.

138. Bright green leaves backgrounded by a brilliant blue sky.

139. Quiet nature walks with Him.

140. Playing games with my wildly wonderful senior class.

Happy Monday! Keep countin'! :)

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Sea of Gifts

Here goes! Time for another counting.

91. Guppy Memories (inside cousin joke . . . yay for those jewels :) smile)

92. Grandpa C's birthday party and him blowing out each candle in one powerful puff --- he's 89 years old. :)

93. Ann Kiemel on Focus on the Family (9-16-09) . . . love her!

94. Phone call from Asbury college.

95. Facebook inboxes from a girl I don't even know who has so graciously answered my Asbury questions . . . what a gift! :)

96. Late summer rain.

97. The way Almighty God used Psalms 28 to speak to my heart. I needed it. Desperately.

98. Ozzie dog --- my sister's dog. She is so quick to show herself friendly. :)

100. The one hundred gift mark --- God is soooo good!

101. Mulled spice candle - - Autumn is on its way (2pm tomorrow the new season begins . . . I'm counting down!)

102. English reading homework

103. Nailed down classes . . . I finally figured it out (that was stressful!).

104. Being able to watch Kevin Skinner win America's Got Talent with Barbara Pedilla in 2nd place . . . it's the ordinary people that God has used to grace our lives. They are truly beautiful.

105. A summer bike ride around the house.

106. Reminders to trust.

107. A rocking swing on our back porch and time for solitude.

108. Nice, warm showers.

109. The incredible, inspiring stories of Biggest Loser -- it's about the choices and how we think.

110. Communion at church . . . sacred.

111. Footwashing at church service last night . . . I know, some thing it's gross, but it is such a strong message of servitude, of grace, of Jesus.

112. A set of watercolor paints -- it's the little things :)

113. The cool breath of air after the rain.

114. Smell of Mom's baking ginger snaps.

115. Deep, encouraging notes from friends.

Though it's so tempting to consider today another "miserable Monday," it doesn't have to be, does it? Today's a day of gifts and miracles. We just have to wear the right glasses to catch each moment. :) I hope your day's wonderful . . . that you step out on the sand and wade deep in the mercy of God. He's with you!

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Revisiting Thursday

All right, general rule: I never write blog drafts; I just post cold turkey. :) On Thursday, however, I happened to distract myself by writing the following blog, which I edited today, and I wanted to share it with you. I also wanted to share that Jesus is reaching me and pulling me up. Continuously. I need Him. I hope it encourages you and reminds you that there is a Hand dangling near yours. It is strong and has the rough feel of a carpenter. There's even a deep, skin puncture in it, but it is the Hand of Love, and it is reaching for yours. Anyway, here goes:

Today was a rough day. As was yesterday. As was last week. I feel like the seams of my spirit are being torn, stitch by stitch. I was at the breaking point after leaving school today and heading home. I wasn't able to eat lunch, a guy in my class really disappointed me (but it definitely wasn't his fault by any means . . . it was mine. I had excepted something so impossible for the now.), I despised the way I was too loud, I was too tired, I was drowning with homework (and still am - - - now why am I doing this instead of homework, you ask? Good question . . . ), I was . . . broken. But after I got home and had eaten, I decided to go outside with my Bible and an English book. Things began to turn . . .

Sometimes, I truly think that what we need isn't the absence of our load or our struggle or are chaos. We just need a breath of fresh air, a breath of Jesus. That's what I took in as I walked around my house today. I poured it out, and He listened. I know it. I told Him that I'm not enough, that I'm driven by pleasing others, that I'm so sick of who I am right now, that this is only the second week and homework is a high tidal wave, threatening to drown me, that I'm not as strong as they think I am, that I'm not as connected to Him as they think I am. And you know what happened? I turned to this striking passage in Psalms 28. Here it goes in New International Version:

To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back upon them what they deserve. Since they show no regard for the works of the LORD and what His hands have done, He will tear them down and never build them up again. Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. The LORD is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.

These verses gently yet painfully knocked on my heart. Some of the lines that struck me were "who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts." I am ....... guilty. How easy it is to be superficial. How wrong it is to be anything less than genuine. Jesus, change me!

