A change in the making...

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She gets it!

Last week Heidi mentioned that one of her friends was upset with her because she felt like Heidi was giving more attention to a new friend (a new girl to her school who moved here from Florida) and ignoring the existing friend. I told her she needs to make sure to include the existing friend, as well. We don’t throw out old friends just because new ones come along. She agreed and then said she was worried that the existing friend was really mad at her and she didn’t think she would even want to be her friend anymore. (Yes, I realize 2nd grade girls are fickle little things, but this is MY little girl we are talking about.) We talked about how we can only control our own behavior. Do the right thing and act in love. With that I mind, it’s no longer your problem if your existing friend doesn’t accept it.

Fast forward to today…

I get a text message every morning from PulseFM, the local Christian radio station. They call it “The Pulse Morning Nugget”. It’s usually an encouraging word and a scripture reference that goes with it. This morning it said, “Find joy in all circumstances. Proverbs 15:15”

Heidi and I were in the bathroom brushing our teeth and doing our hair when it came through so I read it to her. Then I looked up the verse in my bible app and asked her to read a couple verses. We started at verse 13 which says, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. 14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. 15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. 16 Better is little with the fear of The Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.”

I explained that it all comes down to the fact that your joy comes from The Lord. Even in the worst circumstances, we can be happy and joyous because we have a hope and a friend in Jesus. For example, if all of your friends leave you and you have no one to play with, you don’t have to worry because you have a friend in Jesus. The troubles we have on earth won’t last forever. When we all get to heaven, we will look back and think about how silly it was for us to worry about all the things we are worried about now.

She said, “You know mom, this is really good and it will probably help me today at school. Sometimes I do worry that all my friends will leave me.”

Then I heard angels sing…. ;)

It makes me ridiculously happy that she gets it and can see a real life application.

Filed under devotional PulseMorningNugget Proverbs kids Jesus bible TheWord joy friend inJesus

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Switchfoot & Chicago

I first fell in love with Switchfoot in 2002 when I bought the soundtrack for the movie, “A Walk to Remember”. Such fond memories…. I recall going on a road trip with Mom, Dad, Levi and Kenny to the U.P. that summer and making them listen to the album on repeat the whole way there and back. Obsessed.

So my long-time love of the band made me decide to buy a VIP pass for their show in Chicago at The House of Blues. (This was my 2nd time seeing them live but 1st time meeting them.) That allowed me to go in to listen during sound check and meet the guys. EEEEEEE!

I should also mention that this was a solo trip. This was my first time traveling alone. I feel so liberated! I should have done this years ago!

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This was taken at a stop light when I got off the exit in Chicago. Very exciting!

Next, I checked in at the recently renovated Kinzie Hotel downtown. It was LOVELY! I got a discount since they were celebrating their “grand reopening”. I couldn’t have been more pleased. The room was delightful. The staff was inviting and friendly. The location was perfect. It was a 3-minute walk from the front door to the House of Blues.

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That’s me! This is apparently what you do when you travel alone….take mirror selfies. :)

After I got settled in my room, I had a couple hours to kill before the “Switchfoot VIP Experience”. I decided to take a walk. I had my pepper spray, and it was during daylight hours on a weekday. I felt completely safe in doing this. You should have heard the lecture from my brothers before I left. “You’re going to be walking?!….in Chicago?!….by yourself?!….at night?!? That’s not very smart. You better check in with someone regularly!” I promised to do so and told them I’d leave my purse behind and I would take brass knuckles (joke) and pepper spray. HAHA!

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I walked around the block to HOB. I went inside and checked out the lobby, noticing a couple girls lined up, already. You think I’M a super fan? No, no. These girls were super fans. They had on the shirts. They had the music playing in their earbuds. They made a banner. I felt slightly intimidated. HAHA!

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Then the time finally arrived. AHHHHH! This is possibly my favorite picture ever. L to R: Drew Shirley (lead guitar/BG vocals), Tim Foreman (bass guitar/BG vocals), Me, Jon Foreman (frontman/lead vocals/guitar), Jerome Fontamillas (everything/accordion/keyboard/special sound effects), and Chad Butler (drums)

Jon is making a silly face because I said, “Let’s do a funny one!” but the photographer was like “ONE TWO THREE!” and just took it before anyone was ready. That was the only bad thing about it…it was all kind of rushed. But I understand. There were probably 30 people to get through the line in a limited amount of time. Even though the photographer/handler was rushing, the guys were so kind and welcoming and thankful to all of us for coming and supporting their art.

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My signed poster. :)

I had a ridiculous amount of fun!!! Like, it should be illegal. I made like 10 new friends, I rocked out all night and I met my favorite band of all time!!!

Below are a few of my favorite shots I took with my iPhone.

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That’s my hand stretched out and my new friend Jenn’s hand that Jon is holding. I was in the front row (everyone standing - no seats) and he climbed onto the barricade…basically on top of myself and my 2 new friends. I held his foot. HAHA! I held one of Switchfoot’s feet. HAHA!

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Jon came out into the crowd a couple times.

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Seriously had such a blast! A friend of mine said, “After a Switchfoot concert, you leave feeling better about the world.” It’s so true. Their message is love, hope, and faith in God. It was beautiful.

The next morning I slept in a little. I took a cab to the American Girl store to pick up a few things for Heidi and her sister, Emma.

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Then I did some shopping for myself….

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….and had lunch at a Thai food restaurant called Star of Siam. I meet the nicest people. Forgot this guy’s name but he was very freindly once he got his food. HA! Husband and father of 3. Gave me some great advice on what to do with the rest of my afternoon before heading home. Traveling alone was an amazing experience for that reason alone. If I had a travel companion, I probably wouldn’t have met any of the awesome people I’m now friends with.

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The Bean at Millennium Park.

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Above are pics from The Chicago Cultural Center, formerly the Chicago Public Library. Beautiful architecture!

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Thanks for reading!

Filed under hobchicago switchfoot fadingwest chicago timforeman drew shirley jerome fontamillas jon foreman chad butler solotravel travelblog

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Having options…. is nice.
Deciding that even though you have those options available, you want to hold out for something more suited to you…. is nice.
The fact that you finally value yourself enough so that settling is no longer an option….is nice.

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There’s a peace I’ve come to know.
Though my heart and flesh may fail,
there’s an anchor for my soul.
I can say, “It is well”.

Jesus has overcome
and the grave is overwhelmed.
The victory is won.
He is risen from the dead.
And I will rise when He calls my name.
No more sorrow, no more pain.
I will rise on eagle’s wings
before my God, fall on my knees
and rise. I will rise
(I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin)

I’ve always loved this song. It’s especially meaningful for my present condition. I have a peace since I turned some things over to God. There was one particular area of life that I was holding on to…still trying to keep control of. It was a pointless effort. It was as if I didn’t know that God’s way always works out a lot better than mine.

It’s always been easy to have faith that God will work things out in everyone else’s situations. When it came to mine, I sometimes felt myself unworthy of God working it all out for my good. I would talk to God about the situation in private prayer time, but when refering to the same situation to people who know me, I would speak about it with doubt and a “maybe yes, maybe no” attitude. I guess this was a defense mechanism. That way…if what I prayed didn’t come about, I wouldn’t look like a fool. BUT what I was really saying was, “Maybe God can’t do it.” And has he failed me yet? No. He conquered death and the grave, yet I put Him in a box and don’t allow Him to move in my life. I’m robbing myself of an awesome testimony some day down the road.

Well….that’s past tense. :)

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This was copied from Mike Donehey’s blog:
http://Mikedonehey.tumblr.com

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”
-Romans 1:25

I grew up thinking Jesus wanted to ruin my good time.
No seriously…

Everything I wanted to do,
it seemed like Jesus was always telling me I couldn’t.
My friends would get drunk and party;
I wasn’t allowed.

All the other kids were sleeping around.
Jesus said I had to flee sexual immorality.
When people wronged me it felt so good to be bitter and lord it over them,
but there He was saying,

“Forgive seventy times seven.”

So when I went to college and started hanging out with kids who actually enjoyed Jesus, it pretty much blew my mind. I mean, my friends growing up “loved” Jesus, but certainly didn’t like hanging out with Him. We knew the right answers and we knew we were supposed to do what God said to do, but these kids at my college were different.

They wanted to obey God.
They liked obeying Him.
No one was making them.

No one told them they couldn’t get freaky at clubs or drink til they threw up. They just preferred being with God. They’d get together and worship Him for the fun of it. The fun of it? I thought “fun” and “Jesus” were contradictory terms.

To be honest, I had a lot to learn. I still do. But my world changed forever my freshman year of college when Christianity changed from something I had to do, to something I wanted to do.

How?

I experienced Psalm 16:11 first hand.
It says,
“In your presence is the fullness of joy,
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

The fullness of joy?
Pleasure forever?
Have you ever even considered that God is for your pleasure?

Now, this seems quite counter intuitive doesn’t it? I mean, isn’t Jesus all about self denial and what not? Isn’t Christianity just putting your head in the sand, grinding it out, and keeping your nose clean? Nothing could be further from the truth.

You see,

when Jesus says to deny yourself, He never asks you to do that as an end in itself. He says to deny yourself so that you can follow Him! And everything that’s promised us when we get to Him is an appeal to our pleasure. But the tough part is realizing that in order to get the fullest joy, and the greatest pleasure, you have to do things His way.
You have to wait.
Often times you have to go without.
But you go without so that you can get something better.

It’s like McDonalds versus a fancy steakhouse. The steakhouse may take quite a bit longer, but in the end, it’s far more rewarding than a quick fling with Ronald and his super sizing ways. So then, we flee sexual immorality so that we can know the trust, rest, and joy of a sexual encounter protected by the strong walls of covenant. It takes denial, sure, but as a means to a lifetime of more reward. It can seem like Jesus is against our pleasure because we’ve believed the lie that the things He’s created are what will give us what we want. But whether it’s sex, ambition, rock n roll, isn’t it actually God we’re after?

This one thought changed everything. That every beautiful thing I get enamored by, is just a reflection of the one who made it. Any beauty I’m dazzled by or promise I’m lured by, it’s always Him my soul is hungry for. And when I can see that, all other temptations lose their power. To understand all that I love is merely a mirror pointing me upward, frees me to let those things go.

I don’t have to have them.
I have to have the One who made them.

And the pleasure and reward his presence offers far surpasses any drug or buzz I could get. Crazy huh?

Friend, don’t sell yourself short. Jesus wants to give us life. It is Satan who’s out to steal, kill, and destroy. Sadly, we too often believe it’s the other way around. Don’t fall for the lie. His commands to us are the pathways to pleasure. They are the way to joy. All this world could offer you is but a mere shadow of the glory of the One who is behind it all.

Don’t grasp the shadow.
Follow it to the source.
He is the source.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
-2 Corinthians 3:18