Monday, September 29, 2008

talking to myself

i'm a firm believer in self talk. if something unfortunate happens, i often try to help myself find something good about the situation. or if i have to do something requiring gumption, i generally give myself a small pep talk before doing the deed. martha claims my middle name should be "motivational speaker" but i think the only reason i can give such speeches to other people, is because i give them so often to myself. =)

the past few weeks have involved a fair bit of self talk, especially in regards to one specific thing. the way self talk usually works for me is that, as silly as it sounds, i talk myself through something that is difficult or challenging (in this case, both) and it makes it much easier to deal with.

but then, once in a while, i get the wind knocked out of me.
like yesterday morning
a sucker punch to my gut-
something that i hadn't considered in my attempts to convince myself.
and i realize that it really does hurt.
self talk may be quite helpful, but that doesn't mean it gives me my breath back or stops the subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) ache.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

mindful of me

be thou my vision/o lord of my heart

i am so amazed by his love for me.
i am truly weak and full of unbelief-
on monday i knew, i really knew with all of my being that jesus is lord of my heart. and as i was in church today, i realized that in the days between monday night and sunday morning i had lost sight of that unmistakable truth.

how can God continue to be so patient with me?

"what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" -psalm 8:4

"the LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. the LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. my mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. let every creature praise his holy name forever and ever." -psalm 145:8-9, 21

one of my favorites

i can’t fully explain what i feel when i am
listening to the waves crash against the shore
feeling the warmth of the sun on my flesh

but something in my soul is satisfied.
i am content.
sand. water. sun. sea grass. driftwood. waves.
and sharing it all with molly.

the beach is one of my favorite gifts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

called by name

for res. life seminar we were given the assignment to reflect on our name, and what meaning is associated with our name. here's what i came up with:

One of my favorite stories about my name is how my name was chosen. Although all of my brothers, who were born after me, have Biblical names, I find my own name to still be special. My parents had a difficult time deciding what my name should be, and after many long hours of talking through different names, only one name could be agreed upon: Alison. As the name of a dear family friend and the solitary name my parents could come to an agreement upon, my name has special meaning. And despite a lack of a Biblical character associated with my name, I do not feel left out of my family, because my name means “truthful one,” which is something God calls each of us to be.

This story is told most often by my parents, to friends and family, but especially during introductions to strangers or acquaintances when it is recognized that my name doesn’t appear to have the same Biblical theme as my brothers. I think this story is most important because it is often told to, in a way, validate my place in my family. I always feel loved when it is told, because of the sense of belonging that is implied as I am claimed by my family through the story-telling.

I think I was given my names because of the meaning associated with each of them. My last name seems to be almost a mantle of acceptance, an automatic ticket of inclusion into my family. There wasn’t great debate or decision-making associated with what my last name would be. It was merely known that when I was born into my family I would be given the same name that the rest of my family shares. My middle name is less known by the general population as my first and last name, which seems to make it a little more special, like a secret that you only share with your close friends. My middle name is shared with my Grandma, which also seems to reflect some of my personality. It seems to me that like my less pronounced character qualities (for example, my dramatic and silly side) are like my less known middle name-known by those closest to me but very present. My first name is what I am called the most, but this name also has the most variations to it. While I never introduce myself as anything but, “Alison” it does give me a secret delight when others chose to call me by a nickname. I feel as though by calling me “Ali” or some other variation of my name, they are claiming our relationship, claiming me at a deeper level.

My name is more than just what people call me. It is what I am known by. Proverbs 22:1 says that “ A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” While I did not have any input into what my name would be, I do have a great role in shaping what my name will become through my actions. I believe that God calls me by name, but I also believe that God tells me what my name will be. Just as he changed Jacob’s name, I think that God wants to change me. The “Alison” that I would be apart from God is very different from the “Alison” that God desires to shape me to be.

Throughout the years, there have been several times where I have been asked the question, “if you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?” I have also been at a loss for an answer to this question, because I have never disliked my name. My feelings are quite the contrary actually! I truly believe that it is one of the greatest human desires to know and be known. God has created us to be relational beings. If my name is one of the primary ways I am known, and with it is attached a sense of belonging, security, and worth, why would I ever want to give that up? I am confident that God calls me by name. Beyond anything my family or friends could ever offer me, God chooses me, claims me, secures me as his own when he calls me by name.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

a hope of my heart

when i think of jesus, i don't generally think of him as romantic.
merciful or humble or just or kind maybe,
but not romantic.

tonight matt maher played a song about a couple who had married for many faithful years. as i closed my eyes and listened to the words, i felt my heart hope for such a future.

my heart hopes to be told, both now and even after many years that i am wanted. that i am desired. that i am needed. that he will listen to my problems. that he will stay up with me. that he will hold my tears. that he will calm my fears. that he will hold me. that he will stay with me.

jesus knows my desire to be married. aside from being God and knowing everything, i tell him that desire. as i said in my life story to my staff just a few weeks ago, one of my "ninevahs," one of the hardest things God could ask of me is to be single for all of my time on earth.

as i listened to the song tonight, i felt God whisper to my soul-
whether or not i choose to reveal my love for you through a man is up to me.
trust me.
rest in me.
abide in my love.
because, my beloved, i WILL reveal my vast love for you, which is greater, more passionate and more beautiful than any love a man has ever felt for a woman.
the words you long to have said to you,
the way you desire to be pursued,
the intimacy you crave,
the sweetness of romance you want-that i created you to want,
is everything i feel for you.
rest in my love. let me love you, Alison.

by no means do i feel as though i am guaranteed a husband after tonight, but i do feel the guarantee of God's love over me, which i am finding is more than enough.

"the Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
he will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
-zephaniah 3:17

a glimpse

matt maher led us in worship both in chapel and in concert tonight.

there are special moments when i am worshiping God in song,
and i get goose-bumps.
it is in these moments when i feel as though God is giving me a gift-
a small glimpse of the pleasure he receives when we sing his praises and the great joy awaiting us in heaven.
tonight was one of those times.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the main event

saturday night was my fourth main event.
as always, it was full of craziness, planning and lots of people i really like.
the theme this year was the olympics, with the apartments hailing from the country of narnia, making us the red team. (martha and i wore fairy wings to demonstrate our team spirit.)
it was a fierce competition,
and apartments got #2!
strong work team.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

story people

last night molly and i were having a conversation about jesus and if he were physically here today.
what would his profession be?
would he stick with carpentry?
who would he hang out with?
what kind of clothes would he wear?
would he watch movies?

although i only have speculations for most of these hypothetical situations, i would like to argue that i think he would watch movies. maybe not all movies, but i do think he would watch movies.
i think he created us with a nature that needs stories.
we want the best story for ourselves as is possible.
when something comes along that tells a better story, we change our course.
when we truly believe the jesus story, we change our story to become jesus people.
all that to say, i think movies are one way we tell stories during these modern times, so i think jesus would watch them.
anyway, i recently saw sandlot for the first time (which i confess i thought was a beach movie, but soon learned was about baseball.) but i was impressed by alot of the jesus themes in it. one of my favorite parts is when benny invites smalls to play baseball with the gang, knowing full well that he is awful. smalls even knows he's terrible at the game, and offers to leave after missing a play. but benny encourages him. he makes him feel wanted. and he's good enough at baseball that he doesn't just include him, but he helps him learn the game.
maybe a little cheesy, but i really resonated with this acceptance. jesus does this in so many ways for us. we're terrible. he knows we're terrible and we know we're terrible. but he picks us anyway. he encourages us. he wants us for his gang. and he's good enough at life (because he's God) that he doesn't just include us, he helps us, stands by us as we figure stuff out.

"how do i catch it?"
"just stand out there and stick your glove out in the air.
i'll take care of it."


today in my counseling class we talked about being genuine.
it was said that it can be quite tiring to be yourself at work, at home and everywhere else.
sometimes its easier to play a role.
it was also said that it is more tiring to be authentic in all areas of life when you are an introvert.
which might explain a little of why i'm tired.
i haven't had heaps of homework like i normally do. granted, i've had some, but not heaps.
but i have been working hard to be authentic in my interactions during one-on-ones, with my room-mate, with friends...
and its tiring.

so i took a nap this afternoon.
much better. =)

Monday, September 15, 2008

you are wonderful

as i think back to chapel today
and the calm and peace he gave me as i gave him my worship,
the words to this sara groves song fill my heart.

i feel so undeserving.
i feel so unworthy.
yet he is wonderful.
he is wonderful to me.

