Friday, November 30, 2007

Darwin Awards - Lawn Chair Larry

"A man can't just sit around...." Lawn Chair Larry

At Thursday night English conversation group we talked about a new television program that will be airing here in Budapest based on the "Darwin Awards." You can go to their website ( and you'll see that based on Darwin's "survival of the fittest" it pokes fun at how people do very stupid things to "chlorinate the gene pool." Yet, not everyone has to actually die to win the Darwin Award. Some people actually live to tell about it.

Take Lawn Chair Larry, for example. Addison shared his story on Thursday night and we laughed like crazy. Here's his story:

Lawn Chair Larry
1982 Honorable Mention
Confirmed True by Darwin

(1982, California) Larry Walters of Los Angeles is one of the few to contend for the Darwin Awards and live to tell the tale. "I have fulfilled my 20-year dream," said Walters, a former truck driver for a company that makes TV commercials. "I'm staying on the ground. I've proved the thing works."

Larry's boyhood dream was to fly. But fates conspired to keep him from his dream. He joined the Air Force, but his poor eyesight disqualified him from the job of pilot. After he was discharged from the military, he sat in his backyard watching jets fly overhead.

He hatched his weather balloon scheme while sitting outside in his "extremely comfortable" Sears lawnchair. He purchased 45 weather balloons from an Army-Navy surplus store, tied them to his tethered lawnchair dubbed the Inspiration I, and filled the 4' diameter balloons with helium. Then he strapped himself into his lawnchair with some sandwiches, Miller Lite, and a pellet gun. He figured he would pop a few of the many balloons when it was time to descend.

Larry's plan was to sever the anchor and lazily float up to a height of about 30 feet above his back yard, where he would enjoy a few hours of flight before coming back down. But things didn't work out quite as Larry planned.

When his friends cut the cord anchoring the lawnchair to his Jeep, he did not float lazily up to 30 feet. Instead, he streaked into the LA sky as if shot from a cannon, pulled by the lift of 42 helium balloons holding 33 cubic feet of helium each. He didn't level off at 100 feet, nor did he level off at 1000 feet. After climbing and climbing, he leveled off at 16,000 feet.

At that height he felt he couldn't risk shooting any of the balloons, lest he unbalance the load and really find himself in trouble. So he stayed there, drifting cold and frightened with his beer and sandwiches, for more than 14 hours. He crossed the primary approach corridor of LAX, where Trans World Airlines and Delta Airlines pilots radioed in reports of the strange sight.

Eventually he gathered the nerve to shoot a few balloons, and slowly descended. The hanging tethers tangled and caught in a power line, blacking out a Long Beach neighborhood for 20 minutes. Larry climbed to safety, where he was arrested by waiting members of the LAPD. As he was led away in handcuffs, a reporter dispatched to cover the daring rescue asked him why he had done it. Larry replied nonchalantly, "A man can't just sit around."

The Federal Aviation Administration was not amused. Safety Inspector Neal Savoy said, "We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, a charge will be filed." © 1994 - 2007
Submitted by: Ed Greany, Douglas Walker, Walter Hecht
Reference: UPI, Stabbed with a Wedge of Cheese by Charles Downey



Gloria Jean's Coffee House

If a coffee house could feel like your livingroom or some other part of your home, it would be Gloria Jean's Coffee House at Hero's Square. One of my favorite rooms to come and write is wallpapered in large, antique looking black and white flowered wallpaper. Comfortable striped chairs are in each corner near a plug. These have been my favorite spots to plop down with mini-round coffee tables where you can set your books and laptop and write away!

Lest you think I come here all the time, I have to say that the last time I was here was over a month ago. I only frequent the place when our internet at home goes out and I'm desperate for world wide connection.

This evening as I entered the coffee house from the very cold weather, I noticed an incredibly beautifully decorated tree with fake presents under it. The place is festive and I feel like I'm in America. Of Course, the original Gloria Jeans opened as a small coffee shop in Chicago but has now spread to over 26 nations. I recently discovered that they are a major sponsor for Mercy Ministries, an organization that helps women with eating disorders. I think that's pretty cool!!

Well, I was shocked as I walked in from out of the cold to a beautifully decorated coffee house AND I was greeted in English with a very friendly, "Jen!"

I actually said, "Huh?...What did you say?"

And they repeated it. "Jen. How are you Jen. Good to see you Jen." Not only did Csoba and Richard remembered my name, but I haven't been here in ages. I was absolutely taken off guard and just felt so loved. Isn't that funny? I'm loved and known at Gloria Jeans. I belong. My world is complete.

But seriously, in Eastern Europe customer service isn't quite what I'd call consistently good. Not that it's always bad either. It's just you never know what to expect. But I can expect the best here at Gloria Jeans. It's a little pricey - ok, a lot pricey - paying over $6 for a coffee and a semi-chocolate muffin, but hey. I'm not asking for the world. Just a little love.

Good Quote

"Life is not about reaching goals. It's about passing milestones."

Jack Hayford

A big duck in a small pond ? Jack Hayford's Humility

Jack Hayford has been a Christian for a long time. And in all that time he has never had a negative report of falling into sexual sin, financial sin or anything else. He is now the current president of the Foursquare Churches International. He is also a best selling author and pastored one of the largest churches in America for several years.

Jack Hayford recently spoke to Every Nation leaders about his life and ministry. This is vital because in an age when several men and women have fallen into sexual, financial and other sins, Jack is one of the few who is running this race and has not been stained by these things. THANK GOD. So encouraging!!

If you have a minute, you will not regret listening to Part II and III. It's absolutely encouraging and interesting. I think it's important to learn from older men and women and it's important to hear their stories. This is part of Jack's story and call into ministry and faith. As many of you know, both my sisters and my brother-in-laws are part of the Foursquare in Reno. Personally, I have been encouraged and strengthened in my faith through the Foursquare in Reno when I was home this summer.

You know, Jack Hayford's life encourages me. He is a steadfast, faithful and loyal man. THANK GOD FOR MEN LIKE HIM!!!

As I watched this I realized that I want to be a woman who stands in her 80's telling the next generation that it's possible to live a steadfast, faithful life for Jesus. I want to love one man for a lifetime who loves Jesus more than me, that together we can serve God for a lifetime, build a family and extend God's kingdom around the world - for a lifetime. I'm inspired.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We see with our eyes. God looks at the heart.

Funny isn't it that we see other people, our life circumstances, etc, etc, only with our natural eyes.

Yet, in David's case, God saw the heart of a young boy and his potential.

What's going on in my heart? It doesn't matter what my life looks like on the outside. It's all about the heart. That's good news really because I'm not living surface level Christianity, but God goes for the juggler. He's going after what really counts. A heart set apart. He aligns us to Himself when He looks at our heart. He's not satisfied with mental assent in anything.

I'm finding my faith challenged in a few areas and the biggest challenge is not to look with the natural eyes but to see things from His perspective - from His heart.

Thankful for the journey.

Hungarian lessons

My teacher, Gabi, looked a little frustrated at me.

She expects me to learn all these new things AND remember all the other stuff she taught me?

Ugh! My brain is on Hungarian overload.

Oh, it's no longer there....

This hasn't been the first time that a shop or a place I needed to go to here in Budapest that was once open and thriving is now shut down completely, or being renovated or has moved with little or no notice.

I guess this is where I realize I am a creature of habit.

I like to wake up with coffee, creamer and honey in the morning. It's part of the routine. I like to have time to read in the morning and focus.

I like to know that certain things are not going to change. For example, for convenience when I need to make copies and I go to the copy shop just before english conversation group. So, when the only copy shop you know of closes down and moves away....and you can't read the signs of where they kind of pushes some frustration buttons.....Found out later it moved just down the street. Found that out after I went to another place where I was hoping to find a copy machine. Got there and the copy machine was broken. OK, no big deal really. Isn't life about flexibility?

I like adventure. I like the unknown and the surprise of changes....atleast I assent to it in my mind. Then, I have to meet a girl at a McDonalds that is in a thriving area but come to find out all the lights are out and reconstruction under way. It looked fine to me before. So in the cold Budapest weather we are looking for another non-smokey area to meet.

It's actually really funny when you think about it! One time within about a week a small shop around the corner from my house just "appeared." Then another one a few blocks away suddenly shut down. When I first arrived, the internet cafe I was going to shut down unexpectantly and quickly became a shoe store......

So yeah. Life is like a box of chocolates in Budapest....You never know what you're going to get and sometimes it's just no longer there!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Pictures

Addison and Lisa hosted the Thanksgiving party at their house. Addison is technically savvy and posted the pictures from Thanksgiving. Here's the link for pictures.

