Blessed by Friends…

Do you ever have those moments where you are in the midst of a relatively normal moment in life, but something about it just strikes you, and you realize how totally blessed you are? I had one of those moments last night. First, let me just say that I love when God whispers in my ear that I should pause internally and take note of where I am, and how blessed I am. I love taking seemingly mundane things in life and remembering to pause and be thankful.

Last night I went to Fort Myer to watch the Twilight Tattoo the Army puts on every Wednesday throughout the summer. It was engaging, fun, and full of an amazing amount of skill and dedication to those skills. Several of my friends are in the Fife and Drum Corps band, and it was a lot of fun to finally get to see them perform.

Afterwards, we all hung out took a few pictures, then made our way to dinner.. There were a several people I had not met before, but mostly it was people who have become friends in the last six months. While we were at dinner, laughing, joke, talking about random things, eating amazing food, it hit me.. I am so blessed. I love these friends of mine as though we have been friends for years, and I am so thankful to know where their hearts are, and to have gotten the chance to grow and watch them grow throughout the course of 2012 so far.

The thing that struck me the most last night was how different we all are, but how much we laugh at each other, and how in just a few months have cultivated true friendships with the only goal to be friends and help one another. This time last year I would not have thought I would be here, with friends like these amazing people, and I never would have guessed at how different life would be because of them. They (along with several more people who were unable to be there) truly have made all the difference in my life here in DC, and I am so thankful and so blessed!

The Power Of Propaganda…

For Memorial Day this year I spent some of it at the Holocaust museum in DC viewing the Power of Nazi Propaganda exhibit. My friend and I have been trying to go see this exhibit for almost a year, and only just yesterday were finally able to see it. I am SO glad we did.

The two things that struck me were the level at which the Nazi’s understood propaganda, and how to use it to manipulate various groups. They were so far ahead of their time it is ridiculous. It is fairly scary to walk through the timeline starting in 1918 through the end of the second world war. The second thing that struck home with me is that my mom’s parents were born in 1906 and 1921 in Germany, but immigrated to the US in the early 1920’s. I remember hearing stories that my mom told me of why they left, much of which had to do with feeling like Germany was headed in a bad direction, and feeling as though Hitler was not trustworthy.

It is an incredibly humbling situation to realize how extremely fortunate I am that my great grandparents were able to see the situation before them, and that their actions are what sent my family towards who and what we are now. I feel incredibly fortunate to know that while my family is German, and I am very proud of that, I am even more thankful and humbled that I am part of a German heritage who were not blinded by propaganda. I am so thankful to know that they were sensitive enough to Christ to know that what was coming was not good, and were able to get out in time.

From a Communications perspective I was a mixture of in awe and disgusted at the level of understanding Hitler and the Nazi’s had of how to manipulate. It is interesting to look at and compare the ways media and political propaganda are still used in the same ways today. How sad that it is still that easy to manipulate the masses. A few of the things that stuck out to me were the clear understanding of how to communicate a message with very few words, specific colors, and how with the appropriate amount of time and messaging, people can and will be manipulated. I was amazed at how many half truths were told, and how many blatant lies were told.

As I went through the exhibit, my heart broke for the families that were involved, I could not help but look at the various faces in the pictures and wonder at what horrors they faced or what regrets they lived with for the rest of their lives.

When I was almost 15 years old my family filled out a questionnaire on New Years Eve to put into a 10 year time capsule. One of the questions I remember most vividly was: “who is the most influential person?” my unusual answer was “Corrie ten Boom.” After going through this exhibit, I maintain my belief that she is certainly among the list of most inspirational people that have ever lived. If you have not read her story, please do.. Also, if you have never heard what she went through, and how she later truly forgave, please educate yourself.. It will certainly put an entirely different light on love, hope, and forgiveness, as well as where strength comes from.

Memorial Weekend…

This weekend is going to be awesome, a friend is coming into town to hang out and gallivant around the city, we are headed to the beach with another friend all day on Saturday, and I have no doubt the majority of the weekend will be spent laughing, with great food, lots of adventures, and a whole lot of R&R.

I am really excited that this weekend starts with an early dismissal from work, and a chiropractor adjustment, but I am also careful to remember why we celebrate Memorial Weekend. So, thank you to all of you who have served, are serving or the families of those same people.

Beauty of the Heart…

I have read so many amazing blogs lately written by men and women alike talking about the beauty of women. Each blog has addressed aches, insecurities, accomplishments, frivolous things, important things, eternal and fleeting things.. Basically you name it, and I have recently read a blog about some perspective on beauty. Most of what I have read has been of serious encouragement to me, not because I am struggling to any great length with beauty, but because I am honestly trying to keep my eyes focused on what true beauty should look like…

If I am being completely honest, I vacillate between confident in who I am and how I look, to hiding how I look behind the correct fitting clothes. I do my very best to approach how I feel about my body in a correct way, reminding myself that my value is in Who’s I am, not how I feel on any given day. I work to ensure I eat (at least mostly) correctly instead of allowing my momentary feelings to dictate what goes into my mouth. But most of all, I try to be vigilant in not allowing comparing thoughts of another girl’s beauty to define my own, and then subsequently allow the view of my beauty to define my worth.