"My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped." I've been learning lately the importance of trusting. It is more important than I could have ever realized. If I don't completely lean on Him, I will fall. fail. splat.

"A fortress of Salvation" . . . Jesus is my castle. He is strong to save. I am safe.

"Be their shepherd and carry them forever." That is my heart cry. Jesus, will you do this for me? Please? I desperately need You. Desperately.

Well, this post is already well over how long it should have been. :( Rats. I've got to learn better. It's definitely raw and unrefined, but that's how I am. Jesus is changing me though. Minute by minute. Thought by thought. alleluia. :)

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Monday, September 14, 2009

. . Gifts . .

This week was kinda a hard week. I feel like I have to look harder for the gifts, but as I look back, that's my fault. I need to remember to keep my eyes open for the gifts God lays across my path. They're there, if I only choose to see.

71. One of my friends from Church is going to my school this year with me . . . a blessing.

72. Smiles from strangers

73. Denim skirts

74. The library had the book I've been waiting to read: Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello To Courtship (Joshua Harris) . . . I know, I know. I may be nerdish, but I'm excited. :) I want to do this thing right someday. :)

75. Laughing uncontrollably in a Rep. meeting at school

76. Getting wet . . . all the way, and the "warmth" of the water. Summer has not retreated yet. :)

77. An abundance of fresh, red tomatoes and eating one like an apple. Mmm. :)

78. New kids at school. I say a prayer for them . . . it must be so hard for the shy, lonely ones. I've kinda been there. It's not easy.

79. Fresh, new school year . . . a new chance. :)

80. Hearing the voice of a young girl I haven't seen in along time. She sounds okay, but I know her heart still needs prayer.

81. Clean, green sheets

82. That I only have one zero period this week (also known as one day I have to wake up super early and be at school at a whopping 7 am . . . but hey, normally it's three days a week . . . this is a gift!) Yay! :)

83. Jesus is journeying through my life with me . . . I need Him so much.

84. The way God protected me after I blew it. He's faithful. I'm sure there's been countless times where I've done something that could have gone sooo wrong. God is good. :)

85. Being able to walk. Such a simple thing, so often taken for granted, but I am so blessed.

86. Being young. Not like being older is bad, but I want to enjoy each season as they come. For now, I want to enjoy the rough challenge and the fun experiences of being young.

87. An old Sound of Music cassette. cousin memories. :)

88. Going to "B" park with my school for Eaglefest . . . a celebration and kickoff to a new school year.

89. Mercy.

90. Singing "Child of God" in chapel this morning . . . a song I so like. You can hear it on youtube here (but *disclaimer* . . . I haven't watched all of the video yet). I am so glad to be called a Child of God. What does that even mean? Someday, I think I'll know, when I look into His eyes. I think I'll know.

"With every breath / With every thought / From what is seen / To the deepest part / I offer all / That I've come to be / To know Your love / Fathering me." alleluia.

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roller Coaster Ride

The first week of school has been completely nailed away, finished. Yesterday I almost felt like I had just ended a ride on a twirling, whirling roller coaster and was left awe-struck and wind-blown, just sitting there wondering if this really just happened. If it really is happening. School has begun. I have stepped over the railing on into the ride. There's NO getting off until June 12th. OHHHHH boy. :)

It was a hard week. I ended it exhausted and irritable yesterday, of which I had no excuse. Never an excuse. Looking back, I know I need to play this week differently. It's time for me to revisit my goals. Selflessness. Trust. Humility. How did I really do this week?