They ordered two beautiful birds from this guy (you have to special order Turkey) and you can see them in the photos. Most of the Hungarians liked all the traditional American Thanksgiving food but yams seemed to be least popular.

It was exciting to see 9 girls from English conversation there. Trusting it's going to just build on great things from here. Attila, who has been coming to church for two months (I think mainly to be around Americans....He is determined to get to America, though I'm hopeful there will be more....) even sang the National Anthem on our glorious night.

I think he asked every one of us to join him until he finally convinced Peter to help him out.
He was a little disappointed when he asked me if we sing the National Anthem every Thanksgiving and I had to break it to him that actually we never sing it on Thanksgiving. It's more a football game tradition.

What's that smell?

Cleaning out my fridge recently I realized that there were a few items my roommate and I kept in there way past their expiration date. Smelly food is just not appealing. Once it was creamy white milk that you pour on your cereal or put into coffee. Now, it's curdled and has become a completely different substance. Leftovers from a previous nights delicious meal sit inside plastic wear and slowly become something else over time.

I started thinking about how many times I've held onto expired things in my life - attitudes that no longer serve me well, ideas and thoughts about people and things that are way past their time and must be released, hurts that I've allowed to sit and grow into something else over time.

Once again, it's time to clean out the fridge again both literally and in my personal life. There will always be things that need to be renewed. Life is about maintenance and sometimes we have to do some cleaning out to make room for new things. Here's to a winter cleaning.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A cultivator? A promotor?

"Your husband is your maker. His name is the LORD of Armies. Your defender is the Holy One of Israel. He is called the God of the whole earth."
Isaiah 54:5

Recently the thought crossed my mind. Why would God call Himself our "husband."? For men, this might be strange, so if you need to "check out" now is the time. But it must be God-inspired if it's in the Bible. There's something in the definition that is meant to encourage all of us as believers.

Looking up the word husband and husbandry, I found a lot of different meanings.

At sea, a husband is the owner of a ship who manages its concerns in person.

With money, a husband is a good manager. He knows and practices frugality and looks at ways to develop a profit.

In farming, a husband is a cultivator; a tiller of the ground. To husband something is to direct, manage, use or employ in the manner best suited to produce the greatest effect.

So lets break that down to God as a husband in our life.

He owns our ship.

He manages our concerns personally.
(He doesn't send someone else to do His dirty work. He gets in there and gets it done.)

He's developing eternal treasure inside of us.

He's a cultivator. He sows His seed in and helps it mature.

He's a promotor. He develops the crops within you.

God takes this role seriously and is willing to place himself in this definition to put an exlamation point on His willingness to clarify His purpose in your life. I find it interesting and encouraging.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


normal physical functions suspended or slowed down for a period of time;
as if in a deep sleep;
asleep, resting, inactive, passive, latent.

toilet paper

I don't think I'll ever get used to grabbing your toilet paper before you go into public stalls in schools and stores here in Hungary. Yes, that's right. Don't forget your toilet paper on the way in.

Atleast it wasn't the cardboard toilet paper found in some places in Hungary.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shut in and renewed

Yesterday I woke up feeling miserable. I don't think it had to do with eating thanksgiving turkey twice (once at the Bullocks and once for a special Thanksgiving event we hosted for Hungarians) although I'm sure the slices of pumpkin pie, apple pie and pecan pie didn't help.

Yesterday I stayed inside my flat all day long, except for once when I ran to the store to get water and milk. I sat in bed and read, organized papers, thought about lots of things. I think it was time to get caught up in my body, heart and mind, if that makes sense. A day of rest was desperately needed.

"Faith is an energetic art."

I came across this quote. This morning I have the desire to re-engage in my faith. The strength and faith it takes for living in our world can't be underestimated. Sometimes we just need to sit and think, rest and pray and then engage our faith in the real world. So, that's where I'm going today. After going with Gabor to this school, I will meet with Ezster, Peter's sister who is interested to hear more of my testimony. I told her a little at Nori's baptism last weekend and she was curious. Our team has been believing and praying for Peter's sister.

I'm thankful for God's presence.
I'm thankful for His purpose in our life.
I'm so thankful for a new day to practice the energetic art of faith and believing.

It's 6:45 am...

It's Saturday morning and I'm up early. I'm going with Gabor, one of the students who has been coming to English club since we started last Fall, to a city 25 minutes from Budapest so we can teach english to a class of elementary students.

Do I need to prepare, I asked Gabor yesterday? Nope. Just show up. That's all I know. Meet at Nyugati at 8:15 am and you'll receive further instructions.

Sometimes life is all about just showing up. Other times preparation is necessary for success. Either way, it's much too early to be writing but it brings me comfort and I enjoy it.

Why are men happier?

Men are happier people because.....
...their last name stays the same.
...the garage is all theirs.
...they can never get pregnant. mechanics tell them the truth.
...the occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected. shoes don't cut, blister and mangle their feet. conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
...they know stuff about tanks.
...a five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
...they can open all their own jars.
...if someone forgets to invite them, he/she can still be their friend.
...the same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
...they only have to shave their face and neck.
...they can "do" their nails with a pocket knife.
...they are unable to see wrinkles in their clothes.
...they have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.
...they can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24th in 25 minutes.

OK, so maybe this is a lil' exaggerated on some points but I'm sure there are some half-truths if not whole truths mixed into this one.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful in Budapest

I want to write. I have many thoughts but I have no energy. It's been a long couple of days filled with some good things. All I can say is that I'm thankful here in Budapest.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Diamond Anniversary!

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrate sixty years of married life on November 20th. That's a long time. Elizabeth was a 21 year old princess and Philip was a 26 year old naval officer when they first married. Four children later, the Queen is 81 and Philip 86. They've shared a glamorous but rough life together in the public eye, and they are still standing. More than 2,ooo people are expected to attende their anniversary service at Westminster Abbey.

"They've always leaned on each other,' says Pru Penn, who is older than the Queen by three months. "How else do you think she managed to cope so incredibly well through such tough times? Whatever people may think, they haven't had an easy life, especially in recent years, but they've had each other, and they still need each other. I was watching them teasing each other and giggling just the other day and I thought, how lucky they are to have each other. They've always been different - he's sharp, decisive, bold, and she's cautious and slow to make up her mind - and they don't always like the same things, but they fit like hand in glove."

Interesting thing is many people didn't think he would be a good suitor because of his background. Yet the Queen laid eyes on him 8 years prior and thought to herself, "That's the man I want to marry." I guess when you're a princess and daughter of the King of England, you can do that! To this day, she still looks at Philip with a glint in her eye whether he's barbecuing on the terrace or at a public engagement. Love it!

Although Philip came from royal blood, many feared he would not make it with the rigors of royal life but instead turn back to his father's example as a gambler and womaniser. Many thought Philip to be too rough and uneducated. Yet, 60 years later, here they are. And apparently they do still sleep in the same bed, despite the rumors going around that they don't.

In a world of quickie solutions and broken relationships, I'm thankful to hear of their 60 years together. Not only is it possible, it is happening in the world today.....Congratulations Queen Elizabeth and Philip.

Two couples I spent some time with this past summer also hit a milestone - the 50 year mark. I love hearing their stories. It gives me hope for the future, that it is possible. I'm sure it takes a lot of work, patience, perseverance, mutual respect, encouragement and a ton of other components but it sure looks inviting! To say you've made it to 60 years is quite a huge accomplishment.

A Thankful Heart!

I have found myself all over the place these days. Thankful, frustrated, full of joy, fearful, ready to persevere and lay hold of all that is ahead knowing that I can't throw in the towel now and yet coming to moments where it sure is tempting. Yet there's no where else to go. I really wouldn't want to go anywhere else anyways. As Peter told Jesus, "Who else holds the words of life?" No, not one other does.

It's time to get up from under emotional waves of uncertainty and realize that God is at work.

How can I maintain a thankful and joyful heart? In my natural temperament, I think I definitely live on this side of being thankful and joyful. But outside of temperament, when life throws you curve balls and things are unclear, how do you walk not after the flesh but after the spirit - thankful, joyful? I've been asking myself and others how to maintain this. Cultivation. Incubation. Saying NO to stagnation. Oh, Lord. I want a thankful heart this Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Imagination, Sanctification, Exaggeration

Is it all in my imagination?
This mind of mine that surely needs sanctification.
Oh Lord, I hope it's not all an exaggeration.
Now and then I'm feeling a bit of frustration.
When will this anxt turn to sweet elation.
In the meantime, I'm getting a lot of revelation.
And I know that you help me through every trial and tribulation.
Please come and be for me my vindication.
Sometimes I feel as though my heart is on full publication.
But through these things I'm finding a fresh education
As you teach me about love being patient and kind
As you teach me about love's full design.

night time dentistry

Things you'll never hear in the U.S.

"I have an appointment tonight at the dentists" my roommate recently said to me.

"Really? What time?" I asked.

"Around 6:30 pm."

"Are you nervous?" I asked.

"A little. They are going to replace a root canal on my tooth. I just don't know what to expect in another country, but it's Rita's dentist so it should be OK" said Anna. (Rita is a fellow Hungarian teacher and friend to Anna.)

"I'll be praying that all goes well" I said.

"Thanks." said Anna.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Life Journey....the Alps

This morning I read a Spurgeon devotional giving an analogy that the way of life is much like traveling through the Alps. The Alps mountain range spans the distance of several European countries including France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, and even little old Liechtenstein. The vast mountain range brings constant exposure to unclear mountain paths and one's feet can easily slip at different points along the way. This is true with any mountain range, I suppose. Not only is a life traveler exposed to pitfalls, the unexpected challenges of both rough and smooth terrain, but trouble comes with knees that get weak, feet that get weary of walking, changes in climate, dehydration and I'm sure the list goes on.

Thinking in terms of a mountain range is a bit of a shift for me. The analogy of being a long distance runner has always been an inspiration to me. Maybe this analogy has been most liked because the path is clear and it's all about endurance. Whoever just keeps running is going to make it to the finish line. Yet life is often much more about climbing the mountain. I don't think I really like that. Sometimes I would much prefer to know what I'm getting into rather than take on the unexpected. Yet I pride myself on being "the adventurous one."

As I thought about this analogy one truth came to mind about this climb called "Life's Journey". When you are fastened into unchanging truths - it's much like owning the equipment that avid mountain and rock climbers use - there is something settling that takes place in your life. Even when I lose my grip or the terrain is worse than I thought, my life is fastened into the unchanging love of God. I find the "tools" I need to get through. Whether that means glacier glasses or ice axes for mountaineering, I can get through everything and anything with His strength in my life.

His love, His faithfulness, His strength does not change even when everything around me is chaos, even when everything in my circumstances look unclear. I will make it to the top of the mountain and live to tell about it.

When I have difficulty climbing the mountain, I have to remember that I am fastened into His faithfulness and I have got every tool I need for success. It's because of my relationship with Him that I can make it to the top. I'm not going anywhere, even if I'm just hanging off the side of the mountain, swinging back and forth. I will wait for Him to come and help me. I don't care if it looks foolish. I'm not going anywhere because I want to make it through and to the top. He is there for me and He is there with me in this mountain climb.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Life in the Pest Today

Some of the staff went to lunch at a place that was supposed to be "Mexican" food today. Umm, no. That's all I have to say about it was not. OK, actually I have more to say about it. One of our team members said this was the recommended Mexican spot by a Hungarian restaurant reviewer. This reviewer has definitely never had authentic Mexican. Oh well. I still had a great time.

A few days ago, I pulled out the thicker jacket and I definitely needed it today. After staff meeting, the temperature had dropped atleast 10 degrees and it was freezing! I realized that Lake Balaton is going to be even colder. For three days in that cold weather I will need a second layer if I plan to run. So I packed it tonight. I was informed that I'll have to get up super early if I want to run because basically, we will be busy from 8 am until 11 pm at night at this "Let's Talk" English Intensive with Hungarians. It should be interesting to say the least.

I still have neck pain so I haven't been in the water since last week. I'm sort of bummed about that but what can you do? Bike and run, which is what I've been doing. Swimming is the least strenuous in some ways but when your neck hurts and you have to breathe on both sides, it's kind of impossible.

I sent out an invitation to about 15 girls for a movie night and I've been getting emails/text msgs from girls today and most of them have been confirming for this Saturday. So far, 9 (or 10?) are coming. Nori is going to help me shop for snacky food. We are going to have a great time! These girls have only come around to English Clubs so I'm hoping they will see something different as we hang out and that it will be a segway to life and faith.

I met with Nori tonight for over three hours! Wow, that girl is at such a great place. I LOVE being around people who are just coming into the faith walk and are hungry for God's truth. She's such a sponge. She wants to know it all. It's so exciting to walk with her through the basics of faith - the foundations of faith in Christ. Hmmm, I love it. She wants to get water baptized and so we are talking about doing that this month! I love being with new believers because I'm reminded of what God has done in my heart. God surely has done a lot.

I'm excited to have several days away from internet access at Lake Balaton. I'm sure I'll be on people overload after the week ends but I'm curious about meeting professional Hungarians who want to increase their english speaking skills. Life in the Pest - I guess it's never "boring."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Training this week

I was planning to swim and bike early this morning on Margaret Island but went to bed and woke with pain in my neck. So, instead I'll do the stationary bike and lots of stretching exercises at the local gym where aerobic classes shout "Harom, ketto, egy....". Not quite sure what happened to my training partner, Nona, but she sent a text to say she is out for about 10 days and needs to focus on stretching/recovery. Hope she's OK. I'll call her later.

Then I read online news Saturday that Ryan Shay who was set to go to the Olympics and compete in the Marathon event died on the event qualifier race Saturday. Apparently, he had an enlarged heart. How sad because he was so young and no doubt just starting out with his Olympic goals. I read is that his father had considered coming up and surprising him Saturday morning but second guessed himself and stayed behind. Now he says he regrets it. Wow, that sucks! So much to be thankful for each day. All we have is today and we should live it well.

Anyways, it's amazing how our bodies are affected by every little thing and things we don't even understand. But I guess pain is an indicator that our body is telling us something. So, with my neck I wasn't about to push it and try and swim.

I'm thinking ahead to how I will train when I'm at the English Camp at Lake Balaton Wednesday through Friday. I wonder if there will be marked out paths so I'll atleast get a few good runs in. I was just starting to get back into the training groove and I don't want to lose it.

I found a sprint triathlon in Dubai, UAI, but it's December 14th and although I would love to go, I'm still not sure what will be happening with my passport/visa by that time. I have a feeling I won't have it back in hand by then....Also, my hope is to get home for Christmas or just after Christmas so all of my fundage is going in that direction. Still hoping to find a sprint tri perhaps by March? We will see.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Joy comes

The alarm goes off at 6 am and I'm well aware it's early. I fumble out of bed, change into running clothes, heat some water for coffee and open up my Bible.

Yesterday I was wrestling with random thoughts and feelings of discouragement, fear and even sorrow. Thoughts about my visa, the girls who have started to come around English club, Christmas and whether I will get to go home, my future and on and on. Not wanting to go to bed in this funk, I tried to chase down these unexplainable thoughts and feelings. Here's a quote that's been a good thing for me. "Our feelings and our experiences are not the sum total of truth. God's word is truth and we need to cling to that when what we can observe tells us otherwise." Then I opened to Psalm 34.

He frees us from all fears and those who look to Him for help are radiant with joy - that no shadow of shame will darken the face - and desperate prayers, oh yes. They are welcome because those who trust God won't lack one good thing!

The water is heated so I make a cup in the french press and drink it as I re-read Psalm 34 this morning. Great stuff to chew on. I get my running shoes on, lace up my house keys and grab the i-pod. I'm off for a good run.

It's 7:20 am at Hero's Square and other than a few tourists milling around, there's not a lot of activity. With leaves still falling and painting the roads with crushed orange, firey red and bright yellow leaves, I'm in awe of God's creation. He made all of this for me (and you)? Wow.

Songs I'm listening to as I run include "Shadowfeet" Brooke Fraser, "Speed of Sound" Coldplay, "No One" Alicia Keys, "Check for Us" Cross Movement, "Lead me to the cross" Hillsong United, "Signature of the Divine"Needtobreathe, "Yellow" Coldplay, "Put Your Records on" Corinne Bailey Rae, "My Hope" David Crowder, and "Keep Holding on" by Avril Lavigne.

I ran for about an hour....with a few times 1 minute stops to walk out the cramp in my neck and back. Excited to see what the future holds. I'm releasing my fears to Him. As I look to him minute by minute, I am radiant with joy. Joy comes in the morning.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

God loves ugly

A few weeks ago I enjoyed a weekend trip to Krakow. Among the highlights was an evening event that my friend Diana helped coordinate that was put on by the Polish Gospel Choir. Yes, Poles sing gospel and quite well, I might add. Besides being moved by Diana's solo where the woman sang with such soul, (she was off the chain.....whatever that means) I was most incredibly provoked by Arek's solo.

Arek is a quadriplegic. He has very limited use of his hands and absolutely no use of his feet. Maybe it was a combination of the visual and audial message that God used as He sang with an incredible voice. His solo came from Psalm 121 called MY HELP and after the choir and song leader sang this psalm gospel style, there is a reprise which Arek sang "my help, my help, my help, all of my help, cometh from the Lord." I was undone.

I can't imagine what it must be like to get up every day and need the help of others to do your basic and ordinary life functions. But this is the life of the quadriplegic. When I was in college my junior year, I was an RA and there was a girl named Susan in my dorm who God sovereignly placed in my life. Through our friendship, I was able to see what it's like to live as a quadriplegic and it is definately NOT easy. To make matters worse, my friend Susan was a quadriplegic because her mother didn't want her at birth. Can you imagine that Susan's mom failed at trying to self-abort Susan? Talk about painful knowledge of your past. I know that this is graphic, but that is the ugliness of sin.

Anyways, I believe there is so much value in the lives of Areks and Susans. They remind us unashamedly that God does not look at the outward appearances but He looks at the heart. Some people have it all together on the outside but inside they're just ugly. Then other people are shunned by society as misfits and ugly. Yet God takes these lives and He promotes, He loves and He enjoys them as His treasure!

Oh that we would be changed inside, that our view of people and things would go beyond the natural eye to see things from a heavenly perspective.

That night as tears streamed down my face I was reminded again that "God loves ugly", as Christa Black sings. "He doesn't see the way I see...God takes ugly and turns it into something that is beautiful....Apparently, I'm beautiful...Cause you love me...."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

2010 Triathlon World Championship Events Hosted In Budapest

I find it so ironic that the world championship events will be hosted here in Budapest in 2010. Althletes will compete through the heart of the city from what's been printed about the event and no doubt there will be training activities on Margaret Island. Budapest truly is an incredibly beautiful city - set to be a World Heritage Site as well.

Sometimes I can hardly believe I live here. And other times I quickly remember like the last few days as Hungarians celebrate the day of the dead. Needless to say, what an inspiration. I'd love to be around and see these events!

The Passions day of death


The Passion.
Every generation seeking His heart in a heartless world.

Watch. Pray. Stay here. Pain. Agony. God’s love. God’s calling. The tempter’s voice. Deceptions call to turn away. His destiny. An unseen burden carried. The world on his shoulders. Souls saved. My soul saved. Great expense. Another way? No, Your will be done. Evil’s question “Who is your father?” The snake sent to bite. The snake crushed. Death, where is your power? Betrayal for coins. No fear in His eyes. The kiss. Confusion. Fights. One pair of eyes in flaming fire. Healing a bloody ear. Will you have ears to hear? Not by the sword. Love alone conquers. Conquered and beaten. A man of strength and love. No angels rescue. A crown of thorns. No father’s intervention. Pain at the hands of man. Demons taunting. Judas remorse. It’s not a party. Prince’s death begins. Unlawful questions. Unfair treatment. A son’s childhood memories but now a man or more than a man? Questions revealing. “Are you the messiah, son of the living God?” Only one answer. “IAM.” Roaring crowds. Peter’s betrayal. Confusion and anger in the city. Beatings survived. Demons taunting Judas. Cursed to death over innocent life. Pilates questions. Jesus answers “My kingom is not of this world.” Pilates solution. More beatings. Herod mocks. Pilate’s wants to release Jesus. Barabus gets a new life instead. Jesus’ sustaining love. Road opens. Blood-stained and heavy cross. People taunting. Mary weeping. Disciples remembering. Life blood. Life words. Pondering it all. Will you carry my cross with me? Darkness covers. A hill above the city for all to see. Hands are pierced. Feet nailed too. Cross is lifted. Earth’s gift is His love. Dark clouds gather. Hopeless thief on the cross gets second chance. Lightning flashes. Left alone. Rocks split. Sword pierces. Graves open. Jesus dies.

All is still. Lifeless earth.

Heaven welcomes. Celebration. Good will towards mankind. Wonderful God. Counselor. Prince of Peace and peace on earth. Mighty God. Resurrection crowns Him. Words remembered. New life imparted. Words carried like a torch. Pain forgotten. Fires lit by the love in His eyes. A people set ablaze. Every generation seeking His heart in a heartless world. The Passion.

Hosanna (which is an expression of adoration, praise or joy!)
Hillsong United
I see the king of glory
Coming down the clouds with fire
The whole earth shakes
I see his love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing,
“Hosanna in the highest”
I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
I see a new revival
Staring as we pray and seek
We're on our knees,
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what is yours
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity