Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joplin Tornado

I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like the natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more intense as I get older.  For myself, it is very difficult to understand what people are going through without physical contact with the issue.  Pictures don't usually shake me to my core like standing in the middle of a devastated city.  I want to be compassionate and heartbroken, but somehow my brain doesn't make that connection.  Maybe that has to do with my tendency towards idealism.  Regardless, the earthquake in Japan and the tornado in Tuscaloosa just didn't quite make me soft. 

This time...it hit a little closer to home for me.  In a city that I once occupied for about six months of my life, a tornado ruined what I used to know.  Pictures of familiar places that I went to show buildings that I barely recognize.  A list of people that are dear to me who live in that very city sits by my side.  Fortunately...all safe for the moment.  My heart is finally broken and cares a little bit more about this one than the previous others.  I realize how terrible that sounds and if that makes me a horrible person, then I guess I'll have to work on that.  Regardless, that is how I feel. 

It's in moments like these that many, including myself, question the character of God.  The most common being, "How can a God of goodness and love allow/cause something so terrible to happen to His children?"  I don't even want to touch that question...but I do have an observation.  If something as simple as a cloud combined with the right amount of wind and whatever other variables (I'm no scientist) can produce such devastation, then how much GREATER and more POWERFUL is my God?  At one word He could call the winds to obedience.  He can command the earthquake to end...the wind to cease...the water to recede...the earth to be calm and still...yet how much harder is it for Him to refrain and watch His children hurting? 

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."  Who understands this verse best? Not me! I am not blessed in that sense, and I have no comprehension of what that would feel like.  Those of us who sit at home, safe, healthy, and owners of anything...we don't truly get it.  Even greater are the hearts of those who are hurting.  They literally have nothing left.  Do they still find hope?  With nothing left, the one place most will turn is to God.  They truly get it and get Him...not us!

In my struggle and heartache in response to this tornado, all I want is to be in Joplin with my friends.  I want to work hard, get sweaty, and join in cleaning up and rebuilding the city.  Where there is great chaos, there is potential for even greater restoration.  The best part of it all is that God is the one who can redeem and restore all.  It's a clean slate...a chance to start fresh.  What Satan intended for evil, God can use for good.  There is always hope and I am so thankful that those who truly have nothing can hold to that hope. 

Stay strong Joplin! You will recover and great things will come to your city!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


It is utterly amazing how quickly time progresses.  I have allowed myself to get so busy that I hardly have time to just sit and write.  When I do have time to sit, my brain is shut off and I'm usually very close to crashing in bed.  Not too long ago I thought that I was lonely and boring.  I didn't know what to do with all of my spare time.  Now, I'm not acquainted with this concept of spare time. 

My body has literally forced me to stop this weekend.  Yesterday I woke up with a slight tension headache that progressed into a paralyzing migraine.  It made me sick to my stomach and I ended up vomiting, not only at work, but at home later in the afternoon.  Let's just say I spent a very beautiful Saturday crashed on my bed wishing that I could go hiking.  I had to embrace the solitude though, and quite honestly, I needed it.  I have kept myself so busy and I wasn't taking any time for myself and I realized that I needed to change that but didn't.  Well, nature has a way of slowing us down when we choose not to on our own. 

Since living in Austin, I have embraced the culture of no worries, chill out, it'll work out.  Every so often, though, I fall back into the uptight yankee ways of my upbringing.  Ok...so I guess I can't blame it all on that!  I have allowed the little stuff to build up, stress me out, and affect me in ways that I shouldn't.  There are too many more important things to think about and deal with.  I have been so driven by this urgency to save for a new car that I have forgotten about everything else, including my own health.  I can not keep pushing myself so hard! 

This weeks lesson:  Chill out, relax, and give it to God.  When the time is right, it'll happen!

In two weeks my mom will be in Austin, TX to visit me for the first time and I am super excited!  I am looking forward to showing her around MY city.  My only problem is deciding where to take her and what to do while she is here.  There are so many cool and unique things and places that I want to show her!  Most importantly though...I get to spend some quality time with my momma in a place that means so much to me.  Good stuff! 

If you're an Austinite, please give me suggestions for my mom's trip! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011


Many from my Texas adventure have asked me about Indiana and what makes it so special, or not.  On my recent visit to my childhood state, I decided to make some comparisons.  This is my list to share with y'all.

1.  GRASS (now, Texas appears to have grass, but in IN it is soft like carpet and you don't have to wear shoes. I miss that)
2.  FEEDER/ACCESS ROADS (U-turn?  In IN, a U-turn is where you pull into a random driveway, back up, and go the other direction.  Texas just builds those in with their stop lights.  Not too shabby of an idea)
3.  TRAFFIC LIGHTS (TX = horizontal, IN = vertical...which is better?  idk)
4.  SEASONS (TX has two...kinda...IN has four...distinctly.  The one I miss the most is Fall)
5.  CURRENT WEATHER CONDITIONS (IN is flooding in places, TX is in drought)

When it comes to things that I miss about Indiana, I would have to go with...
*cooler weather, corn fields, non-threatening storms, grass, straight flat roads, autumn, and family

There really isn't anything that special about Indiana and I guess that's why I like it.  No tourists, no fuss, no hussle bussle of out-of-towners.  It was a peaceful and somewhat secluded life.  I felt protected from the outside world and the emerging culture of our time.  Life was simple.

I couldn't live in that protective bubble of the simple country life forever though.  I had to come into today's culture.  As much as it scares me sometimes, it's also pretty cool.  I often wonder where we, as people, are headed..  Have we discovered more about God, or have we not cared to seek Him?  I'm sure we all have days of both, but in the bigger picture of it all...what are we doing to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth?