Monday, December 21, 2009

for the life of you

I can’t let this year end and not say it. It’s been a hell of a year.
Is this going to be a depressing post? I hope not. Hear me out.

It started with… death.
Death of a friend’s father.
Then a 2nd friend’s father.
Then a 3rd friend’s father.
Then a tragic loss of a another friend’s family.
Then one of my long-time friends after a long illness.
Then another friend’s father.
Then another.

Why do I bring this up? Because when I think of this past year, it has been defined by these losses. You know how at the end of every year you see those celebrity lists of famous people who have passed on? I saw one of those today and it annoyed me. None of our real-life friends and families are on those TV lists. And it’s ok to be mad about it. It’s ok to grieve our loss. It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be ticked at the world for not stopping to take notice.
When I first experienced great loss, I hated the world & I hated God. I was SO SO SO MAD at Him. I thought He didn’t care. I thought He was a liar. I thought He was deaf & dumb. I didn’t think I could ever trust Him or love Him ever again.
I was young and it messed with me for a long time. I hated God & lost interest in life.
I had so many questions. And so, so many regrets. I thought: If only I had spent more time with them. I never told them. If I could just have 5 minutes more. Did I tell them that I loved them? Did I hug them enough? What was the last thing I said to them? Did they know I loved them? I’m forgetting the sound of their voice!!! NO! God! Please don’t let me forget their voice!

Psalm 30:11
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy…

It took a long, long time for me to heal. A long time for me to come back to God and recognize & feel His love. It’s one thing to lose someone to old age… it’s another to lose a loved one by tragedy or illness unexpectedly. It hurts more. It takes longer to heal & the scar is much worse. When you have a deep cut, the nerves get damaged. You lose feeling for a long time… sometimes years… and that's what it’s like when you experience great loss. But slowly, your feeling starts to come back & those nerves begin to heal. And the scars fade… with time. Not that you stop missing your loved ones… even when the healing comes, you still miss them. That never changes.
Do you have physical scars that hurt sometimes? I know I do. When I see a lot of blood or see someone else get injured… my scar starts to ache. Seeing all my friends go through their losses this year… has been like that. Experiencing losses of my own this year, has made that old scar hurt again. Those questions replay in my mind & heart. It’s hard to understand & hard to move on.
The love of friends helped bring me out of my depression & grief all those many years ago. You have to allow yourself to be around people and be loved… and love again.
It is through love that we are repaired & heal.
I realize now that God was using others to heal my broken heart and reach out to me. Give it a try… and let Him bear your chains. It was for life that God sacrificed His only Son. It was for life and love. It was for your life and your love. I know, it’s hard to believe right now. It may take years, but I assure you, He’ll prove Himself to you again. Your wailing will be turned into dancing.

Isaiah 26:19
But your dead will live;
their bodies will rise.
You who dwell in the dust,
wake up and shout for joy.
Your dew is like the dew of the morning;
the earth will give birth to her dead.

We will see our loved ones again. We will be reunited. No more lonely holidays, no more tears of sadness… we will shout for joy and rejoice in the everlasting life of the Lord Jesus together. We will shout & jump & DANCE.

So what am I praying for 2010?? I’m praying for this next year to be a year of LIFE. I pray that for each of you reading this. I pray your wounds begin to heal. Let me know if you have anything you want me to specifically be praying for you about… otherwise I pray you have a Merry Christmas & feel God’s love surrounding you.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to this earth to bear my chains & walk to Calvary for the life of me. For the eternal life of us all.

Bring on 2010. Let’s do it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Like a Bee

Last night I got into a discussion about life. Roomies are good for that a lot of times... my roomie, Tara Lynn, is really good at it.

It started by me expressing my concerns and feelings about my job and life in general. It's been a rough year... in a lot of ways. But TL always has great words of encouragement to help me through the times when I'm tired and ready to throw in the towel. That's what friends do. We encourage one another and lift each other up.
We talked about God's plan. Talked about how we don't understand it. Part of growing up is realizing that you don't have to know or understand the big picture because God does... and He's the one who knows the best plan for you, your life, and your future... because why? Oh, yeah... because PS: He's the only one who knows the future. The problem is learning to trust God with stuff can be a very difficult thing... a daily struggle at times. But I believe that God has a specific purpose and plan not only for my life but for others lives. He has a plan and a purpose in every living thing.

I have to believe that if God has wired bees to have and fulfill a specific purpose, then He probably has wired me and you for a specific purpose too. I read the following excerpt in "Our Daily Bread" from RBC Ministries the other day & wanted to share it on my blog here:

The honeybee has one of the most highly developed social structures in the animal kingdom. At the heart of the hive, which may house as many as 80,000 bees, is the queen. Without her, the colony has no future. But the 80,000 don't just sit around watching their queen. Each bee has a specialized duty to fulfill.
The forager bees encounter the perils of the outside word to collect food. The guard bees protect the hive from intruders. The undertakers are responsible for removing dead bodies from the hive. The water collectors bring in moisture to regulate humidity. The plasterers make a kind of cement to repair the hive. And the fanners station themselves at the entrance and fan the scent outward to signal the location of the colony to lost or disoriented bees. The scout bees keep the hive alerted to opportunities and dangers of the outside world. The variety and specialization of the worker bees seem endless.
In a similar way, the Lord has given special gifts and tasks to all His people...

God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 1 Corinthians 12:18

For more thoughts about God's plan for our lives, see the Rubik's Cube Lesson.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

in loving memory of Billy Anderson...

Today I slept in. I stayed up too late. And my neighbor across the street likes to have loud parties until 4:00 am. Before I popped the earplugs in my ears last night, I turned my phone off. When I finally got around to waking up today, I checked my phone and saw I'd missed a message from my friend's wife, Nikki. She was informing friends & family that the doctors where telling her to call them to come to Billy's side. Having been in the hospital with a mysterious illness for nearly 2 years... it's been a long, hard battle for Billy... and his family.

Nikki and Billy

Today Billy's pain ended and he walked through the gates of heaven. I'm glad to know he was greeted by friends today... I'm sure Tim greeted him with a hug. And I'm especially glad to know that he's face-to-face with Jesus.

I've been thinking of Billy all day. Remembering high school and other memories with friends throughout the years. I was so glad to hear that he made things right with God before he left this earth.

Many of my friends have experienced so much loss this year & I've cried hard tears... more than I have in about 15 years combined. But as Thessalonians says, we do not grieve or mourn like those who have no hope. I am comforted by the fact that I will see Billy and all my friends again and we will all spend eternity with Jesus. I look forward to heaven more & more. And I look forward to seeing Billy's bright eyes & big smile greeting me as I walk through those gates.

Please be praying for Nikki, Billy's daughters, and the entire family.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Isaiah 40:31
those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering Sept 11, 2001

If you're wondering where I've been, I've been spending more of my online time on Twitter. Between work & life, it's hard to find time to blog these days. However, today being the 8-year anniversary of 9/11, I'm taking time to honor those lost on that horrific day.

I've recently read statements from some public school teachers that trying to teach kids about 9/11 in schools today is like trying to teach them about the Civil War. The kids don't remember because they're too young, most of them have no personal impact nor memory of it.
I have some friends in their early-twenties who admittedly don't remember much about 9/11 either. Again, they were too young 8 years ago to really understand the tragedy of what was going on.

As for me, I had just graduated from college in May 2001 and was busy working at a local company in Tulsa. I do remember Sept 11, 2001. I had arrived at work as usual that morning. I started to make my daily calls to customers and clients. At the time, I worked with churches helping them with their websites.
I decided to call my customers in New York because it was almost 9am EST. The first church I called (located in downtown NYC) said: "Hello? Kristin, we can't talk to you right now... we don't know what's happening... but we're being evacuated! I think the city is being attacked!" CLICK.
I was left listening to the dead line & thinking: What? New York City is being attacked? I turned around and called out to my manager & co-workers: "Anyone know what's going on in New York?" Someone responded: "Yeah, a plane accidentally hit one of the World Trade Center towers."
Me: "Accidentally? No, sorry, but planes don't accidentally fly into buildings like the World Trade Center. That's nuts."
The next thing I know, my phone was ringing. It was my mom.
Mom: "Kristin, do you know what's going on in New York? Two planes have flown into the WTC buildings in downtown NYC."
Me: "Yeah, I just heard about it. One of my churches is down there and..."
Mom: "Kristin, Donnie was in one of those towers."
Me: "What...?" and my heart skipped a beat... and the room started spinning.

My friends, Donnie & Andrea, were married while we were still in college. They're the type of couple who you meet and you instantly love. You just need to spend a few minutes with them to see that they were made for each other and will be together forever. We met our freshman year. We spent a lot of time together... Donnie, Andrea, Stacey, & me. These are "salt of the earth" people... people you'd like to know all your life. They were my closest friends at the time... and I still love them very much.

Donnie, who worked for Morgan Stanley, had been sent to NYC for some training. He was in the South tower of the WTC the morning of 9/11. He'd called Andrea to tell her he was okay... before the towers fell. When my mom called me on 9/11 to tell me that Donnie was in one of the towers, I couldn't believe it. I remember spending the evening with Andrea. I remember watching the news coverage with Stacey, Andrea, and some of Andrea's family. I remember us waiting for Donnie's call. I remember Andrea screaming at the TV: "Why do you keep showing that? I don't ever want to see those planes again! I don't want to keep watching the towers fall! Stop showing it! It's terrible!"
We all waited to see what would happen next.

Donnie was one of the lucky ones who made it out alive on 9/11. I remember hugging him when he made it home days later. I remember wanting to ask him about it, but being afraid to. I remember the relief of having him back in Tulsa. Seems like yesterday...

I remember watching the scenes of the planes & towers for days.
I remember the photos. I remember the "jumpers". I remember watching the families on the news who were desperate to know of their loved ones whereabouts... begging and pleading people to contact them if they'd seen them... not wanting to believe their loved ones were dead. I remember watching the denial and pain in people faces. I remember adults sobbing. I remember the stories that began to emerge of heroism and courage. I remember "Let's roll." I remember the quiet. I remember the eeriness of not knowing what would happen next. I remember the pictures of the guilty Muslim foreign terrorists. I remember the security videos released days later showing the terrorists checking in for their flights. I remember praying more than I'd ever prayed before. I remember my grandmother suggesting I join the military. I remember the songs. I remember the conversations. I remember the waving American flags. I remember President Bush. I remember the tears. I remember God's peace. I remember the names & faces of those lost in the attacks on 9/11 flashing across the TV screen.

I remember. I will always remember. And I will never forget.

This vid is powerful & difficult to watch... but we must never forget the horror of those attacks.

This vid is a little over an hour... a documentary called "The Falling Man".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beautiful Ending

just bought this song... love it.

Beautiful Ending

Oh, tragedy
Has taken so many
Love lost cause they all
Forgot who You were
And it scares me to think
That I would choose
My life over You
My selfish heart
Divides me from You
It tears us apart

So tell me
What is our ending?
Will it be beautiful
So beautiful?

Oh, why do I
Let myself let go
Of hands that painted the stars
And hold tears that fall?
And the pride of my heart
Makes me forget
It's not me but You
Who makes the heart beat
I'm lost without You
And dying from me

So tell me
What is our ending?
Will it be beautiful
So beautiful?
Will my life
Find me by Your side?
Your love is beautiful
So beautiful

At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms
At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms
At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms
At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms

So tell me
What is our ending?
Will it be beautiful
So beautiful?
Will my life
Find me by Your side?
Your love is beautiful
So beautiful

Sunday, July 26, 2009

fun CO pics!

Spent some time in CO recently. Loved it. It was great to spend some quality time with some quality friends!

It's a Wonderful Life

I'm thinking of watching "It's a Wonderful Life" today. Yeah, I know, Christmas in July. But that's ok- I love that it's a story about life & what it's really all about.
If you haven’t figured it out yet— life is about relationships and how you treat others.

Your relationship with the grocery clerk.
Do you smile at them & ask how they are doing?

Your relationship with the video store girl.
Do you take time out & stop to hear her latest story?

Your relationship with your waiter.
Do you treat him with the respect and tip well?

Your relationship with you family.
Do you call them just to say “I love you”?

Your relationship with your co-workers.
Do you strive to do your best work and get along even when you don’t feel like it? Even if they treat you awful?

Your relationship with friends.
Are you someone they can count on and trust?

Your relationship with God.
Do you take time out to talk to Him & then stop to let Him talk back to you? Do you listen?

Notice that I didn’t list these in any particular order. I did that on purpose. I hope that you are treating the waiter just the same as you would your friends.
But I have to say- I would hope that your relationship with God doesn’t rank last on your list.

Luke 6:27-49 would be a good excerpt for you to read today. If you don’t have time, let me list a handful of the verses for you:
30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

43 No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.
45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

nothing left but God

Hope everyone had a happy & safe 4th of July!
I have this little devotional book I read every once in awhile. This morning I read something that I felt like sharing on my blog. So here it is:

"Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard and said:

"O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 'If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.'

"But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD. Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.

He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' " 2 Chronicles 20:3-17

In today's Bible reading, the people of Judah were in trouble. They admitted their lack of power and wisdome to conquer their foes. All they had left was God! But King Jehoshaphat and the people saw this as reason for hope, not despair. "Our eyes are upon You," they declared to God. And their hope was not disaapointed as He fulfilled His promise: "The battle is not yours, but God's."
Are you in a position where all self-sufficiency is gone? As you turn your eyes on the Lord and put your hope in Him, you have God's reassuring promise that you need nothing more.
{excerpt from April 2009 Daily Bread publication}

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Forgotten Language

When I was a little kid in elementary school, we had weekly class trips to the school library. I wasn't a big fan of books or reading when I was a kid. Honestly, reading is something that I'm just now starting to really enjoy... ha. Anyway, every time we had a trip to the school library, I would look at all the Shel Silverstein books or I would sneak over to the "big kids" side of the library and check out the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I loved those books!
Anyway, I've bought a couple Shel Silverstein books lately... I don't know why exactly... sentimental I guess. Suppose I should go get one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books now! But anyway, thought I'd share one of Shel's poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends.

by Shel Silverstein

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly in my bed.

Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers....
How did it go?
How did it go?

p.s. In case you haven't, you should check out The Giving Tree. It's probably my favorite of Shel's books.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Daylight will come

My heart and my prayers go out to Melinda & Brian... I love you guys and I'm thinking of you.
Since I realize that the words I offer can only bring small comfort... I'm offering you comfort from God's Word... and what He does and says will last... for all of eternity.

To everyone who might be experiencing loss, I pray that God will envelope you and surround you with His Love... may you feel His arms of peace wrapped around you.
Know that He can be our strength when our hearts run out of faith. We grow weary but He does not. We must look to Him- God is our everlasting hope and our salvation.
He is our Daylight- and Daylight will come.

Isaiah 25:8

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 33:2
O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every
morning, our salvation in time of distress.

Isaiah 49:14-16
But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me."
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."

1 Corinthians 15:52
In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Hosea 13:14
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?

Isaiah 51:3
The LORD will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

Lamentations 3:21-23
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Weekend!

Hey! Just wanted to say Happy Memorial Weekend and thanks to all of our servicemen & women! And thank you veterans! God bless you all.

Speaking of veterans, I had a rare opportunity to take a flight in a WWII T-6 Texan Warbird last weekend.
Below is a 30 second video of some of the pics. I found this really cool site that makes music videos with your pictures... you should check out

And since I had so much fun... I made another vid with the pictures from our fun snow day back in March... enjoy!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Timothy Etzkorn

I've been on a writing hiatus. Actually, I've been on a hiatus in many ways lately. Not allowing myself to get emotional or feel anything. Maybe because I've been afraid that if I allowed it... there would be no ending it. That hiatus has ended.

It ended this week when I learned that Amber, my best-friend from high school, lost her father. Tim Etzkorn passed away suddenly in his home on Tuesday. This is a very hard loss for many... as he was such a wonderful and giving man. He was a father to many of us.
Personally, I do have a very wonderful father and am blessed to have him but there were many of our friends who weren't so lucky.

Tim was a father to the fatherless, a friend to the friendless. He loved the least of us and gave all he had to every one of us. I can honestly say I am a much better person because of Tim. I am a more generous person because of the example I saw in Tim's constant giving and caring for others. Tim and Patti always opened their home up to everyone. They have been true examples of Christ in my life and I am so eternally thankful for their love and friendship in my life. Thank you Brendan, Amber, and Megan for sharing your parents with the rest of us.
This is the most recent picture I have of Tim. And I realized how perfect it is... because the picture is focused on someone else... just as Tim lived his life... always focused on others. In this picture he's holding Brady, one of his many grandchildren. And Patti, his beautiful wife of 36 years is smiling in the background.
Although I have a great dad, Tim was another father-figure in my life and a very important one. I will always cherish all the memories spent with their family in my heart. I know there are many others who truly share the same feelings and sentiment. Tomorrow we will be honored to attend his funeral and lay his body to rest.
Yes, my hiatus is over and I am crying as I write this... but as
Rita Schiano said in Sweet Bitter Love: "Tears are God’s gift to us. Our holy water. They heal us as they flow."

Just after I'd learned of Tim's passing on Tuesday, I opened up an email that a friend of mine had sent earlier in the day with a seemingly random scripture at the bottom. This passage comforted me so much on Tuesday and I shared it with some of the family this evening... and it is perfect. When I read it, I know that it's a specific message straight from God to give us comfort... and I read it with all the heavenly hosts in mind.

6But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
-1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 (New International Version)

Thank you Tim for all the love and laughs... I look forward to you greeting me with one of your big, warm hugs again one day... soon.
Love you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

long overdue

I know, I know... I'm just not good at keeping up with blogging.
It's easier to blog when your thoughts come together and are easy to put into words. I've had a lot of fragmented thoughts as of late... no comments about my age. Speaking of my age and bday... it was fun... here are a few pics from that night. We ate an excellent meal at McGills, drank some fine wine, hit the slots, ate some Krispy Kreme donuts... and yes, we were driven around in a limo all night. Me and some of my favorite single girlfriends... we lived it up for the night.

Thanks for the great b-day girls!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

the Rubik's Cube Lesson

Yes, it's been awhile. Things have been busy. I haven't been very good at keeping up the blog lately. Right now I'm working the 10 hour shift days at work in the month of January... so if you think of me... say a little prayer as I'm not especially looking forward to this month.
And in other news, I'm turning 30 this month. Hmm. 30. Weird. When I was a kid, I had lots of ideas of what my life would like at 30.

Anyway, I had a weird moment tonight. Tara Lynn (my roomie) went to bed early because she wasn't feeling well and I thought I might read a book and go to bed early too. But instead, I picked up a Rubik's cube. I guess I wasn't ready to sleep. After unsuccessfully working on it... I decided to look for tips online. I visited several sites... but none of them were very helpful. I was getting ready to put it down and call it a night when I saw another site. So I go to this site where it tells you to enter in the configuration of your cube... and it calculates the moves you need to make to solve the Rubik's cube. Ha. I thought I'd give it a whirl and see if it actually worked. So I fill in the blanks and the hit "solve". Ok... so then it tells me that I have 108 moves I need to make. 108 moves. Awesome. So I carefully begin to follow the step-by-step moves. Keep in mind, I've had a long day... and I'm kinda in this half-awake mode.
I get to about Step 26 and I'm thinking : what the heck am i doing? I hate Rubik's cubes. I should be going to bed and sleeping. No. I want to see if this works.

Step 35: I think this might be working. Cool. Only 73 more steps to go.
Step 50: Why am I doing this? 108 freakin steps? What's wrong with me? I'm wasting time.
Step 52: Did I mess up? Did I make one of the moves wrong? This just looks like a freakin jumbled mess.
Step 54: This website is probably just somebody's idea of a joke and they get bored idiots like me to fall for it... sitting here... carefully counting step by step. This is ridiculous.
Step 55: Over half-way there. But what if I messed up? Keep going. Pay attention.
Step 65: I just want to see this cube with solid colors on all sides for once.
Step 66: I'm not built for puzzles like this... I can't do this thing on my own.
Step 76: Hey, I think it's working!
Step 80: 3 sides look almost complete... but the rest still looks like a freakin mess.
Step 81: Is this what You do God? How many steps are there in my life? When all I can see is a bunch of different colors... and confusion... are You really solving the puzzle? Is this really working?
Step 87: All I have to do is follow Your steps?
Step 88: If I screw up on one now... then that will mess it all up. Pay attention. I don't want to start over.
Step 98: Still looks like a mess... I don't think it's working.
Step 103: Nope. Definitely not working.
Step 106: Wait... it might be...
Step 107: Maybe...
Step 108: Holy crap. It worked. Dang. That was ridiculous.
Step 109: Hmm, pretty sure God just taught me something through a freakin Rubik's cube.

So, God used a Rubik's cube to teach me a life lesson tonight. I'm not the type of person to put a spiritual context on everything... but I did learn something tonight. I'm 20 days away from my 30th birthday and my life is not what I expected it to be at this stage in the game. There's lots of different colors all over... on all sides... and I'm not real sure what goes where or how or when. I'm not made for figuring out puzzles like this on my own. I'm not sure how my hopes and dreams and passions and desires and abilities and talents and colors work together. I don't know how to make them come together and solve this puzzle called life... specifically the job side of life. But He does. And all He asks of me is to follow each step... one... by... one. It wouldn't work any other way. He has to get you to one place in life before He can move you up to another.
One thing I noticed as I was working on this thing: you had to get the piece or color that you wanted on the top.... you had to get it on the very bottom first. And then twist and turn and then... there it is... on the top. We have to be willing to be moved around... even when it doesn't look right or make sense to our heads.... as long as we hear God's voice directing us... that's what's important. It's through His steps that He will make sense of our lives. And if we mess up... He knows how to fix things. He knows how to solve the puzzle and make everything come together. Not only the things in my life and your life... but everything in everyone's life... and everything in the entire heaven and earth. I wonder how many steps that is? Probably a lot more than 108. I'm so glad we don't have to figure any of it out... we just have to follow His instructions.

Ephesians 1:9-11 (New Living Translation)
God has now revealed to us His mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill His own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.

So, Happy New Year to you.
And Happy Birthday to me.