"i have been talking to you since i was a little girl
so many sweet memories of giving you my world

you are wonderful - a friend to the weary
you have been so faithful - your goodness follows me
you are beautiful your love neverending

i was just wondering today how over all these years
you've carried so many cares
calmed so many fears

you are wonderful - a friend to the weary
you have been so faithful - your goodness follows me
you are beautiful your love neverending"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

team camo

team camo has a special place in my heart.
over the course of the evening,
everyone came over, except for the man in arizona.
but he is well represented in the bottom picture. =) oh cash money.

catch phrase
"this has to be the cause of many teenage suicides-such pressure!" -J
imagine iff
"imagine if cash were a dog...
he is so many of these!"

and hoodwinked-
these were all elements which added to a fun evening!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

brownie gems

i really like making food for people.
and this is no exception.
team camo is coming over tonight, and its time to try a new recipe-
brownie gems.

a hidden surprise of a milky way inside dark chocolate brownie cups
i think i have a winner.

sunflowers and sunshine

things i love-
sunflower fields
driving in jordan
wandering around blockbuster with martha
being martha's AAC

Friday, September 12, 2008

wringing my heart

if the past week has taught me anything-
with hurt from gossip
with my heart warming to some dear people
with reading donald miller

i know that God made us for relationships-
relationships with others.
relationship with Him.

and even though it hurts sometimes and is scary, it is totally and completely worth it, because that is what i was made for.

passion for relationships always involves risk.
false passions/shallow relationships involve little or no risk to self.

and this is what Jesus is all about-
risking it ALL for what is most important:
relationship with HIM and with people

"love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. if you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. but in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. it will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. to love is to be vulnerable."
-c.s. lewis

jesus, save me from the temptation to hide my heart in a casket.
keep it warm and vulnerable.
use my heart.
let me love others the way you love.
but please hold me when it hurts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


i love my job.
i mean, i really love it.
there aren't many jobs that you are asked to hang out with people.
tonight my one-on-one with elizabeth included wanted posters and riding a mechanical bull.
i love my job.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

photo walk

things i like-
catching up with carrie
photo walks
talking on a park bench down by the river
remembering God's hand in both of our lives

Thursday, September 4, 2008


God gave me this in my devotions today. and it was exactly what i needed. i didn't realize how much until tonight after the fullness of today, when i read it again.
but once again, i am amazed at how God takes care of my needs and seeks to bless me with his provision.

"straining and striving does not accomplish the work God gives us to do. only God himself, who always works without stress and strain and who never overworks, can do the work he assigns to his children. when we restfully trust him to do it, the work will be completed and will be done well. and the way to let him do his work through us is to so fully abide in christ by faith that he fills us to overflowing.

a man who learned this secret once said, "i came to jesus and drank, and i believe i will never be thirsty again. my life's motto has become "not overwork but overflow," and it has already made all the difference in my life.

there is no straining effort in an overflowing life. and it is quietly irresistible. it is the normal life of omnipotent and ceaseless accomplishment into which christ invites each of us to enter-today and always." -streams in the desert, from sunday school times

i feel like this whole week (and i would even say the past few weeks, starting with walkabout) God has filled me to overflowing. there have been quite a few frustrations (today more than i was expecting) but i have felt at peace. i'm really trying not to get ahead of God, but to rest in him. to trust that he might actually know more about my future and have a better plan than i do. by no means am i all the way there. today was quite challenging as it showed me how even when i'm being obedient, i am by no means exempt from needing to depend on him.
today was a good reminder of my need to place my unknowns into the hands of a knowing God.
because he not only takes care my unknowns and all my needs, but he fills me to overflowing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

worth a thousand words

instead of skits to demonstrate the rules during our APT all area meeting on sunday,
we took pictures to show what to do/what not to do.
(photos were taken by devan-strong work.)

these pictures make me happy.
how i love these people already.