But even still, it takes a lot of work to not allow thoughts of my “beauty” to consume me; but, it is hard.
There are days where I desperately wish my “fine but not flat” stomach was tone and flat.
There are days I wish my acne would just leave me alone already…
There are days I wish my crazy hair would just decide what it wanted to do.
There are days I wish…. I wish… I wish… Fill in the blank because I have probably thought it or wished it.

How frustrating to live in a constant state of struggle with my view of my own beauty!

There is a small part of me that wants to chant over and over that wanting to be beautiful on the outside is vain and pointless, but that just does not ring true to me.. I know without any doubts I was created to be beautiful, regardless of how I feel today. So, instead I work to focus on what does ring true, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”… and in this case, the beholder made me to be beautiful. I was made to showcase the creators beautiful side, but also His fierce, merciful, loving, caring, and unique sides. I was made (along with all the other girls in the world) to showcase a specific set of attributes that guys do not have.

As I get older, I do not want to be filled with memories of longing to be beautiful, but I would rather be filled with memories of experiences and a confidence that only comes from Christ. When I am fulfilling my purpose in Christ I feel confident, I feel beautiful, I feel capable, and I feel as though I radiate from the very core of who I am.

I struggle daily with the way I look at my physical self. I view myself as “fine” or “ok,” and as much as that frustrates those around me, and as much as I am truly thankful for all my amazing family and friends that tell me and explain the beauty they see, it is Christ alone who can whisper to the very core of my soul that I am beautiful, and He alone sees me and knows my thoughts as I stand in front of my long mirror and judge whether my “fine but not flat” stomach is flat enough to wear a particular shirt on any given day.

Lately however, I have been sloowly shifting my focus from the right now, this morning as I pick out an outfit perspective, to the lifetime view of my physical body… When I am 80, will I be able to look back and be satisfied with my body, shape, beauty, activities, experiences, and feel as though I had a healthy view all those years? Or will I look back and regret the time wasted like a vapor worrying over whether I was not perfect in my own eyes? Taking a long distance view of my body puts a different perspective on it for me… I do not want to spend my life in wasted vapors wishing I was made like someone else, I would rather spend those precious moments becoming who God intended for me to be, so that I can radiate who He is throughout ever bit of my body, my heart, and my mind… whether I meant to radiate Christ or not.

Oh my dear Lord, please help me.

Leadership, Obey, and Marriage…

Spend about .03 seconds around me and you figure out I am a leader, I have a dominant personality, and I am not afraid to step up and try, even if that means I might fail. You also will realize that while these are definitely defining characteristics of me, I am also just as happy to follow someone else’s lead as long as I have no moral objections… With that being said, one of the biggest challenges with being a natural born leader is following someone who makes poor decisions or makes decisions that you do not understand the reasoning behind.There is a vastly different approach taken by great leaders and poor leaders (which really tend to just be managers). You see, great leaders inspire us, they teach us, encourage us, educate us, and in doing these things, they also motivate us to action. To simply obey someone because of their position is not effective nor do I think it is what we are supposed to do (**please note I realize there are certain situations such as war/military that require obeying, but since I am not in these situations I am referring merely to my own life/situation).

Except for my Lord or told to by Him, I see no reason to obey someone, let alone obey them blindly. To obey someone takes away the choice because it is understood that you were commanded, were informed of what your actions will be; much like a child is told to go brush their teeth and get into bed. While being commanded is not something I respond to kindly, I will gladly choose to follow someone, there are even times that I choose to follow without having all of the details, namely because I trust the person and their judgement.

Now that I have established in possibly the broadest sense my view on leadership and obeying in general, I think leadership, obeying, and marriage are an entirely different ballgame than any other type of leading/following. I also realize that I am about to launch myself into a conversation of sorts that I have no experience in due to my status as “single, never married,” however, while my thoughts may change at some point in the future (near or far), this is where I currently stand on the idea of marriage as it pertains to leading, following, obeying, submitting and God…

I firmly believe that regardless of the natural ability for a wife to lead (i.e. my natural tendency), it is the God designed role of the husband to lead their marriage, which is not to be confused for making all the decisions. I think the type of leadership required in a marriage more resembles a couple dancing than anything else. In order for the leadership of the husband to work well and effectively, it requires the husband to ask the wife to “dance,” move, and follow his plan and guidance, but in no way can he accomplish it without truly asking and her choosing to accept each and every move he purposes. When a couple is dancing, the man has no hope of effectively or gracefully completing the dance if his approach is to lead with force or abrupt decisions, instead the most graceful and successful dances require the guy to know what he wants to do, and gently yet clearly asking his partner if she will follow. The success is contingent upon the signal from the guy being clear, and then the girl choosing to follow or not. Once she has chosen to follow, she has the freedom to add flair, additional footwork or change up the speed at which she completes the moves (sometimes, not always is there this opportunity to change footwork and speed..). But, her freedom to change the small things as she follows the guy creates a dance which is both more graceful and more beautiful than he alone could have ever hoped for, and it could never have taken place had he tried forcing her to move. However, the effectiveness, grace, possible style and speed that the whole dance takes on is completely dependent on the guy to know where he’s going and how, as well as the trust he has cultivated with his partner. The more familiar she is with him and his style, the more likely she is to follow without knowing where she will end up. Sometimes, she will recognize the pattern and other times she will be completely lost in the love and joy of the dance.

So, back to my view of what it means to lead and follow in a marriage. While I think it is the role of the husband to lead, I do not think that equates making all the decisions, nor do I think it means deciding on his own, I think it has much more to do with spiritual leadership, which is also not to be confused with him taking the place of God for the wife. I think she is still just as responsible for pursuing and putting God first in her life as he is. However, men and women have dramatically different views of the world, and I think that fact is not only interesting, but essential and on purpose. Viewing the world differently with varying approaches allows couples to not only make the “correct choice” but also to use the best possible tactic in the situation. I think the best marriages are when everything is tackled as a team… Which does not mean everything is equal or fair, but that the expectation is that each person is in it with the other person’s (or entire family’s) best interest at heart. I think to lead AND to follow is hard, but hard for different reasons. Once married if the wife suddenly just starts “obeying” her husband, she stops being the woman he fell in love with because while they were dating she is not commanded to submit, that only takes effect once she becomes his wife. Sure there are steps and processes towards “two becoming one,” and I have no doubt part of this process includes the girlfriend learning to be a fiance, learning to be a wife… but she cannot merely switch to obeying him, nor should that be what he wants, and if that is, then there is either a lot of fighting in his future or a mere shadow of the marriage he could have had.

So, I 100% agree with the Bible that husbands should “love their wives” and wives should “submit to their husbands”… but, let’s not forget we are also told to ” Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)…

 And, in order for a husband to lead his wife, he is told to love her:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13

I think it is important to point out, it is not the job of the wife to make her husband love her, and it is not the job of the husband to make his wife submit. Both commands are between the person and God alone. I do however think it looks slightly different for every couple due to the different strengths, abilities, skills, weaknesses, etc.. No two marriages will look the same, which means the leadership/teamwork styles cannot look identical either. Leading me will look dramatically different than leading any other woman because of my strengths and weaknesses, as well as my (possibly) future husband’s.

From my entirely naive of personal experience view of marriage, I think it is one of the most difficult, challenging, frustrating, but entirely worth it choices two people can make. And, I challenge you to re-evaluate your view of leadership, obeying, and marriage once more after viewing this video about Ian and Larissa‘s marriage.

Talk about a true authentic loving marriage.


I found this on a poster on the metro last week..

This is the name my oldest nephew gave me when he couldn’t say my name.. Which then molded into my other munchkins using it.. And then translated into several friends using it as well.

It is one of my all time favorite nicknames. Love it and the people who use it!


I have been in such a rut lately.. Not the depressing kind or even the scary kind, just the blogging kind. What I always find odd about about getting in a blogging rut is that it typically means lots of things going on in my head.. and more often than not my life in general. But, it is as if my rut stems from feeling the need to write down profound things… Which let’s be honest virtually never happens haha! So, I am not entirely sure why I would feel the need to say something “inspired”…

However, since I do not have anything of major importance, I thought I would share a hodge podge of things…

I am nearing the end of Inheritance, the last book in the Eragon series… And, as always, I am slightly sad that this fantastical story is almost over! The thing that has caught me about this series, like many others, is how much I can picture the story, I can feel the emotions, and agree with the sentiments and determinations of the various situations. I am a huge fan of the strong capable women, and there is always a part of me that would like to believe if I ever found myself an elf or surrounded by dragons that I would act similarly 😉

I was texting with one of my favorites yesterday, and we were discussing what motivation and determination look like… Motivated means something along the lines of “to stimulate towards action,” and subsequently determination means “fixed towards a goal” (both of these I picked one of a few possible descriptors)… While I think motivation is more important because it means you are doing something, I also think it is less difficult than being determined; mainly because to be fixed on a goal means knowing what the goal is… I feel like as Christians the only way to accurately be fixed towards a goal is to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” and then everything else will fall into place.. Which is not to be confused with be easy, successful or clear since I am fairly certain none of those things are promised to us.

I had an interesting conversation with a new friend recently about whether “Wives submit to your husband” really means “women obey because he’s the leader” … I think I will mull this over a bit more and post on it later…