If you peel back the thick layers, I am an addicted people-pleaser. It's ingrained deep, deep down. It controls me. Directs me. Moves me. I am enchained, but the irons must be broken. One good thing about this awful control is that the people I want to please aren't the drug addicts or the "bad kids" or the secular "in" crowd per se. Normally, it's my parents, people who give the impression that they think I can do no wrong, that I'm perfect, that I've got it all together, that I'm a faultless shining light. Now, take a step back. That should be good, right? No. I am constantly chasing the wind, perfection, and falling flat each time I fail. IT HURTS. I went through this week flippantly. Trying to survive. Trying to melt in with the rest of my class. Trying to be accepted socially. Grasping for love. But as I looked back at the end of the day, I didn't reach out enough to the new kids like people may have thought I should have. I was louder than I should have been. I laughed too frequently. I wasn't enough. I came home exhausted and took that exhaustion out at the dinner table. Exhaustion translated into irritability and unkindness. I had to keep the tears back way too often. And I had to think, this is only the first week.

But thankfully, this is only the first week. Lord willing, there are many more to come. And by the grace of a loving God, they must be different. Let me take a step back a little if I may . . .

Jesus, I lived life without purpose most of this week. I just lived. Just dived. And then there were regrets. I didn't measure up. I fell short. But honestly, I'm not so sure that's the main issue. I wasn't living for You, Most High. I was just living. I want to live with hope, with a joy-song. I want to carry Your word in my mind throughout the day. I want to pray like I breathe. I want to enjoy my classmates, Jesus, enjoy this short experience called Senior Year, but I want to enjoy it IN YOU. Not apart from You, never apart from You. My heart needs to be changed. The crusty walls need to be torn down and washed clean. Will You come, Lord? Will You work in this heart? Will You paint a fresh coat upon the walls and dust the neglected corners? I'll help. What can I do? And Jesus? I am so controlled by what I think people will think about me. I am driven by a force I was never meant to be driven by. I need help. Will You set me free?

I'm so glad that each new week starts on Sunday. I'm so ready for a brand spankin' new week. :) I'm thankful for each new moment. Each new day. I'm excited for a new chance to truly "walk humbly with my God," for a clean new slate. And with Jesus, I'm going to try hard to do this week right, to live purposely, driven by His hands. Let's do it! :)

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Monday, September 7, 2009

Double Post Day --- Part 2

School begins . . . um, . . . *sweaty palms, hard time swallowing, you know* . . . um . . . tomorrow. Wow. Where has the summer gone? I definitely have mixed feelings about this whole school thing. Excitement mingled with dread. I wanted to take some time though to share some of my goals, to get my thoughts together and spill them out before they can be retracted. Here goes!

This year, I want to be more selfless. I have been overwhelmed lately at the height of my selfishness. It hits me at intervals and is defeating and painful and ugly. Jesus, will you crucify me? Will You come into my life that it's You who moves the pulses of my mind and the throbbing of my heart? Will You be the One who moves my hands to reach out and who enables my feet to move forward? Will You remove my desire to be needed? To be the Best? To be the most Loved? To be the Smartest? To be the Kindest? Let me just be like You, Jesus. That's all I need. No ulterior motives. No shady agendas. I don't even know where to begin on learning selflessness. Will You help me? Reach down?

Trust is another thing. There are so many decisions to be made this year. What college? Where do I find the scholarships? Will I survive taking SATs?! But yet again, Proverbs beckons my heart to slow its beat, to rest safe.

"Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, AND HE WILL MAKE STRAIGHT YOUR PATHS."

Jesus, it sounds so easy. But it's hard. Make that my verse. My anchor. Please. Let me lean on no crutches. Just on You.

This year, I want to be in the pride-killing business. Drastic sounding? Yes, I know. But There Is No Other Way. I want Humility to grace my steps. Each school year, I used to go back thinking, you know what? This year, I'm going to be confident. I'm going to show the popular folks that I really do have it all together. That I'm not a little mole but can hold my own. Not this year, Jesus. Let me not worry about rising above. Teach me confidence in You, yes, but most importantly, show me who I am in reference to You. Be my reference point, Jesus. Be my steady strength.

My prayer for this year is that God would use me, a very broken instrument, that He'd keep my ears and eyes open to the needs, but most of all, that He would be glorified in my crooked, broken life. I pray that I would be REAL, not a cheap fake. No acting, just being. Well, this wraps up my goals for the moment. Tomorrow will be the day to put it into practice. Oh boy. :) The adventure awaits, now I must get this shy adventurer ready. Jesus, will you help me?

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Jesus, I don't have it all together. Re-reading this post, it almost makes it sound like I'm gathering it all together. Honestly, I'm going to probably be an emotional wreck tonight. Home is where I can be myself, relax, live. I don't want to go back to the chaos, to school. Sure, I really really want to see people again, but I'm not ready. I'm broken, reluctant. Help!

Double Post Day --- Part 1

Happy Labor Day and Multitude Gifts Monday! :) Here goes a continuing list . . .

41. Sunshine yellow pansies from my Grandpa, the fulfillment of his word.

Earlier in the summer, Sister got sick, and he brought her beautiful red Gerbers. He told me with a grin that if I ever got sick, he'd get me flowers too. Well, a little before and during my family's road trip in early July, I got sickish. By the time we were back, I was fine. Anyway, Grandpa remembered his word and with Grandma bought me and suprised me with these cheery, yellow pansies. :)

42. That Grandma remembered I liked yellow. Her mind isn't always very quick these days.

43. Make believe African hunting trips with kiddos I babysat last week.

44. One last day of summer vacation.

45. Given bouquets of shining flowers.

46. Serving a meal assembly-line style with other girls in youth group at Church event.

47. Conviction of sin scum in my life. Awful feeling, but now, Lord willing, God and I can take care of it.

48. Eating Sunday dinner with dear older friends and being blessed by their stories.

49. Being blessed by elderly people after siniging and playing instruments with Mom and Sister for them.

I've got to take a quick moment and share a story about that one. So it was a hymn sing service that my Mom, Sis, and I were playing at and part of the service included the elderly people choosing songs for us to sing. Well, Mom had me playing piano cold turkey, and I completely fumbled across some of that music. (Now why in the world did they have to pick songs with 5 flats or 3 sharps??? smile) It was so discouraging, and I felt failure-ish. After the service, an elderly man came up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me. He made some comment about me playing piano and being able to sight read. I told him that I made so many mistakes. And you now what he told me? We couldn't hear them. I know this is so grotesquely cliche, but I grudgingly came up with music for this hymn sing out of an awfully selfish spirit. Mom reminded me that we were there to do it for Jesus and to bless those people. They were the ones who blessed me. Such a gift . . . one that I would try to grasp and stick in a mason jar if I could. :)

50. A new baby cousin-once-removed. She's beautiful!

I still don't understand how a girl can actually have a girl (or boy) inside of her?! Our God is miraculous!

51. Unsweetened ice tea . . . Mmm.

52. A Garden to Keep by Jaimie Langston Turner . . . so sad I had to finish it last night. Kinda wish it could have just gone on and on and on.

53. A new haircut -- yay for short-er hair!

54. A good walk and talk with Friend.

55. Seeing friends at school's orientation and seeing classmates who won't be going to my school this year - - I'm gonna miss 'em tons, but it was a gift to see them. :)

56. Laughing with Sister in car on Saturday.

57. One last birthday surprise for Sister -- her Friend spent the night.

58. Fast paced game of Dutch Blitz.

59. Proverbs 3:5-6 -- verses that I've been seeing everywhere lately! A hint from Heaven?

60. Set aside moments of silent prayer.

61. Reminder that when it comes to trials, God's people have gotta be good sports. We wear His "jersey," bear His name.

62. Hearing a two-year-old call me "Miss Danae."

63. Long phone chats with Friend.

64. A fresh cupcake, decorated as artwork, given as a gift in a fancy cupcake box. :)

65. Figuring out that I have classes with some of my dear friends!

66. Communities of prayer.

67. Homemade taffy! :)

68. Singlehood.

69. Beautiful hymns played classically, peacefully on a free cassette my Mom got recently . . . I know, casettes are olden days, but there's still treasures found among the ranks. :)

70. God's enablement of me playing violin and of owning a violin. An indescrible gift and an answer to a child-prayer.

I know this is a little longer of a list than normal, but as I was writing them out last night, I couldn't stop! I am overwhelmed with Heaven-blessings. Jesus has given me so much!

I hope your day is filled with Gift-Counting. :) Happy Monday!

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae