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Are you allowed to say “killing” in an airport? I think the only time it’s appropriate is when you’re referring to “killing time”. Even then people probably perk up a bit at the sound of it. Anyway, my international travel experience has trained me to be at the airport hours in advance, so alas, for my measly hour-long flight to Amarillo I arrived 2 hours early. Of course when you’re not running late check-in & security was a breeze, so I’ve been burning (and consuming) calories in the fancy new Southwest terminal (the terminal may be new, but the planes are still late…mine has been delayed an hour already). While I was a loner walking around the restaurants & shops, my people-watching tendencies allowed for a few observations about the people that are always in an airport to be made. Please enjoy.

1. The TSA barely smiles. Maybe it’s in their training. I’ve learned that for passengers, security goes better when you smile. They seem to not be quite as grumpy that way.

2. There’s always that group of kids in matching t-shirts that you desperately want to stay away from. They act as though they’ve never seen an airplane before & they spend all there money in the first 30 minutes on coffee and desserts that their moms won’t let them have. (I will probably be more understanding of this group after July, when we take a group of 36 high schoolers to Chicago via airplane!)

3. The shy kid who is experiencing his first solo travel experience. I like those kids. I remember being one. I talked to one today. I guess I must look nice enough to ask if you’re allowed to take food back to your gate (the answer is yes, by the way).

4. People who talk about incredibly personal things as the wait. I was sitting next to a man who was talking to someone about the frequency of his father’s falls & who the executor of his parents’ estate may be. Depressing stuff to talk about over a Whataburger.

5. The middle-aged woman who wears booty shorts & a tummy-revealing shirt to travel in. News flash: that’s never appropriate–especially at that age.

6. The person who talks to anyone. Yes, that person is me, so therefore I’ll tell you how much you should enjoy that person.

7. The other people watchers. As I was looking at people, occasionally I caught their eye & had embarrassingly awkward eye contact. Then I realized they must be people-watching me.

8. The people that line up to board 45 minutes before the plane arrives. They make me nervous. I feel like I should get in line…then I look at my watch.

9. The people that run through the terminal. Those people are my favorite, mainly because the mere sight of them causes “Run, Run Rudolph” to play in my head & I remember the childhood joys of “Home Alone”.

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Killing Time

Make Your Mark

The other night I got a text that made me cry.  It was a good cry, but the tears were flowing so much you would have thought my dog had just been run over.  Here’s what it said: “Must Report: At Bob’s party he talked about a few of the most memorable happenings in his life (that he could remember).  One was the Halloween night u and your friends came over/made dinner and the guys joined the girls to eat and HE made homemade cookies for all!  I showed him your picture and he bragged on you!  U made your mark on Bob!”

To understand why that made tears flow like Niagara Falls, let me explain who Bob is.  I met Bob February of my sophomore year at Baylor.  I led a small group of freshman girls, and our group along with our “brother” small group decided we wanted to minister to some of the elderly people that didn’t make it out of their houses much to church.  The senior adult coordinator (who happened to be the one who sent me the above text) gave us a list of people, and we started making plans to visit.  Our second visit was to Bob & Dorcas Bright.  They were a sweet couple who had been married 50+ years (their first date came after Bob had already asked out her roommate!)Bob had lived his entire life in Waco–his family used to have a “shotgun house” where the Armstrong Browning Library now is on Baylor’s campus.  He lived through the depression, was a soldier in WWII, and eventually came back to work at Baylor’s Bookstore.  He bled green & gold.  Bob & Dorcas came to our senior adult banquet that weekend in February and had a great time.  Unfortunately, a week or so later, Dorcas got incredibly ill and ended up passing away. 

The passing of Dorcas ended up changing our small group ministry direction.  Instead of visiting numerous people, we decided we would just “adopt” Bob.  The first year after Dorcas’ death was rough.  Honestly, we all expected him to pass pretty quickly afterward.  As he says, he prayed the Lord would take him 30 minutes after Dorcas.  Our small groups kept going to visit him, and slowly but surely he started returning back to normal.  Halloween of my junior year (2008) our two small groups went & cooked spaghetti at Bob’s house.  We all ate dinner with him, and as a special treat, Bob made us cookies (lots of times we would take homemade cookies to him, so it was a fun change).  We just hung out with him, heard more of his stories, and had a great time.Image

Along with that dinner, Bob would go with us on different adventures around Waco.  We went to the zoo and the arboretum together.  He joined me & my extended family for a graduation celebration dinner at a local Waco spot.  Our two small groups & him were unlikely, yet good friends.

All of us have since graduated and moved on, but I still drop by & see Bob now and then, and I’ll give him a call every so often.  I talked to him this afternoon and he was telling me all about his big 90th birthday bash they had Saturday.  He told me that he “feels young” and is really enjoying the people at the retirement home he lives in.  It was great to hear his voice.

Since getting the text Monday night, I’ve been thinking about what it means to “make your mark” on someone.  What I’ve come up with is this: you never know what is going to leave a mark on someone.  I would have never thought that Bob, when recounting his most memorable experiences of his 90 years, would talk about the night a group of college kids came to his house for dinner.  He had experienced the Great Depression, World War II, numerous presidents, and a host of other extraordinary events, yet a dinner one night back in 2008 made his list.  You never know what is going to leave a mark on someone.  Your act of kindness in the form of a hand-written note or a phone call could impact someone’s life more than you ever imagined.  Yes, there are big gestures that change people’s lives, but you never know, it could be just that smile or kind word in a dark place that makes all the difference in the world.Image

Reflections from a Wedding

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I go to lots of weddings.  I’d like to say it’s the phase of life I’m in, but I guess this phase just lasts awhile.  I’m not complaining–I love weddings.  Part of that may be because I’m a girl, and part of that is because I love seeing people so stinkin’ happy.  Here’s just a few things I’ve figured out from my wedding adventures:

1. I’m an extrovert (not that it took me going to a plethora of weddings to figure that out).  I’ve gone to many of these weddings solo, and every time I say “oh, I’m not going to stay that long.”  Famous last words.  Before I know it I’ve made new friends & end up staying until the happily-ever-after end.

2. Backstreet Boys bring people together.  You want to bond with people?  Start belting out “I Want It That Way” with your table mates at a reception.

3. Family is important.  Each family has their disagreements, but the unity that comes with adding a member to the family is pretty special.

4. Sometimes the “normal” things you do lead to abnormal, incredible things.  The wedding I went to this past weekend was for a couple friends that I’ve met simply by being addicted to coffee.  They work at the local coffee shop I frequent, and through all my time going there I had gotten to know them.  My seemingly “normal” actImageivity of getting a caffeine fix turned into a friendship that I never would have thought likely.  (For more on that, check out an earlier post.)

5. Belly dancers are a great way to start the party at a reception–especially when they bring out a sword.

6. There’s something special about weddings.  Aside from watching the bride & groom’s faces when they see each other, my favorite thing to do is watch the people in attendance at the ceremony.  Just about every couple will hold hands or snuggle a little closer as the preacher begins to talk about the marriage commitment.  There are extra looks, special smiles that are shared between the couples who are witnessing another marriage begin.  Whether they realize the incredible imagery the Bible describes as Jesus being the groom and the Church being His bride, I don’t always know.  But I know one thing: God has wired each of us to understand there is something deeper in marriage.  There’s more than the pretty dress or the flowers or the first kiss.  Everything in life points to Him, and weddings, possibly more than just about anything else, seem to display God’s heart in the fabric of human experience.

7. The gasps and the “oohs” and “aahs” after the bride starts her walk down the aisle gets me super excited for the ultimate wedding.  I love weddings here on earth.  I can’t imagine how much greater it’s going to be when the Bride of Christ meets her Groom.Image

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I meet weekly with a couple girls for Bible study. We just pick a book of the Bible, read a section of it individually throughout the week, then come together & talk about the things that stuck out to us. Right now we’re in Esther, and last week part of our section to read was chapter 4. The highlighted verse is what stuck out to me, Esther 4:14. It hit me: God is going to do what God is going to do, whether we chose to voluntarily be used by Him or not. So why wouldn’t we jump at the chance to be a part of what He is doing?! Yes, it may be seemingly “inconvenient”. Yes, it may not be what we had planned. It could even be dangerous (it certainly was for Esther…check out 4:11, 16). But it is so worth it. Esther saved the lives of millions of people, not just in Susa (where the story takes place), but also all throughout the Persian empire–all because she wanted to be used by God. We are called to do the same thing. This challenge to be a part of what God is doing around your area & around the world is not just a challenge to you–it’s to me. I write this because I need to be reminded to voluntarily take part in what God is doing. Because when it comes down to it, He’s going to do it with or without me, and when it comes to building up the Kingdom, I want it to be a part of that.

He’ll Do It Anyway

“As you work fo…

“As you work for justice in the world, speak about the Judge of the world.”
– David Platt

I was listening to a sermon this morning by David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, and as part of a sermon series about “Threads” of the Gospel, he was speaking on the Character of God.  This quote stuck out to me.  In a world where fighting for social justice is the trendy, popular thing to do, people, even Christians, often neglect to talk about the perfect, just Judge.  Don’t get me wrong, fighting injustice is wonderful and great, and whether one is a Believer or not, freeing people from various unjust situations is a worthy use of one’s time.  But, shouldn’t there be more?  Platt followed up his comment with this: “We don’t want to only give clean water to starving people while they’re on their way to hell.  We want to give clean water around the world while we tell people about the God who’s the defender of the weak and the Savior of our souls forever.”  Amen!  We shouldn’t just want people free in this life.  We should want them free to spend an eternity in heaven with the Holy, Just, Creator of the world.

Shortcuts

Yesterday was a gorgeous day.  After finishing up at work, I decided it was the perfect day to go for a walk, so I made up my mind that I would walk from my house to my favorite local coffee shop and back.  It takes me less than 5 minutes to drive there, but walking was a different story.

In addition to discovering it takes a lot longer to walk than to drive and walking along the side of the road talking on the phone through your headphones makes one look like a crazy person with an imaginary friend, I realized there weren’t many shortcuts from my house to the coffee shop.  If there was a road directly connecting my house & the coffee shop, it would have been easy–but there’s not.  To get there, I zig-zagged through several neighborhoods, on the way there taking a route significantly longer than necessary (though at the time I didn’t realize it).  I was hoping for shortcuts, yet when I thought I had one, I looked on my phone GPS and realized that was in fact a dead end.  So I kept walking.  I walked past a house with what appeared to be a grandpa playing basketball with his grand kids.  I smiled, realizing that had I found a shortcut, I would have missed that sweet moment.  I passed the former house of an old friend, and some entertaining memories flooded my mind.  If I would have taken an easier route, I would have missed some great things along the way.  Then it dawned on me: my walk was kind of like life.

Often, I feel that’s how God leads.  He leads me here and there to get to a destination I feel I could have somehow reached more easily.  Then, looking back, I see all the sweet things that were along the way.  In the end, the shortcut is not the best way.  His way is the best way.  I need to ask Him to help me to stop looking for various easier paths and enjoy my surroundings on the winding road He has me on.  Maybe you feel the same.  I would hope I’m not the only impatient one out there.  What destination are you so desperately trying to reach that you’re missing the lessons He has for you along the way? 

Tower of “I-Can-Do-It-Myself”

This morning I was reading the familiar story of the Tower of Babel.  It’s the story where people had one language, and they started building a tower that they wanted to reach all the way to heaven, “to make a name for [themselves]” (Gen 11:4), but God sees this and “comes down” (Gen 11:5) and confuses their languages, and the tower is never completed.  Obviously, their reason for making the tower was less than commendable (hello, pride anyone?), but the thing I was struck by is what the Lord said as he saw them building this tower: “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do.  And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” (Gen 11:6, ESV).  The unity of these people, combined with their intellect, their creativity, their skills, and hard work would have been able to accomplish anything.  That’s why God needed to confuse their languages–they needed to remember that He is the one in charge, not them.  He is all-powerful, not them.

This was a good reminder for me, as one who tries to do it all myself.  As humans, we are astounding creatures.  The way our bodies work absolutely perfectly is beautiful.  Our ability to learn, think, create, feel, and love is something to marvel at.  But it’s also something that causes us to often forget our need for God.  I worked with a pastor that used to remind us frequently that we were a smart, capable staff, which should scare us.  We could do lots of great, ministry-like events and tasks before we even realized we weren’t seeking God at all or relying on Him.  It’s easy for us to do everything on our own and forget our need for God.  We were made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), but we are not God.  We still need Him.  We need His power, His strength, His grace to work through everything we set out to accomplish.