Tags: faith

{tv} Tina Fey's genius is enviable

0585 [29 and some big news]

Day 6 - Write 30 random facts about yourself.

1. I have a very difficult time maintaining consistency.
2. I love the technology that has allowed frozen food companies to replicate the taste and texture of deep-fried foods in frozen, bake-able foods like onion rings and General Tso's Chicken.
3. I read Confessions of a Pioneer Woman regularly and absolutely adore Ree Drummond's narrative and photography style(s). I read her blogs so much that I sometimes hear her "voice" narrating things that happen in my life. Or, sometimes she talks to me. Is that weird?
4. I inherited my bone structure, my assertiveness, and my bi-monthly migraines from my mother.
5. Also, we (my mother and I) have a very similar haircut (short and spiky) and our voices sound very much the same.
6. From my dad I inherited my stubbornness, my bluntness, and my blue eyes.
7. I think the best movies were made in black and white, and that many of them were made outside of the United States.
8. I'm a non-political philosophical/theoretical Marxist (with the clause that any successful implementation of Marxist theory must take place within a theocracy).
9. I like to use big words and technical jargon.
10. I have a special adoration for the beauty of words; even when writing, I consider it of great importance that the words I'm stringing together have a good sound and rhythm to them.
11. Ever since I was a toddler, I've found it very difficult to not move my body to the rhythm of a song.
12. I have only been really physically attracted to my husband since we have been married. When we were engaged, I was attracted to other men, but after we said our vows, Mike is the only one who makes my blood pressure rise. And I didn't set out to do that; it just happened to me.
13. I believe in God, the Father, the Almighty Maker of Heaven and the Maker of Earth, and Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son, our Lord.
14. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (that means complete / whole, not just one denomination) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
15. I love reading the words of texts like The Apostles' Creed and agreeing emphatically with their words. I like that connection to the people who came before me.
16. My main educational goal is to read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment in its original language (Russian), and to write some sort of dissertation on it.
17. I dropped out of school one semester before I graduated with my Bachelor's degree so that I could adjust to being married and get my priorities of God and my marriage to the forefront of my life.
18. I don't regret #17 at all.
19. I dislike being in a room that does not have adequate lighting unless I am sleeping in it (this includes movie theaters / home theaters).
20. I have never wanted to be drunk. I probably never will be drunk. I'm okay with that.
21. Knowing my own selfish and wretched tendencies, I try never to judge anyone that I know. Instead I put a lot of effort into loving people and making them feel good about the good things about themselves (i.e. if I hang with a murderer, I'll try to bring up his vast agricultural knowledge or his good relationship with his mom).
22. I have a very difficult time lying; whenever I say anything that is good, it has got to be the truth. I just try to speak good things as often as I notice them.
23. I really do not like the majority of the music / books / movies that my husband does.
24. My husband really does not enjoy the majority of the music / books / movies that I do.
25. I'm sure that the rest of my life will be spent trying to live with #23 and #24 and asking God why on earth He put us together.
26. I like beer. Moreover, I like being known as someone who loves Jesus and likes beer.
27. The thing I miss most about college is the discussion of theoretical and philosophical texts. I still read things with the same critical mindset, but I have no one to talk to!
28. I like the person I am today a whole lot more than the person I was a year ago.
29. I love Landon Vitarelli like a little brother; we have a special bond that I will always treasure. He's pictured above. I also have a special love and bond with Gabriel, his older brother who is so much like I was as a child (!!), and Angelina, his older sister who is so creative and lovely and fun to be with, and Sofia, his younger sister who gurgles and has the biggest blue eyes and is adorable.
30. My husband and I are moving to California in March, if God wills. We're selling our house and selling our cars and moving to the land of medical marijuana and temperate climates to be near San Francisco and weather that won't make my husband suffer as much. (we pray!)
{girl} you should see the view from here

0584 [let's play catch-up]

Okay, so I'm going to try to do a few of these posts a night, because I've missed so many. To be honest, I rarely get on my computer any more. I use my iPhone to check Facebooken and my Twitter (I update the Twitter more regularly... mrshotch is my handle).

Day 04 - Your views on religion.

I believe that my life is nothing without my religion, my faith, what have you. In my dictionary, religion is defined as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God. I dislike it when Christians try to distance themselves from the idea of "religion," and instead make Christianity a "relationship with Jesus." Fuck, it's not a relationship. Well, you are relating to Him as your intercessor to God, as the vehicle of your justification and holiness and salvation. But it's not simply having a BFF4EVAR. He is Lord. God is wholly unlike us, and yet He desires our worship and our love and our existence, which is baffling. And He expects nothing from us, but freely supplies us our faith and through grace gives us means to desire Him as we ought, and not to be submerged in the sin of our own stupid selfishness. My religion, my worship of that superhuman power who is God and Jesus and, yes, even the Holy Spirit in a united but distinct Trinity is my life. Apart from that I am nothing, and I am proud beyond words to find all of my hope and worth in this great love. A few verses that illustrate my hope in paradise, in an eternal life of worshiping God, and of the essence of faith as a gift of grace from God:

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1st Corinthians 15:19).

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God... (Ephesians 2:8)

Day 05 - A time you thought about ending your own life.

I think about this often. I say this not to worry anyone, but simply to be honest. I am plagued by doubt, especially when I struggle in my marriage to be a good wife and to have grace for a flawed husband who's just confused and imperfect as I am. I think, in my own desperation, that it would be peaceful to call it quits and simply offer my hands up to God in paradise, saying, "I couldn't hack it. I just want to worship You." But I know that this isn't possible. As often as I think about suicide, I have never come anywhere close to harming myself physically. I credit it to God, that not one hair can fall from my head unless He ordains it.

(I am planning to answer the questions you've left in comments... and will do so in a short while. I'm formulating my answers. ;))
{girl} you should see the view from here

0577 [it bears repeating]

I just found this chunk of Scripture in my user info... how strange that I happen to find this at the perfect time, in such an ordinary place. If I ever get a tattoo, can I just have this entire passage written on my body?

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5
{girl} you should see the view from here

0482 [third snow]

This woman from my church is missing.

There's a man in custody, a man named Ken, who was stalking her and whom she had a restraining order against. He was last seen walking out of a field, toward his car, around 5pm last night. The police arrested him at his home... surrounded it with full police detail. He hasn't said anything to them.

Please pray for this woman. She has a daughter that's 16 and a son that's 10. She's always seemed somewhat sad at church... just, worn out, tired. She's extremely kind. I'm fearing the worst, and want to go out and help look for her as soon as our church gets the go-ahead to "form a task force" for searching.

I also have my NaNoWriMo idea. I think it's going to be about the abduction of a pastor.
{girl} you should see the view from here

0479 [shadowfeet]

Not much to say. The anger thing seems to be dissipating, I hope. Now that I'm more intent on stopping it, I think I see it coming sooner, or at least see that it's worth the consequences of holding my tongue and not giving in.

I wrote a story today. Named it after Brooke Fraser's song, "Hosea's Wife." Ironically (or not...), I finished the last few pages while listening to another song of hers, called "Shadowfeet." I'm really... impressed. She's got a wonderful voice, and her lyrics are pure poetry that I can relate to. It's good to keep me focused on God (oh, how often I need reminding), but the music is also wonderful and catchy, and I can't seem to get these choruses out of my head.

The video is a bit blah. I adore her style, though, and really want to make a concerted effort to start wearing scarves all the time, and do the light layering thing. It's amazing, really, how much money I want to spend on clothes now. I never used to. I think I'll try to hit up the Salvation Army as a present to myself, a bit of time off... maybe on Monday (that's the next time I have off! although, I'll admit, I love my hectic, full schedule). I want to buy some necklaces, and a sweater or two. Vests, too, jackets. I don't really know where this desire is coming from. I should set a cap, though. I've made $150 this past week at work, and I can't afford to go and blow it in one day's shopping.

I have Ukraine to look forward to in a few months. And I've got a meeting in New Castle, Pennsylvania next Saturday for the trip. I'm so excited. I love these things... I can get together with fellow Ukraine lovers and talk about how BLOODY AWESOME Ukraine is. I also added Sasha, my interpreter, hero and for all intents and purposes, my brother, to Skype last night. We'll see. I miss him and his wife something terrible, so I'd love to talk to them. I'd even be willing to overlook the COMPLETE AWKWARDNESS of talking to them on Skype. Yeeps.

I'm so very happy. I can't imagine a better life, an existence more full of possibilities, more ripe with decisions and more nestled in God's will. I'm afraid of leaving home again, but I feel more sturdy, like a girl who went out on a day cruise and now has stronger sea legs to withstand a year on a freighter.

Mostly, though, I'm excited to see what God has to teach me, and how He'll lead me, and the things He'll do in my life that will allow me to give Him all of the glory.

I'm so in love. Now, to tell people about it...
{girl} you should see the view from here

0338 [writer's block: meaningful words]

What is your favorite quote? And why?

This is difficult. I've forgotten most of the quotes I knew from famous people.

I love this one, by C.S. Lewis...

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.

As for lyrics, there's a song by the 10,000 Maniacs that I count as the most beautiful lyrics ever penned. I love them, because they make me think and re-evaluate who and why I am. Also, I feel that they reference God more than Natalie Merchant might have intended when she wrote them.

we are the roses in the garden
beauty with thorns among our leaves
to pick a rose you ask your hands to bleed

but what is the reason for having roses
when your blood is shed carelessly?
it must be for something more than vanity

believe me, the truth is we're not honest
not the people that we dream
we're not as close as we could be

I also adore this verse from the Bible, simply because of the controversial question it poses:

Numbers 12:3

(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

As Christians, we believe that Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch. If we say that any of it was edited, we undermine our entire faith (if one thing was changed in the Bible, then the part about Jesus dying and coming back to life would be up for debate). So... how can you write that you are the most humble person on earth? It's impossible.

Think on that, friends. ;)
{girl} you should see the view from here

0296 [better than life]

If God lives in our praises, I think I've been doing a great job of putting Him in a coma.

Let's fix that, you idiot girl.

If you have ever sat alone and wondered why you were born, why you have this soft and familiar skin wrapped around your bones, I have your answer. You were born to bring praise to the Creator of everything, to the majestic Beginning and the spectacular End of every aspect of life, every harmonious moment and every succinct, beautiful breath that you've ever taken.

This God does not live in boxes, and His Son has never been held subject to any human invention or supernatural beast. This God would frighten you out of your mind if you ever met Him; if you ever saw His face, I truly believe that yours would melt into a puddle at your feet. You would regret every second of your life that you'd spent not praising Him, not bathing yourself in His glorious presence. He is the most awe-inspiring thing you will ever see, the most captivating song you will ever hear, and the most devastatingly beautiful thing you will ever feel.

The best way, for me, to experience Him is to close my eyes and put my arms out and unclench my heart (which is always closed, always locked and kept away from the world) and let my entire being experience the smallest parts of Him that I can grasp. The LORD is so magnificent that the closest I've ever been to Him is about 200,000 miles away from who He actually is. The most I can ever know of Him is an eyelash on the human form; He constantly changes and flows into different aspects of time, but His character and being remain the same as they have always been, and they will always be this way.

Every time you love someone, you are experiencing the LORD through the LORD... He is love, He is the person you're loving, and He is above it all providing everything that you need to feel this amazing emotion that transcends all others.

Whenever you do something you truly love, this is the LORD. Whenever you feel the satisfaction of writing a perfectly crafted sentence or hitting a baseball in that perfect spot or eating that amazing meal at your favorite restaurant, this is the LORD; both the act and the enjoyment you get from it are parts of Him, and yet none of that could be possible if He didn't set it all up that way.

Whenever a little girl falls in love, or whatever any woman dreams of when she imagines a perfect romantic partner, it is Christ. This may sound strange, or sacreligious, but I truly believe that Jesus meant what He said when He called the Church His bride. If we could let ourselves concieve the love that He has for us, the love that was in Him for us when He died for the laws that we broke, for the things that WE did to hurt Him and separate ourselves from Him, we would be completely blown away by the intensity of it. His love for us is so great that it transcends the boundaries of friendship and romantic love and familial love... it encompasses all of them because it is just too big to stick to one concept.

Yahweh, I am so sorry for ignoring You. Please, come back into my life and take me like you took Israel when she returned to Jerusalem after the Exile in Babylon. Take me like Hosea took Gomer after she'd slept with other men, defiled their marriage vows, and done every despicable thing to hurt him.

I am a whore, I do confess. I put you on just like a wedding dress.

But now, sew that dress into my skin and into my flesh so deeply that I could never remove it. Bind it to me so tightly that if I ever try to remove it, I am met with such an intense pain that I can never ignore the fact that I'm moving away from You.

This is all I want, YHWH... this is all I crave, this is all I desire... to want You as much as I should.

Give me the passion for You that You deserve. I am sorry. I am repenting. I am waiting.
{girl} you should see the view from here


*this is not an actual picture of Landon, it's from getty images.

Welcome to the world, Baby Landon.
You couldn't have picked a better family to be born into, and I'm sure that God will use you in amazing ways.

You're an example of the goodness that still inhabits this planet from time to time.

Love, Natalie
{girl} you should see the view from here

0131 [The Room]

This essay was written by Joshua Harris, the author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". That is really irrellevant, because the story itself is amazing.

the room

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, Collapse )