Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Fun MeMe (A.K.A. ... a stolen post from Judy!) :D

In your entire life, have you ever ...........

gone on a blind date? .... Nope.

skipped school? .... Not an entire day. But I have skipped a few classes at IUPUI.

watched someone die ? .... No.

been to Canada? .... And, no.

been to Mexico? .... Yes. :) I went on a mission trip to the Texas/Mexico border the summer after my freshman year of high school. I, most of my youth group, and some other folks from our church went down to do some puppet ministry. We stayed with some of the missionaries we support at our church (they live on the outskirts of Texas) ... and we drove into Mexico everyday to put on puppet shows in churches and parks. It was hot! But a good experience!

been to Florida? .... Yep. We used to drive down to Florida for family vacations every summer. We haven't done something like that since I was probably 10 or 11! Wow!

been on a plane? .... I think only once or twice. To and from Texas for the mission trip. To and from Boston with my friend, Mags. I dread flying though. My ears ache (BADLY!) the entire trip! :(

swam in the ocean? .... Yes. But only close to the shore. I am a huge wimp. I am afraid a shark will come bite my arm off or a jellyfish will sting me in the leg! Ahh!

had your booze taken away by the cops? .... Umm, no.

lettered in high school sport? .... Nope.

cried yourself to sleep? .... Heck, yes! .... I cried myself to sleep for the first two months while I was at Taylor my freshman year. And although I'm better know ... I cried myself to sleep many nights back in August. So glad God is healing. :)

played cops and robbers? .... Hmm ... I want to say yes! Man! That sounds like fun! ... But sadly, I don't think so.

played dolls? .... Yeah. :/ .... I was such a tomboy growing up ... how is it that I loved Barbies so much? Ugh.

sung Karaoke? .... Yep! Fun times!

done something you told yourself you wouldn't? .... Oh, yes. Dangit.

cheated on an exam? .... I don't think I've ever cheated on an exam. Ha! I remember accidentally seeing someone's answer to a test question once, realized their answer was correct and mine was wrong ... but I couldn't change my answer because that would be cheating. Sheesh. But sadly, I've let someone copy my math answers before. :(

made prank phone calls? .... No prank phone calls. I don't like the phone.

laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose? .... I believe so. Hilarious!

caught a snowflake on your tongue? .... Every winter. :)

danced in the rain? .... YES!!! It is so much fun! You MUST try it!

written a letter to Santa Clause? .... Nope. My parents told me Santa was fake from the get-go.

watched the sunrise with someone you care about? .... Does Jesus count? ;) Well, of course He does!

been kissed under the mistletoe? .... Never been kissed ....

Ever been arrested? .... Nope ....

blown bubbles? .... Oh, yeah!

gone ice-skating? .... Yep, and I'm awful at it!

been skinny dipping outdoors? .... Yes. And I'm totally being serious.

had a nickname? .... Yep, yep ... a few. Mike, Mickey Poo, Scubie, Masterpiece ... I think that's all of 'em. :)

been to Africa? .... Nope.

eaten cookies for dinner? .... I don't think so ... but yummy!

been on TV? .... Nope, nope.

been in a car accident? .... Yep. I got a black eye.

What is your Mother's name? .... Jo Ann Masterson.

favorite drink? .... Oh, that's easy! Sweet tea wins - hands down!

favorite alcohol? .... Yuck! I've tried several drinks since I turned 21 ... but they are all gross.

birthplace? .... Good ol' Indy.

favorite vacation spot? .... I agree with Judy - road trips are fun! .... I like going to Tennessee. I love mountains! And I'd like to go to New Zealand someday! :)

favorite salad dressing? .... Don't really care for salad most of the time ... but when I do eat it - ranch.

favorite pie? .... Apple with vanilla ice cream - yum!

favorite number? .... 2005. Yeah ... I'm lame. That is the year I graduated from high school.

favorite movie? .... All-time favorite = Hairspray!

favorite holiday? .... Hmm ... that's a tough one. Probably Christmas.

favorite food? .... That's easy! Potatoes!!! Mashed, fried, baked! Mmmm!!!!

day of the week? .... Sunday - always and forever! I LOVE going to church and hanging out with the Body of Christ!!!!!!!!!!

favorite brand of body wash? .... No favorite ....

favorite toothpaste? .... Whatever's in the drawer, I suppose.

favorite smell? .... Another easy one! --- Campfires!

Do you have any tattoos? .... Nope.

body piercings? .... Nope. My goal is to never even get my ears pierced. No particular reason.

Do you drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? .... 4 doors. I like my Malibu!

What do you do to relax? .... Read my bible ... listen to music ... take a nap ... write letters to people ... check my e-mail ....

How do you see yourself in 10 years? .... Hmm! Whoa! I have NO idea!!!! I'll be 31. Hopefully be married and have a few kids by then. :) Be working in kids/youth ministry at my church ... homeschooling my kids ... loving my husband (whomever he may be) ... becoming a sage. ;) But really ... who knows? God's changed a lot in my life so far, and I'm only 21! Who knows where He'll take me in 10 years! Ahh!!!! Trusting Him. Loving Him. Following Him. All the days of my life! :)

...... Well, that was fun! You all should copy and paste this ... and add it to your blog! :D

Oh, the Verbs! :D

Wah-ho! I came across a cool Psalm the other day. I sent it to a friend ... 'cause it reminded me of him ... and I meant to send it to ya'll then ... but didn't get around to it. So here it is!

Read Psalm 147. And check out the verbs! Yep! I don't know if it's my "Englishness" coming out ... or what. I've never paid attention to the parts of speech as I've read God's word ... but it was cool to dwell on the verbs in this chapter.

Powerful verbs! Fo sho!!!! .... Things like ... God ... "heals, binds up, gives, supports, covers, provides, favors, strengthens, makes peace, satisfies" ... and so many more! Check 'em out! ... Seriously! Go read this Psalm right now - I'm not joking! ;)

I love to hear God's promise to HEAL .... because He is in the process of healing me over some things. It's a long process ... but His word is full of promises of restoration that give me hope!

I love the verb BINDS ... "binds up." When I think of "binds," I think of God weaving the threads of my life together .... binding each thread to the other ... making it into a beautiful piece of work - perfect and complete. Again ... another promise that He will restore me one of these days. :)

I really like SUPPORTS and COVERS. He is my stronghold ... and He is with me wherever I go. What promises! Dwell on those promises!!!!

And SATISFIES. Yeah! He sure does, doesn't He?! Whenever I read the word "satisfies" in scripture, it reminds me that ONLY JESUS CAN SATISFY my longings, my dreams, my calling.

Mmm hmm. Our God is amazing. And He provides great verbs to help us figure Him out a bit. :) Oh, verbs are fun! :D

Have a marvelous, merry Christmas, all! And be careful on the roads. Oooo - look out! Ice! Have a great holiday, my friends! :D

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More from the Laminin Dude!

So yeah ... I'm back at it! :)  Don't you love blogging? ........ Well, this is a fairly short post.  I just wanted to encourage ya'll to check out some sermons if you get a chance.

I've been sitting at The Porch all day today ... pricing books, helping out the 2 customers that have dropped by since 10am, and yeah ... not too much going on here today.  But!  While I've been sitting, pricing books, I've been listening/watching sermons on youtube.  Yep ... that silly thing is good for something (not to mention the "Spider Man 3 'How it should have ended.'" ... yes, I'm obsessed.  Go check it out on youtube sometime.  Hilarious!). .... Back to what I was talking about.  Seriously.  Tangent Queen. :D ..... The cool laminin guy from a post oh, so long ago ... is a pastor for some big church somewhere.  I know.  I don't know the details on this guy ... sorry for that. .... He is really into astronomy.  And the sermons I've been listening to today focus in on how BIG and POWERFUL our God is and how SMALL and INSIGNIFICANT we are! .... That may not be something you want to hear ... but it is so needed in our lives!  We get so "puffed up" at times ... thinking that we are something special.  When, in reality ... GOD is the only one who matters ... and He is the CREATOR of us.  He is the Creator of the entire universe, which He holds in the palm of His hand. .... Okay ... so much for a short post, huh? ;) ...... Go to youtube ... type in "Louie Giglio" (the name of the cool pastor guy) ... and check out two of his sermon series (By the way .... how do you make the word "series" plural?  Hmm ...).  Check out these series --- "How Great is Our God" and "Indescribable."  They show lots of cool pictures of the galaxies in our universe ... and how BIG and POWERFUL our God is. .... You might want to put this on while you're doing housework or homework or something like that ... 'cause they are fairly long sermons ... but a good thing - they are broken down into 9-minute segments. :)

Well ... if you get some time on your hands.  Ha!  'Cause we all have tons of that these days. *Lots of eye rolling!* ;) ..... Check these out!  Louie's a pretty passionate speaker, so you shouldn't get bored.  And you get to see lots of cool pictures of what God has made outside of our tiny planet earth.  It's pretty cool.  Check it out, if you get a chance! :)

Have a great day, all! :D

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favorite Family Ever: My Big Brother! :)

Hmm ... remember that "Favorite Family Ever" post I left a long time ago?  It was about my friend, Melissa. ..... "Bumblebee."  Is that ringing a bell?  If not, check out my "Favorite Family Ever" posts on the left hand side of my blog sometime and read the bumblebee story. :)  Well, when I wrote that post, I meant to continue on with stories about my favorite family in the world ... the Cooks/Adamsons gang. :)  For those who don't know, this "gang" is a group of friends from my #1 church family, Calvary Chapel. :) ..... I've known "Uncle" Mike and Jen Cook and their son, Adam, since the first day we started going to church at Calvary ... wow ... almost 16 years ago.  Wow!  They and our family are pretty close.  The Adamsons are Adam's cousins, and we've pretty much known them about as long.  Anyway.  They are a group of absolutely hilarious folks!  They constantly brighten my days.  It is such a blessing to call them my church family.  And over the years, they have become kind of a second family to me ... hence, UNCLE Mike. :)

Well, my next family member story is about Adam. :)  He's been my "big brother" for as long as I can remember.  I have lots of stories about Adam.  He has been one of my longest friends.  He stands right next to Mags on my "longest friends" list.  Adam and Maggie were the two I met first when my family started going to Calvary Chapel. :) .... Well, okay.  On to Adam.  Where should I start? ...... Hmm ....

Adam was my first crush.  Yeah ... I was 8.  My family and his family hung out every Sunday night and Wednesday night after church.  He, my brother, Wes, and I played video games in his bedroom .... Adam played the drums and I sang at worship team practices.  Adam and I played basketball together a lot.  What can you expect? .... Ha! .... But those were before the "big brother" days, so don't get freaked out. ;) ....

Adam has ALWAYS been one of those "pick me up" guys in my life.  Always.  He is amazingly encouraging.  Encouragement is most certainly one of his spiritual gifts.  He is really good at figuring out when people are down .... never hesitating to head over and talk with them ... and NEVER lacking the talent to make them laugh.  He just lives and breathes encouragement.  He walks into a room, and people immediately start "feeling better."  I'm serious!  He's just one of those rare people ... a pick me up ... and he doesn't even have to try. :)  And he is absolutely hilarious!  He makes me laugh more than anyone in the entire world!  No joke!  And, as you all know, laughter is my middle name. :) .... Just the other day (Sunday after church), Adam called me over and said something to the affect of .... "Mike, you are one of those people who is happy all the time.  Does it just come naturally to you? ... It is a rare thing. .... Ya know, I know a lot of people, but you are at the top.  You are always joyful and you laugh a lot.  It's a good thing." ... Again ... not exactly ... but that was the basic message.  It was a great chat.  But then, it's always fun to be complimented, isn't it? ;) .... But yeah!  Adam is always doing that.  He is constantly pulling me aside to make me laugh or to compliment me.  He's an amazing encouragement to me, that's for sure!!!

One story about Adam sticks out in my mind ... I'll never forget it. :) ....... He, my friend, Jon, (his cousin), and I used to play basketball together all the time.  We'd head out to the basketball court behind the church and play almost every Sunday night after youth group/small group ... and sometimes, they would come over to my house and play on our basketball court.  Well, one Saturday afternoon, Adam and Jon called me up and asked if they could come over to hang out.  We ended up spending the whole afternoon together. :)  My brother tagged along for part of the day .... and it was just me and the guys. :)  By this time, I had a huge crush on my friend, Jon, and Adam was pretty much my favorite person in the whole world, so it was a day I'll never forget. ;)  It was pretty great ... no doubt about it! .... We rode go-carts in our backyard; we swam in our pool; we played basketball.  A great day! :) .... So while we were playing basketball ... just shooting around really (you can't do much with three people) ... we were chatting a bit.  I don't remember what we talked about .... but the part of the conversation I will NEVER forget was simple but oh, so important to me.  Adam said, "So Jon ... did you know that Mike is my little sister?  She is.  I'm her big brother.  She's my little sister.  So that means she's kind of your little sister too, which means you can pick on her too." .... Ha ha!  See.  I told you it was simple. ;)  But really, it was huge!  Adam isn't the "touchy-feely" kind of guy, as I call 'em ... and he doesn't just say things to say 'em.  So for him to "announce" me as his sister meant the world to me!  He took the big brother stuff seriously, and that made my heart leap!  Yep ... I'm a sappy girl .... my heart leaps when I get excited about stuff. ;)  Since then ... Adam has been my big brother.  He is one of my all-time favorite guys!  He is, as he likes to call himself, my "prescription."  No matter what I'm up to ... if I'm sad or excited, he comes along and gives me a boost.  He's my laughter medicine.  My pick me up prescription.  A great joy in my life! :)  I love him to death!

So yeah ..... that's my big brother!!!! :D  See why he's apart of my favorite family ever?! :D 

Chicken Noodle Soup and some Sweet Jesus Peace ....

Mmmm .... Chicken Noodle Soup.  It is perfect for this weather!!!  You can't beat a good old grilled cheese sandwich, popcorn, and chicken noodle soup dinner during cold (frigid!) nights like tonight.  Man.  I'm not ready for this 12-degree weather.  Isn't that supposed to hold off until the heart of winter (January/February months)???  Sheesh.  Well, it's here early this year, I guess ... so we'll just have to embrace it!  And what better way than to heat up some yummy soup and simply warm up with the Spirit.

.... Yep.  This blog post is not just about chicken noodle soup. :) ..... I'm finally done with my semester, and I've been working for my mom the past couple of days.  I'm sitting in the store now, actually. :)  There isn't much to do until tomorrow when we bring some books from home to price .... and I'm here until 7pm. :)  Or until my good friend, Alex, shows up for our Jesus Talk. :) .... While I've been sitting, I started listening/watching a youtube video of a pastor named Louie Giglio (he's the laminin guy ... remember that post?).  He has a 6-part series called "The Song of the Redeemed."  Each part is about 9 minutes long.  Check it out sometime. :)  Good stuff! .... But anyway .... I just finished watching all 6 parts.  Halfway through the series, I ran in the house to heat up some chicken noodle soup ... popped some popcorn ... and headed back out to the computer to watch/listen to this cool pastor guy.  At one part, he started talking about our salvation.  The series is all about worship ... not just worship with songs ... but worship with our lives ... getting excited about the story God gave us ... and "pushing play" on the song of our redemption!  It's a pretty cool analogy ... yep, you would like it Alex and Alec! :D .....

While I was watching one of the clips ... and eating my yummy soup and popcorn, I started basking in the sweet peace of Jesus.  My heart and mind have been shouting at me for quite some time ... for a few reasons ... but this week, God's been pouring on the peace. :)  Isn't that fun?  It's always a joy to rest in God's peace.  And when I say peace ... we can take that in so many ways.  'Cause God provides peace in so many ways and in so many seasons of life.  But the Louie Giglio clips helped me simply bask in the peace that comes through my salvation. .... It helped me put things into perspective a little bit, which is always a tremendous thing! :)

I've been pressing into Jesus a lot over the past several months.  It's been painful but really, really good.  But lately, I've found myself worrying.  Ha!  What the heck, Mical?!  I've been working on this whole trust issue .... thinking that I'm getting closer ... and now ... worry clouds my view of life.  It clouds my view of the big picture.  I'm worrying about things that can't be helped ... when do we worry about things that CAN be helped?  If we could help them along, then we wouldn't worry about 'em.  Sheesh.  *Sigh* .... But anyway ... Worry is no fun.  But in the midst of this worry ... God is pouring on the peace tonight.  And showers of the sweet peace of Jesus is ALWAYS great!  And being reminded of the peace that comes from salvation is even greater!  The thought occurred to me tonight, that no matter what is coming my way ... I am saved.  Saved!  SAVED!!!  No matter what happens on this planet .... in this crazy little thing called Mical's life ... I can rest in the fact that I. Am. Saved.  Wow!  I can get all worked up about things ... relationships ... future plans ... pimples (yes, I worry about those far more than I should sometimes) ... but when you get down to it ... I am saved.  My eternity is secure.  My joy is complete.  My life is good.  Actually, my life is great! :)

Hmm. :)  I am saved.  That's a pretty BIG thought when you sit and think about it!  And amazing peace comes from simply sitting and dwelling on it.  Awesomeness!

.... And it all started with a mug of yummy chicken noodle soup. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Minute Christmas Shopping? :)

Well, hello again, my friends! :) Just a quick announcement! :):):)

Anyone still doing your Christmas shopping? Need a good place to pick up some nifty gifts for friends and family??? I've got just the place for you!

The Porch!

Yep! I'm talking about my mom's store ... the quaint little shop off of old 36 ... right down the street from Calvary Chapel, across from Beasley's Orchard! I started working in the store today (yay for Christmas break work with flexible hours!) ... and the longer I was in there sorting/shelving books, the more I got to thinking about what a GREAT place it is! I can't wait to see all the new customers come in this spring/summer! It's a great place to hang out ... drink some tea ... and buy some SWEET stuff! It's not just full of GREAT books at reasonable prices! It's got so much more! Games! Teas! Gift baskets! Toys! Nifty trinkets! It is a great place for books and gifts for the whole family! If you haven't bought all your Christmas presents yet ... stop by The Porch, and check it out!!! You know book lovers ... you know tea lovers ... come on over, and check us out!!!

And my mom and I got a kick out of .... well ... me ... today, as we were chatting in the store. Here's the story ... I can't get over how cute her store is! And she has these fantastic gift baskets! Some of them have tea pots, tea, and cookies ... wrapped so neatly and are just tons of fun! Well ... she also has "get well" gift baskets. A great idea if you really get down to it! They are baskets full of a mug, soup, orange juice, crackers, tissues, and suduko/crossword puzzles. Seriously! What great idea! And they are wrapped so nicely too! ;) .... Well ... half the time I was working in the store today, I kept looking over at these gift baskets thinking, "Man! What a great idea!" "Man! Those are so cute!" "Man!" .... And at the end of the day ... I told my mom how much I liked the baskets ... and then I said, "Man, I like them so much that I wish my friends would get sick so that I could buy these 'get well' gift baskets for them!" ;) Ha! We both got a kick out of it! ... I'm serious though! I think they are GREAT! It would be so fun to buy a "get well" gift basket for a friend. It's almost worth someone getting sick ... but not quite. ;) Ha ha ha! They are cute gift baskets. That's all I have to say about that! :D

So! Come! Visit The Porch before Christmas! We're open this week - Monday through Thursday from 10am to 7pm .... and next week we go back to our regular hours ... Tuesdays: 10am-7pm; Wednesdays: 10am-4pm; Saturdays: 10am-3pm! Stop by! It is a nifty little place full of GREAT stuff! And you get free tea and cookies out of the deal! Man! You're lucky! You should stop by! ..... Yep. You should! :D

Friday, December 12, 2008


Wow. It's kind of fun messing with the fonts on this blog thing. There aren't many to choose from, but I was getting bored with the standard font for this blog. ;) ... So glad I finally figured out how to be a little more creative with this crazy thing called "blog world." :D

Alright! So my last post was a total tangent. I was gonna blog about how I'm done with school - BRIEFLY (ha, like Mical Masterson can do ANYTHING briefly) - then move into a cool song God's been laying on my heart this week. But alas ... the Tangent Queen prevails. ;) So ...... for this post, let's get back to what I originally intended for blogging today. :)

These are lyrics to a simple but great song from the Lord. We sing it at Calvary every now and then. :)


Beautiful. Beautiful. Jesus is beautiful.
And Jesus makes beautiful things of my life.
Carefully. Touching Me. Causing my eyes to see.
Jesus, You're beautiful. Jesus, my Lord.

I was having a Godsong moment again early this week. I think it was Monday ... early on in the week, that's all I remember. I think I was driving, on my way school ... on my way home ... something like that. And all of sudden, my mind started singing "Beautiful. Beautiful. Jesus is beautiful." ... Out of nowhere! I haven't heard that song in forever! And there I was ... singin' it. :) .... My favorite part of this song is the line that says "Jesus makes beautiful things of my life." ... I think God put it on my heart because ... like I've said over and over (and over again) on this blog .... I've gone through some crazy things over the past year. And I'm super thankful that God is healing in so many ways. But I'm not completely healed yet. ..... But God wanted to remind me of all the amazing things He's been letting into my life through the heartache. In addition to talking about my hurts, I've also been mentioning the greatest joys that have come out of my life over the past year. And in giving me this song this week, God wanted me to remember all of those "greatest joys." "Mical, I'm making beautiful things of your life." .... Wow. That is powerful! Really! Read that again! "I'm making BEAUTIFUL things of YOUR life." The pain brings beauty. It really, really does. That lesson - beauty from pain - is one of the greatest lessons I've learned over the past year (I told you I'm learning a lot!). ;) And God wanted to remind me of that through this song.

And the song goes on to say "Causing my eyes to see." He does. He causes us to SEE all that He desires for us to see. He wants us to see His blessings. He wants us to see more of Himself. He wants us to see the big picture. And sometimes, more often than we'd like, He must use pain to help us see. .... We're pretty stubborn, if you haven't noticed. And sometimes, He must take things away, hinder things, at times, so that we will get our focus off of ourselves and SEE HIM. See His plan. His purpose. His calling. Him. It's not very much fun. Nope. But God didn't say it would be, did He? ;) .... "He must DENY HIMSELF, take up your cross daily, and follow me." "In this world, you WILL have trouble." "WHEN you face trials of MANY kinds ... the TESTING of your faith." ..... None of these things sound very "fun" to me. Ha! But ..... aren't you glad He doesn't stop there. He calls for us to deny ourselves and follow Him so that we will not "forfeit our souls." ... so that we will have eternal life - with Him. (Luke 9:23-25). He says we are sure to have troubles, heartache, pain ... but then He ways "Take heart! I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33). And He says "when" we face trials, not "if." But then He says that the testing of our faith develops perseverance ... and the whole goal of perseverance (even though it's not any fun at all!) is our maturity. He wants us to be COMPLETE, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4). .... So God's got some great PLANS in store for all our struggles. For all our joys too. :) He's causing us to SEE through all of these ups and downs.

So see? Isn't that a GREAT song!? Simple, but oh, so powerful!!!!! Don'tcha love it when God puts songs on our hearts, and then goes a step further and teaches us things through them!? Our God is beyond amazing! Keep pressing into Him, friends! :)

Don't make plans ....

I'M DONE WITH SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (At least for now!) I've got an entire month off, and it's one of the most amazing feelings I've had in a long time! .... I just finished the worst semester of my life! Some crazies collided with the beginning of school year ... so I kind of dug myself a hole, academically, from the get-go. I lost all motivation. I was near depression in some ways. So what did I do? I pressed into Jesus! Bitterly ... angerly at times, but I sought after our mighty Savior! It was a struggle ... to say the least. And HE is the ONLY one who pulled me through this awfulness (well, He let a few people in on the help too). I pulled out of the semester though ... I'm probably gonna get a C in one of my classes (Mical Masterson doesn't get C's), but my other grades are good. :) So God is faithful. And .... I'M DONE!!! And it's only UP from here!!!

... I've got tons of great plans set up for next semester. "Whoa! Careful, Mical!" ... is what I hear myself saying. If there's one thing I've learned this semester (and I've learned far more than only ONE thing!), it's that we can't make too many plans. I've been making a few plans for several, several years ... and over this past year ... God's been wipin' 'em all away! But let's stay uplifting here ... God is wipin' 'em away because He's got something amazing up His sleeve! So ... I've learned ... don't make plans. Don't get so caught up in what you think YOU want to do ... don't even get caught up in what you think GOD wants you to do!!!! 'Cause He very well may CHANGE EVERY BIT OF IT!!!! ... And believe me ... I'm not trying to be a debbie downer here. I am just trying to look at the big picture (another lesson God's been teaching me). :) ... Nothing we do matters. Jesus is it. Jesus is the only one who matters. His plan. His purpose. His calling. Him. So when I make plans, I need to keep HIM at the FOREFRONT. I need HIM to be my ultimate goal. .... I guess I can make plans, but I need to not get too attached to them. How 'bout that? ;) So ............. saying all of that! I have some great "plans" lined up for next semester. But I'm trying to keep Jesus at the forefront in these. :) Let me share 'em with ya!

First off, I have a better schedule than this semester. This semester, I was at school Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from about 8 in the morning until about 8 at night. It was plain awful. Tuesdays - 8 to 4:30pm. Still, not that great. And in that schedule I was taking 17 credit hours, tutoring in the writing center about 8 hours a week, and having an internal emotional/spiritual/crazy battle (see my first paragraph). It was just awful. Okay. I'm done complaining about it. Really! It's over! ;) .... THIS COMING SEMESTER (let's move on to "up" things!), I will be taking 12 credit hours (a much better load), tutoring in the writing center 10 hours a week, substitute teaching in the Speedway school system on Fridays, and hanging out with kids at Shepherd on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. I love tutoring! I've always wanted to teach (that was one of those plans I got attached to and God's putting on hold ... hence, my change of major at IUPUI). I love hanging out with kids! And my school load is not so much. I'll also be involved with Higher Ground ... and perhaps another Bible study or two. It just depends. :) .... So yeah! I'm excited about a great semester!!!!

Hmm. You wouldn't believe I got on here to write a completely different post. A post about a song God's been putting on my heart lately. Ha! But this huge tangent turned into a blog post of its own. :) Hope you guys are interested in my life. Ha ha! 'Cause that's what this post is all about ... and I'm done with it. Ha! Thanks for reading my ramblings, all! Hope ya'll are having a great week - it's the weekend - enjoy it! :D

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Worship with Sight and Smell :)

The Mall Manhunt! What a fun idea!

Grace Fellowship takes its youth to the Circle Center Mall once a year ... usually early in December, for a game of "hide 'n seek." And I got to go with them last night! It was super fun! :D For three reasons! :)

#1 - I love young people! I got to hide from the youth all night ... and I got to hang out with Paige and her friends on the way to the mall and all the way home. Always fun to listen to teenager's conversations. ;) ... And we listened to Radio Disney. Ha! Always hilarious!

#2 - I love Grace Fellowship people ... and I love that I am a part of this Body ... even though I'm not. GFC is my second church family, and it is a blessing to call the amazing people of Grace just that ... my FAMILY. :)

#3 - While I hid in the mall, I spent most of my time in the calendar store. I headed straight for the "nature" section. I spent nearly the entire game "hiding" in that store! I looked at calendars full of pictures of sunsets, landscapes, mountains, clouds, rainbows, moons ... all kinds of stuff. I'm a big nature person. Being outside is one of my favorite places to be. I love simply sitting and watching the sun set, sitting in silence listening to the wind blow through the trees ... I love taking pictures of the sky ... of mountains ... of cool nature sites. It's one of my favorite things to do. ... The whole time I was in the store, I kept thinking, "Wow, God! You really knew what you were doing with this rainbow!" "Oh, Lord! This mountain range takes my breath away!" "Whoa! That cloud design in the sky is incredible!" ... It was a huge blessing to just stand and bask in God's presence through His creation. I couldn't leave without buying a calendar! :) ... And then I headed over to a candle store and bought a candle named "fireside." So now ... my room smells like my favorite scent in the world - a campfire! ... And I have a calendar full of rainbows hanging on my wall in my room! :D

It was a simple blessing ... basking in God's presence through my senses! Praising God with sight and smell ... good stuff! 'Cause ya know ... complimenting God on His handy work is worship. :) Take a look around you today ... use your senses to worship the Lord! :D

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mical's Heroes :)

Hey, all! :)  Wow ... it's been almost an entire week since my last post!  That is crazy!  I know you all have missed my 8,000 posts a week. ;) ... Well, this one isn't really new.  I want to change my "Question for you" section of my blog ... just to spice things up a bit ... so I'm gonna post this here ... 'cause it's just too good to delete. :D .... Stay tuned for more blogging!  I'm almost done with the busiest and worst semester of my life!  Thursday!  Thursday!!!  So more blogging to come, friends!  Yay!

Who are some of your heroes?

Post a comment to my blog or write me an e-mail at Faithful7326@aol.com to reply to this question! It's one of my favorite questions to ask and to answer!

Want to know my answer??? ;)  Good!  'Cause I'm gonna tell ya!!! :D

#1: Ben Nilsen
BEN NILSEN is a ROCK in my life - the most spiritually and emotionally stable person I know! He is my #1 spiritual thought buddy - I go to him for all my deep questions and thoughts about God. He pushes me to strive harder after Jesus and to become all that God has called me to be. He is so consistent - in work, in school, in relationships, in his walk with Christ. He is the BEST example of Christ I know, one of my best friends, and an amazing encouragement in my life.  Words can't express how much he has done for me over the past several months ... taught me so much, loved me so much, and has been an irreplaceable friend.

#2: Emily ("Love")
And EMILY KARAS is my BOSOM BUDDY! She is my #1 role-model. Her example and love for Jesus is one of the most inspiring experiences I've ever encountered. Her consistency in her walk with Jesus, in her love for her friends, and in her attitude - to NEVER give up no matter what God lets her way - are some of the biggest lessons I've learned from her. Her wisdom and love and consistency are irreplaceable in my life. And she is my #1 encourager and favorite hugger!

#3: James Nilsen. :)
JAMES ... Yep, he's another one of my heroes!  James is one of the godliest guys I've ever met. He is so consistent in striving after Jesus. He will mess up at times, as we ALL do, but He picks himself back up and keeps running the race! ... He is in love with his kids. He pours everything he is into his ministry. He absolutely adores the kids he serves. He just adores kids and young people, in general! ... One of my favorite things about James is that he not only wants to become the most amazing man of God that he can be, but he is striving hard after Christ so that he will become just that! ... He is the most compassionate person I know.  And he's got the biggest heart I've ever known. ... And whatta ya know? He's one of my best friends!  I also LOVE that he is a huge cheese!  He loves to laugh, act crazy, and give the biggest, cheesiest smiles you'll ever see!

#4: My dad.
My dad is one of the godliest men I have ever met.  He, Ben, and James are probably tied for first place. ;) .... He is gentle, kind, hilarious, consistent, an amazing provider, wise, and upstanding.  He's probably the most upstanding person I've ever met.  He hardly ever gets mad; he hardly ever gets offended.  He has a way of caring for his family that goes above and beyond the call of duty. He is always there to give godly, upright advice .... or to make me laugh. And he is incredibly consistent.  He never wavers.  No matter what's going on in his life, he never stops trusting Jesus and living for Him.  He buckles down and gets the job done.  He loves the Lord.  He is consistently in His word.  He is an amazing example of Christlikeness.  I really couldn't ask for a better dad.  Saying "I am blessed," is the understatement of the year when it comes to the gift of my dad!

Now ... tell me about YOUR heroes!  Please! :D

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Quick Trip through Hebrews!

I know only one thing .....


Philippians 1:6 .... Listen up! This is a mighty promise from God!!!

"He who began a good work in you WILL carry it on to COMPLETION until the day of Christ Jesus!"

Hebrews 13:5 --- "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Words of Jesus, ya'll!)

Because ....

Hebrews 13:8 --- "Jesus Christ is the SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, and FOREVER!"

Therefore ....

Hebrews 12:1-2a --- "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, LET US THROW OFF EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS and the sin that so easily entangles (I think trials can count here too!), and LET US RUN WITH PERSEVERANCE the race marked out for us. LET US FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith."

Let's make this our goal this week, friends! No matter how rough the trials ... God is faithful! Keep runnin', Mical! Keep fixin' your eyes on Jesus, Mical! Keep! Keep! Keep!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting to Know You ... M&Ms Style! :D

I'm at it once again! Yay for blogging! :) ......... Remember my Patrick the Persimmon posts? Well, in one of those posts I mentioned a "get to know you" activity with M&Ms, and I'm gonna make up my own rules for the same thing right here! Join me! It'll be fun!!!

Getting to know you ... M&Ms style! :D
Okay. So here's the deal .... head to your local gas station or grocery store and pick up a bag of milk chocolate M&Ms. Pour 'em all out, and separate them by color. Now! For each yellow, you're gonna share your favorite meals of all time (if you could eat anything in one meal, what would it be?). For each orange, your favorite Bible verses. For each blue, your favorite places (to travel to, to hang out, whatever). For the red, share your favorite things about winter (activities, scenery, places to go, whatever). Brown - some of your all-time favorite things. Green - some of the greatest blessings in your life over the past 6 months. ... Okay, I think that covers 'em all. .... Now, go! You MUST get a hold of some M&Ms for this task. You can't cheat! Eating the M&Ms as you go is part of the fun!

Alrighty ... here we go! :D
3 Yellow M&Ms:
- Steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, french fries, and sweet tea!
- Cheeseburger, french fries, and sweet tea!
- Baked potato with all the fixin's - meat, cheese, butter, ect., and sweet tea!
(Are ya'll seeing a pattern?) ;)
15 Orange M&Ms:
- Psalm 73:26 -- "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
- Psalm 16:11 -- "You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand are pleasures forever."
- Psalm 62:7-8 -- "My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."
- Joshua 1:9 -- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
- James 1:2-4 -- "Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
- James 1:12 -- "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."
- Philippians 1:6 -- "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
- Romans 8:28 - "And we know that God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
- Psalm 37:4 -- "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of Your heart."
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 -- "Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
- Isaiah 26:3 -- "He will keep in perfect peace Him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in Him."
- John 15:5 -- "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."
- Hebrews 12:1-3 -- "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perefecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
- Psalm 32:8 -- "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."
- Revelation 21:4 -- "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
15 Blue M&Ms:
- New Zealand! I want to hike through the gorgeous sites!
- Bogalusa, Louisiana .... where I took the best mission trip ever! Wanna go back and help out out with the hurricane relief.
- Mountains of Tennessee ... I wanna take pictures of mountains all day long!
- Every other place with mountains that I've never been to!
- Ireland ... nice sites there too.
- All of the tiny states ... Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, ect.
- Virginia to see my friend, Rachel!
- India ... My pastor talked about orphanages ... I want to help out in the orphanages there.
- China ... I'd like to see all of the underground churches and witness the millions who are coming to Christ.
- Turkey Run .... I REALLY want to go hiking!
- Brown County .... it's where James and the gang go to hike sometimes ... I've never been.
- Mammoth Cave ... I wouldn't mind going on another cave tour with Ben and the gang. :)
- Grace Fellowship (my second church home)
- Calvary ... yes, I'm there every Sunday morning ... but I want to be there right now!
- University of Southern Indiana ... I want to visit my brother, see his apartment, and watch him run track sometime before the school year is over!
7 Red M&Ms:
- Snow angels!
- Breathing really cold air :)
- Drinking hot chocolate with friends
- Sitting next to a warm fire in some remote log cabin (a dream of mine, I guess) ;)
- Christmas!
- Watching snow fall
- Scarves
10 Brown M&Ms:
- Smiley face fruit snacks
- Goldfish crackers
- Music
- My Bible
- Stickers
- Friends
- Church
- Campfires
- The sky
- Photography
6 Green M&Ms:
- Ben Nilsen
- Jesus talks with Alex Ehrhardt
- E-mails from Judy Nilsen
- God's word
- My youth group kids
- Mammoth Cave Trip

Okay ... that was long and yummy! Go get some M&Ms, and join the fun! Love ya'll! :D

Friday, November 28, 2008

God, Grant Me ....

Just a quick thought for today. :)

I was walking in my hallway upstairs on my way to my bedroom this morning, and I noticed a scroll laying on my mom's big "pirate chest," as I like to call it. She decorated our upstairs with beach/ship kinds of stuff. We have a huge chest (it looks like there's tons of treasure inside ... too bad it's just dust) with a captain's wheel and a tiny ship and fish net set up in our hallway upstairs, and on top of the chest lies a scroll with this written on it .....

"God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."

It's a simple saying ... a well-known saying .... and this scroll is gathering dust on that huge pirate chest .... it's been there for years. So why did it grab my attention today? Well ... there are a couple of things in my life that I really want to change. I want to change them so badly that I ache on a regular basis. I am continually surrendering them over to God, but there is still an ache. I'm sure the ache won't be gone until they are completely surrendered. That's usually how God works. ;) ... So yeah ... serenity ... I had to look that word up. It means "calmness of mind; peace." Lord, give me peace to wait on your timing ... not to try and change things ... but simply wait on your timing and live out my calling to the best of my ability while I wait.

Are you waiting on God for some things? Do you want to change some things in your life right now? .... If so ... join the club! ........ But let's keep trusting God for those things instead of worrying about 'em. Let's keep surrendering them. Each and every day.

I was just reading tonight in 1 Peter .... 1 Peter 5:7 says .... "Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." ......... Whatever it is you want to change .... give it to Jesus. He cares about you. He cares about the condition your heart is in. Keep trusting Him. Keep giving everything to Him. And just take it one day at a time. That's what I've been doing and will continue to do ... until I get it right! Or until Jesus comes back! Whichever comes first! ;)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Family Thanksgiving in Ohio :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Thanks Day is coming to an end .... aren't you glad that our thanks is NOT!? :D

I traveled with my mom, dad, and brother to Cincinnati, Ohio today for our annual family Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. It was a good time! Seeing family is always fun. :) .... Just wanted to share a quick run down of the highlights of my day and ask you to tell me about YOUR Thanksgiving. What did ya'll do???
Some of the highlights ....
- I had a great conversation with my grandma and great aunt about the lessons God's been teaching me over the past year. It is such a blessing to have family members who love Jesus and are diligent in following after the Lord. That was a blessing I ended up thanking God for throughout the day. And it was especially great seeing my great aunt, Peggy. She has been one of the greatest encouragers of my extended family. Every time I see her, she tells me that I am beautiful and that she is proud of me. Those words are powerful! They most certainly empower me!!!
- Hay ride with some of my 2nd (or 3rd or whatever) cousins. They are the kids of my mom's cousins ... so what does that make them in relation to me? They are all in middle school ... MY FAVORITE AGE GROUP! So it was fun to chat with them about fun and middle school things ... bond with them a bit ... and just sit and laugh with them. :)
- Eating waaayyy too much turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy!!!! Because that is what you're supposed to do on Thanksgiving! ... Overeat and NOT feel bad about it! Yes!!!
- And my favorite part .... walking out into a huge cornfield by the house, breathing in the crisp, fall-heading-into-winter air and watching the sun set. :)

The sky is one of my favorite things in the entire world! The ENTIRE world!!!! I got some great pictures, so I'm gonna share 'em with ya'll! :D

And lastly, one thing I confirmed today is that I LOVE being outside! My woody places post .... my posting pictures of trees and clouds and sunsets .... my obsession with bonfires .... that is only the beginning! Once Ben and James help me figure out how to start my own fire, I will be set! I can just grab a tent and head for the woods ... and just LIVE THERE! ..... At the very least, I can be prepared for my 3-day silence and solitude trip that I am taking over my spring break this next semester! Ha ha! ..... Anyway! Here are some great pictures! God really knew what He was doing when He designed the sun to set each night and rise each morning! Aren't you glad He decided to share this masterpiece with us??? I am pretty much stoked about it!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spiritual Thought Buddy #2

Well, while I'm at it .... I better tell you about another friend God has been using in amazing ways in my life lately. I love bragging about my friends ... can you tell? .... That, along with bragging about Jesus, is the entire goal behind this Fun and Faithful Tales blog!!!!

Alex Ehrhardt. Yep .... she is my #2 spiritual thought buddy, a great inspiration, and becoming one of my most cherished friends. I've only known Alex since July ... and we have only been growing in our friendship over the past couple of months .... but our bond in Christ has strengthened our bond of friendship in extraordinary ways! It is amazing what kinds of friendships come out of a foundation in Christ! Really! .... I really haven't spent much time with Alex if you get right down to it. We've met for a Jesus talk maybe 3 or 4 times .... maybe. But again ... our Christ foundation links us. And in linking me to Alex Ehrhardt, God has drawn me closer to Him. We have been sharing deep God concepts through our "book" e-mails for several weeks. We both know how to write a lot, so our e-mails are so long they could be books! :D .... And like I said in an earlier post about Alex, when she sits down to talk with me at our Jesus talks, it is like Jesus is sitting next to me, pouring Himself into me. She is so full of Jesus! And her Godsong causes my Godsong to sing all the louder! She is an amazing inspiration. She is younger than I am, and yet she grasps the things of God so deeply ... way more deeply than I do! And she's so good at loving. She loves to love other people. .... She's just a spectacular person! And I am excited to be growing in my friendship with her! I think I can stick her next to my bosom buddy, Emily Karas, and say, "I want to be just like you two when I grow up!" :)

Thanks for all your love, encouragement, and spiritual support, Alex! Love ya, friend! :D

A "Thank You" the day before Thanks Day :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!! Thanks Day is tomorrow. Aren't you excited? ... I am excited to spend time with family I don't get to see but once or twice a year. And we're traveling to Ohio to see them. :) I like traveling! Where are you all going for your Thanks Day??? :)

Well, in light of this thanks season .... I've been thinking extra hard about the things and the people I am most thankful for. It is not hard to think about ... I am more blessed than I know how to say! God is ALWAYS faithful. He is ALWAYS pouring on blessings ... even when we can't see them quite as well. But He has been pouring more blessings into my life over the past several months than ever before! (Remember all my posts about my pain? Ha! God used that pain to bring the greatest blessings too! Wow! How does He do that!?) .... So ... I wanted to share one of the things I'm the most thankful for right now ... or, I should say, the PERSON I'm most thankful for .... :)

Ben Nilsen. Yep ... have you ever gone through a time in your life in which God knew exactly the kinds of people to stick in your path to encourage and uphold you??? God's been using several people in my life lately, but one friend who has helped me in a way that no one else could is my friend, Ben. :) And since this blog is all about fun and faithful tales about FRIENDS ... about Jesus .... and about lessons learned and learning ..... I thought I'd share some Ben blessings with you all. :)

One thing I really appreciate about Ben is that he is one of my very few guy friends whom I can just sit and chat with and it not go down the awkward road. Guy-girl friendships are often so complicated because ... well, because of just that ... one of the friends is a guy; the other is a girl. I think you know where I'm going with this. ;) .... Anyway! Ben and I don't have to worry about any of that. He's my brother. I'm his sister. We are friends. We build each other up. And I LOVE that about my friendship with Ben. We've both talked time and time again about how thankful we are that we don't have the normal guy-girl friendship drama that others have. .... Guy-girl friendships are important. They are very good and godly when they are done right. And from a girl's point of view .... the friendships I have with my guy friends are so important to me because they make me feel safe. God has given me scads and scads of friends, and several of those friends are godly guy friends. I am so blessed! And Ben is one of those guys who makes me feel safe and loved. :) I can't put into words how thankful I am that Ben and I are friends who can simply be that ... friends ... minus the drama.

Another thing I'm thankful for in my friendship with Ben is something I wrote about waaayy back during the Cookie Cutter Friend posts ...... I'm thankful that he is my #1 spiritual thought buddy. :) I go to him for all of my deep thoughts about God. .... Just yesterday, I called him to ask for some resources about Existentialism because a girl from the writing center asked to get together with me next week to talk about Christianity and Existentialism. Crazy, I know. And Ben was right there to offer support and any help he could give, as well as drop the books off at my house this weekend. What a blessing! He is always offering spiritual support. :) And what's more ... he pushes me to think about things that are over my head. The more time I hang out with him, the more I realize how little I know about God, about the world, and about the human heart (a few things he and I have been talking about and have been trying to understand better). And it's good I realize this! It's an amazing push in the right direction! Thank you, Ben! :) .... In addition to spiritual support, he is also an emotional rock in my life. He is the most emotionally stable person I know. I'm a fairly emotional roller coaster kind of woman at times, so I can't express how much I need an oober stable friend like Ben to keep my head above water. ;) He is constantly reminding me that he's praying for me ... and always asking me how I'm doing, as well as, "is that the official version or the real version?" .... He is genuine. He cares. And his consistency, stability, and support have been one of the greatest blessings and strongholds of my life over the past several months. He's one of those people God knew I needed to help me through several heartaches ... and whom I needed to help me grow further in my current spiritual growth spurt. It is amazing to watch God do great things through the people He places in our lives, isn't it?

.... Well, I could keep going about Ben .... but I better stop here. I'm sure you all have turkeys to put in the oven, potatoes to peel, and thanks to give. ;) Hope your Turkey Day is great tomorrow! Be sure to thank God for all the amazing people He has placed in your life! I only mentioned one person in this post ... but I have a long list of people to thank God for! I know you do too! Happy Thanks Day, all! :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Waiting on the Lord ....

I meant to look up this song a while back right after I went to see the movie, Fireproof, with Ben and some of the gang.  Amazing movie!  Amazing message!  For married couples .... for all Christians ... for non-Christians.  Go see it if you haven't already!

One of the most powerful parts of the movie, for me, was a song.  "While I'm Waiting."  It nearly brought me to tears in the theater.  And it is one of my new goals.  The lyrics say it all, so I won't write some long rambling about it. ;)  Just read these lyrics, and if you get a chance .... go to google, type in "while I'm waiting, fireproof" and watch/listen to the music video.  This song is amazing!  Let's keep waiting on the Lord!!!!

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

New Bookstore in Town!

Hey, everybody!  Just a quick announcement! :D

My mom's new store is open!  All of it! ..... The Porch ... located just a few houses east of Calvary Chapel in Danville, across from Beasley's Orchard!  2411 E. Main St.  Check it out sometime!!!  She is open Tuesdays from 10am to 7pm, Wednesdays from 10am to 4pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm.  And I think she has extended hours the week of December 1st! ..... It's a fairly new place, and it has tons of great books!  She has books for all ages and for people of all walks of life!  Homeschool curriculum, kids/youth novels/picture books/ect, art books, music books, collectible books, historical books, adult Christian fiction/nonfiction, and books open to the general public - mysteries, westerns, self-help/medical/sports/animals/memoirs/all kinds of stuff!  Also!  She has games and gifts!  She has fantastic teas ... and cookies!  Free tea samples and cookies! ... What is better?  Stop by her store sometime!  Buy some books.  Try some of her fine teas.  The Ginger Peach is my favorite so far!  Actually ... I'm drinking it right now.  Yummy!

I'm in the process of writing an article for her store!  Look in the paper ... maybe you'll see it someday soon! ..... Stop by!  She loves to see familiar faces .... and business is slow .... so she just loves to anyone!  Ha ha!  It's a great place!  Stop by sometime! :D

Woody Places

I'm posting again ... whatta ya know. ;)

Judy recently posted about violin music.  She said that hearing the sweet strokes of a violin is one of the gifts God uses to draw her into His presence the best ... violin music takes her to a place where she can simply bask in God.  She asked her readers to think about a similar gift in their lives ... so that's what today's posting is all about. :)

What makes me feel and know God's presence the best??? ..... Well, I didn't have to think too long .... I think it's an easy answer for me. .... There are a few places ... a few people ... that help me know God better ... but the place where I can sit and bask in God's presence the best is in the middle of the woods.  Any woods.  My best times in the presence of God are when I go hiking with friends or when I sit and simply listen to the sounds of nature.  In my Mammoth Cave posting, I mentioned the "devo. rock" .... and my devotions were so good that day because I got to sit on this huge boulder and be silent before the Lord.  The only sounds were the wind rustling the trees, squirrels running through the leaves, making them crunch, birds chirping, and the soft voices of my friends far off in the distance.  I sat on that rock for several minutes ... silent ... trying to hear from the Lord.  I love the feeling of cold, fall-heading-into-winter air when I take deep breaths.  I love the sound of crunching leaves.  I love the sound of the wind blowing the tree branches.  And I love to see the beauty of God's creation.  He knew what He was doing when He created hills and huge boulders and tall trees and brown and red and yellow and green leaves that crunch when you walk through them.  God's creation is one of His greatest gifts to us.  Bask in it sometime .... it helps you know Him better!  It helps you know His character and His love for us better.

Hiking through woody trails with friends .... or sitting in silence, with nothing by God and His creation ... that is where I know God's presence the best. :)  What about you?  I'm gonna ask just as Judy did. :)  You don't have to post it anywhere (although you should!) ;) .... but think about it. :):):)

Have a great day, everybody!  And go drink some hot chocolate! :D

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Yummy Donut and No More Zombie

Alright .... so I was eating a yummy donut on my way to a writing center staff meeting this morning, and I started thinking. It was all because of the yummy donut too. Some "food for thought!" Whatta ya know! ;) ......... This donut was made up of some kind of sugar bread ... AND it had sugarful icing on top ... with sprinkles. (Yes ... sugarful is a word - a Mical word, at least - and yes ... I was loading up on the sugar. Sorry, James.) ;) ...... Like I said earlier ... It was a really good donut ... and its yumminess factor spurred on thoughts about Jesus. Yep. :) The question popped into my head .... "How can I get Jesus to taste this good?" Of course, Jesus DOES taste good, and it's not because I make Him good .... I just meant ... How can I make Him taste good in my life? How can I really savor Him in my life? .... Like I was savoring that yummy donut. I got to thinking about Psalm 34:8, which says, "TASTE and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him."

TASTE the Lord. How do you do that? I was talking to my friend, Ben, last night .... and we got to talking about the crazy stuff God's been allowing into my life over the past several months. He was asking me about how I've grown in the Lord through all of it .... and I brought up the word "communion." I was telling him about how my time with God has NOT be another thing on my "to do" list lately. It's been real communion with God. I knew what I meant by this word when I was talking to Ben about it last night, but I just looked it up in the dictionary, and Webster defines communion as .... "fellowship; interchange of thoughts or interests; a state of giving and receiving." These are all good definitions, but I really like the last one ... "a state of giving and receiving." That's what real communion with God is. So often we get caught up in other things during our "quiet" times, our times for just Jesus and us. (Did you notice that quiet is in quotations? ... It is difficult to really get quiet before the Lord. How often do you do it? I know I have trouble.) I was describing to Ben how my time with the Lord before all of the trials was me saying my two bits ... then God saying His two bits. It wasn't really a conversation ... it was more like an awkward .... hmm ... I can't think of the word I'm trying to get across. My quiet times were kind of zombie-like. Zombies (yes, they are not real ... but work with me here.) can walk around and perform "normal" tasks ... but they are not engaging in any of those actions. They don't even know they're doing them. It's just something they do to get by. ....... Okay ... that was a lame example ... but it was the first thing that popped into my head. I was a zombie quiet time Christian before all of these trials were thrown in my path. I read my Bible every night. I prayed. But I wasn't engaging in those activities that produce growth and joy and ... LIFE! So I wasn't growing in my faith ... I wasn't living in joy ... I wasn't being filled with the life of Christ. I was a zombie ... walking around, maybe performing Christianly tasks (reading my Bible, praying, ect.) ... but completely oblivious to the importance or the depth of those tasks. I wasn't engaging in my prayer and devotions. I wasn't engaging myself in getting to know God better. I wasn't communing with God.

TASTE and see that the Lord is good! We know that God is good. We've been taught that all our lives. We've said it countless times. ....... But to TASTE that He is good ... to SEE that He is good. How do we do that? ........ No more zombie ... that's how. To taste the Lord, we must eat His word. We must spend time with Him. We must LOVE HIM MORE THAN ANYTHING OR ANYONE! Yep! I said it! MORE than all things!!!! ....... This is what God's been pressing upon my heart for the past 3 or so months. Our primary calling is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. We can glorify God in tons and tons of ways ..... but the foundation is a right relationship with Him. And we experience a RELATIONSHIP with Him by tasting and seeing that He is good ... by COMMUNING with God. Think about that for a little bit. It's a bit deeper than you think. Or as my pastor says, "That's better preachin' than you think." ;)

Huh. This post took a crazy turn early on ... one I wasn't expecting. I was planning to simply tell you all that I ate a yummy donut today and that it made me think of Psalm 34:8. .... And somehow I got to talking about communion and ..... what? Zombies??? .... Wow. The side note/tangent Queen strikes again! ;) Okay ....... well, I'm done with my ramblings. At least for now. ;) Have a great weekend! Allow God to teach you something new this weekend .... keep growing in Him. :) I'm off to hang out with my youth group kids! Sweeet! :D

Outdoors ... ah, yes!

Hey, all! :) Short and swweeet post .... I love pictures. I'm a photographer ... not a very good one. But I really like taking pictures. Pictures of friends ... pictures of outdoorsy stuff. Yep ... that's what I like. So .... I have tons of pictures of my friends all over my blog ..... but not many outdoorsies. Here are some shots I took today ... I really like clouds and trees ... and even leaves. Ha ha! I love pictures ... and those who like the outdoors will probably enjoy these almost as much as I do. ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"L" in T.U.L.I.P.

Wow! My brain is getting a workout! Don't you love that feeling?! Especially when it is a result of grappling with the things of God! Swweeet!!! Alright! Well ... that said ... just warning you that I'm about to spill some thoughts about a controversial issue within our faith. You can agree. You can disagree. But think about what GOD'S WORD says rather than whether or not YOU think it is in or not in God's character. This is deep stuff! The deepest stuff I've ever thought about! ......... But when some of your best friends are Ben and James Nilsen - it is inevitable that this will come up in conversation. :) I love those guys!

A couple weeks ago, I went to Mammoth Cave with the Nilsens and some other fun folks. I rode down with James, Kim, Elise, and Elise's friend, Drew, and we got to talking about Calvinism. Yep ... I know you're afraid! A crazyily controversial issue! .... You just mention Calvinism or something with one of the points in it (... I think James and I like to talk about predestination the most ... ha ha!) to Ben or James ... and you better be ready to get deep! ;) .... I forget how we got talking about it, but I started asking what the 5 points are (because I always forget) ... and after James told me a little about each one, I started asking about limited atonement. James said this is the toughest point of the 5 to grasp. ........ Well, I've been thinking about it a bit since then ... trying to wrap my mind around this crazy concept. I didn't get too far ... but I'm a bit farther than I was, so that's fun! .... I've been trying to e-mail my thoughts to James this week ... but he's an oober busy guy. I'm gonna post my last e-mail to James here .... to get some thoughts out about some of this mind-boggling Calvinist stuff. It should be fun ... and only a little scary. ;) I hope ... if some of you don't believe anything about Calvinism .... you will still be my friend after this post. ;) ..... Here it is!

Alright, James .... I'm still grappling with this. Ha! Ha!

I googled TULIP this morning, and here's what I found about limited atonement. Here are the scriptures this site gave me (the site is www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip ... in case you were wondering). ;) .... Matthew 26:28, John 10:11&15, Matthew 25:32-33, John 17:9, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 5:25-27, and Isaiah 53:12. I was also given 1 John 2:2 on another site, which threw my mind into a tailspin! Sheesh!

The site talked about how Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross (His shed blood) is sufficient for everyone but how it's not efficacious for everyone. Efficacious. Big word, I know. I looked it up ... and it means: "capable of having the desired result or effect; effective as a means, measure, remedy, etc." Some synonyms for it are: effectual, efficient, productive, active, capable, effective, forcible, potent, powerful, prevalent, useful, valid. Yeah ... I gave you the whole list ... don't you love copy and paste? ;) .... Anyway ... I was glad I looked it up. ... Jesus' sacrifice was more than able to take care of everyone's sins, but it was not effective in taking care of everyone's sins. Does that sound right? .... I can't fully wrap my head around this concept ... but I think I am getting there (a little). Going back to unconditional election .... since God chose the people who would come to know Him, it sort of makes sense to me that Christ's sacrifice was not effective for those who were not chosen. 'Cause if Christ's sacrifice was effective for everyone, then everyone would have been chosen ... right? Does that make sense? .... So I think I can grasp that part of it. But then there's the question of ... why did God only choose certain people? ... That goes back to the second point, unconditional election. Ha! Wow! This is crazy! And another thing ... backing up a bit .... the verses this site gave me don't really prove anything about limited atonement. They are pretty vague. In Matthew 26:28 and Isaiah 53:12 --- these verses talk about Christ's blood being shed for "many." Vague. And the sheep and the goats talked about in John 10:11&15 and Matthew 25:32-33 ... how do we know the goats are those who were not chosen? Couldn't they just be people who are not saved? Granted, the whole limited atonement thing says the unsaved are the ones who were not chosen (those whom Christ's sacrifice was not effective for) ... but these verses in and of themselves don't prove that the goats are those whom God did not choose. ....... Wow! Crazy stuff.

I'm not presenting this to you or asking you about it because I am trying to disprove the "L" in TULIP. If point #2 is valid (unconditional election) ... and I believe it is (even though I think it's nuts!) ... then point #3 (limited atonement) makes more sense to me. But I don't think the verses that this website provides help support this point. I think it comes down to if you don't believe unconditional election is valid, then you can't believe limited atonement is valid. Unconditional election is what affects/brings about limited atonement.

Ahh! It still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me ... but I'm gonna trust that God knows what He's doing. ... I know this is long .... and I know you're busy ... but I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on this if you get some time .... even if your reply is a month down the road. Reply when you can ... if you can. :) I hope your week is going well! Praying for you, friend --- everyday! :D

Bye for now,Mical :)

So what do you all think?? Don't hesitate to leave your thoughts! And let's keep grapplin' with the things of God!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fasting .... Any Thoughts?

Alrighty! I'm back at it already! ;)

I've been thinking a lot about fasting lately. Ever think about this aspect of being a follower of Christ? I'm not sure why I've been thinking about it so much ... but I have a lot, on and off, for the past several months. I have a few thoughts about it .... and a few questions. And I thought I'd share them with you all and see what YOU guys think. :)

Matthew 6:16-18 talks about fasting ... briefly. But it's definitely there, and we shouldn't avoid or dismiss it. It says not to parade around shouting "I'm fasting! .... I'm abstaining from something I really enjoy so that I can be more spiritual!" Although this is a good goal (take out the spiritual and insert "so that I can be more like Jesus!" ... this sounds better!), God doesn't want us to let everyone know about our fasting excursions. ... Perhaps I've been thinking about this lately because a little over a month ago, I sent out an e-mail letting everyone know I was fasting from e-mail/blogging for a couple of weeks. I was a little apprehensive about letting everyone know ... but I think in that case, since e-mail is one of the biggest ways I stay in touch with a lot of people, it was alright. I didn't want everyone to think I was ignoring their wondrous e-mails. ;) ..... Perhaps that's why I've been thinking about it. And this leads me to some questions .... Is it okay to mention that you are fasting (from whatever) when it comes up in conversation? If it affects other people ... is it okay to mention it? .... Matthew 6:17-18a says, "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men." After looking at verse 16, I think the context concerns "parading," like I mentioned earlier. God doesn't want us to boast about ourselves. "Hey, look at me! I'm being spiritual! You should think I'm great because I am great!" .... Umm ... no! God doesn't want us to boast in/about anyone but HIM.

This leads me to some more thoughts ... we shouldn't fast just so we look more spiritual. We shouldn't fast just to say we fasted. I've struggled with both of these things in the past, but the more I meditate on WHY God commands us to fast, the more I want to try it out. ... Did you catch that? God COMMANDS us to fast. Yep ... check out Matthew 6:17 ... "But you, WHEN you fast ..." He didn't say "if." He said WHEN. That is something I've been grappling with for quite some time. Fasting is hard work. Fasting is all about giving up something that you enjoy/desire/even need, at times. And since scripture says "when you fast" rather than "if you ever get around to it," that means I have to find ways to fast. .... I think many of us think about food when we think of fasting. Growing up, that's what I always thought of - food. Food is a great thing to fast from ... whether you cut it out altogether for a short time (a day, a week, ect.) or if you cut out certain foods for a time .... like I've fasted from sugar or carbs before ... even gotten as specific as cutting out sweet tea for a whole week! I know ... crazy! ;) .... So fasting doesn't have to be just starving yourself. It can be a fast from anything.

My only suggestion ... make it a sacrifice of some kind. Fasting is all about focusing our attention on Jesus. With all the craziness and business and selfiness we possess in our lives (in our very beings!), it is a tough task to focus all our energies on Jesus. Fasting is a great tool in helping get our focus off of ourselves and back on Jesus! :) And my last thought .... yes, fasting is about sacrifice ... it is about obedience ... but it is also about prayer! This is the part of fasting that I really struggle with. Pathetic, I know. Abstaining from some sort of pleasure (or we can make it plural - pleasures!) leads us to depend on Jesus. Even if it's something small like not drinking sweet tea for a week ... when I crave sweet tea and know that I'm committed to NOT drinking it until Sunday night at 5:03pm (or whatever), I am pushed to talk to God about it. Yep, even something as small as that. It is amazing how our desires for the things of this world (whether they be godly or not) push us in the direction of Jesus ... at least hopefully they do ... and I mean in the "I need Jesus to help me overcome" kind of pushing towards Jesus. So when I desire sweet tea (or whatever I'm fasting from), my desire for that sweet tea leads me to desire more of Jesus. And so I pray. And prayer is the most essential part of fasting. Prayer draws us closer to Jesus. That is the part I don't spend enough time doing. ... I guess I'll have to keep fasting from things until I get it right, huh? ;)

Well ..... I think those are all my thoughts ... at least for now. I can't get the "WHEN you pray" out of my mind ... so that's why I'm posting about it. :) And thought I'd ask for ya'll's feedback. What do you think about fasting? Do you ever fast? What do you fast from/have you fasted from? What do you think about the context of Matthew chapter 6 in relation to fasting? .... If you get a minute or two, leave me a post - I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! :)

Alrighty! Gonna check my e-mail from Ben and then start on some homework! Have a great day, everybody! :D