January 31, 2014

"You Are My Drug, You Are My Addiction" (Connotatively Difficult Words to Sing in Worship)

In my personal time with the Lord, one of my favorite tunes to sing right now is called "It's My Joy." It's a throwback (2003) praise song by the band Enter the Worship Circle. The lyrics are pretty plain and simple, and the sound the band strove for was very stripped-down and folksy. But it packs a punch, because some of the words used by the songwriter have a negative connotation.

January 29, 2014

Everything That Kills Me...Makes Me Feel Alive?

I've had to do a lot of driving over the past few weeks. And as I cruised from appointment to appointment and training to training, I listened to a lot of "Top 40"-style radio play. [I know - GASP - secular fodder!] But you know how they do...the top songs cycle through at least once per hour, earning many tunes the coveted title of the "most overplayed" songs of the year.

The song I inevitably kept hearing as I hopped in and out of my little '98 Civic was OneRepublic's "Counting Stars." Now, the lyrics that stood out to me time and time again were the ones pictured above: "everything that kills me makes me feel alive."

January 24, 2014

An Appetite for Community

Have you ever been hungry? I mean with pit-of-your-stomach growling somewhat akin to that of a rabies-ridden mongrel hungry?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I spoke about hunger in our small group at church. Only it wasn't about food hunger but a hunger for community - the kind of authentic, biblical community you can only get from the closest of believing friends. 

In the past, I enjoyed this type of community time and time again. But those times have begun to feel "not so recent." The Lord blessed me with two very intense settings that greatly fostered biblical community: North Greenville University and Snowbird Wilderness OutfittersThe former being a college - a Christian campus that built community by having a network of hall chaplains, numerous dorm Bible studies, and close-knit professor/student relationships. The latter being a Christian youth camp and retreat center that fostered community through the staff's living together, experiencing small group Bible and prayer time together, and entertaining open and honest feedback in highly accountable relationships with one another. And though I have experienced seasons of true community within local church bodies, the college and camp settings exceeded by far.

January 15, 2014

Who's the Boss of You?

My work affords me endless encounters with families that are in differing stages of disrepair. I enjoy this part of my job - not because these families are hurting, but because God allows me to take part in the mending of broken units. 

Oft-times, the kids are identified as the "problem" in these families. Many of the kids I work with have backgrounds of trauma and abuse. And since these children have grown up with so much chaos, they tend to find chaotic situations to be their safe place - their "normal," if you will. Kids like these often seek to create chaos wherever they go, and they readily prey upon the loopholes in their parents' reasoning in order to split them and manipulate situations. These are learned behaviors, survival skills to help them get what they need. So it's no wonder that the "normal" styles of parenting rarely work with these fragile souls.

January 11, 2014

ONE WORD for 2014

Many of my friends have been writing about their "one word" for the new year. I have hesitated to do likewise because I really wanted to think this one through. I also have a steady stream of perfectionism running through my veins, so I wanted to wait a bit beyond January 1st in order to shock my system out of it's bent toward obsessively on-time compliance.

If you are not familiar with the "one word" concept, there are two fairly prominent Christian websites charging their readers to pick one word of inspiration for the new year. [FYI: those websites are located here and here.] The idea is that you encapsulate any new year's resolutions or goals for the year into one word that either motivates you for what lies ahead or describes what you envision the year to hold.

January 8, 2014

SNOW DAY! (a.k.a. Project "Hoardery Be-Gone!")

If this year's "Polar Vortex" has rendered you house-bound for the last few days, you are not alone. The start of 2014 has blasted many states with sub-zero temps and inches (upon inches!) of snow accumulation. 

Of course, with snow and cold come SNOW DAYS. 

My husband is a teacher, so snow days greatly affect his work. Since I counsel youth and families through a community mental health center, snow days affect my schedule as well. So with 3 days of indoor time under our belts, we have gotten both "a lot" and "not so much" accomplished at the same time.

January 3, 2014

New. Year's. Resolutions.

New. Year's. Resolutions.

Some people make 'em; some people don't. Some people stick to 'em; some people don't.

Wait. Virtually no one actually sticks to 'em...at least, not not for the entire new year! I can't even begin to list all the ways I have failed in the past at keeping these January-fresh plates spinning!

Why is this? Well, a lot of the reasoning can be attributed to the fact that we are all striving in our own strength and willpower toward some preposterously huge goal that we quite possibly could never attain.