Sunday, February 27, 2011

They call me "Melinda"

August 2002. Freshman year of college.  First week.  Orientation. Arlington, TX.

I'm introducing myself to everyone and anyone.

The conversations that first week went like this:

Me: "Hi! My name is Minda."

Them: "Wait what?"

Me: "Minda...you know. Linda with an M"

Them: "oooh Minda."

Me: Yeah.

Them: "Awesome. Hi. Fun name. Nice to meet you."

About halfway into this week of orientation where you are meeting everyone- I got tired of that conversation. Minda was not familiar. No one knew what I was saying. So I said "to heck with this. I'll just go by Melinda.(my official 1st name)"

This lasted for one day.  "Melinda" just didn't 'fit'....you know?

But. During that one day of giving up on the name Minda- I met a girl who would be a part of my life in a big way! And would introduce me to OTHER people as "Melinda."

So. I have 2 friends that call me "Melinda."

And they argue when I try to tell them to call me Minda. They say "You introduced yourself to us as Melinda so that's yo name, woman!"

The friendship I have with these 2 girls is beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.  There are not a ton of people that I keep in close contact with that I met at UTA.  But these 2 girls are for sure a huge part of my life today.

Meet Leticia!

This gorgeous lady I saw in my history class.  We'd met- and every time I saw her- she had this exact same HUGE smile on her face.  Stunning, right???   Well- About 8 weeks into my 1st semester- My roommate had to make an emergency exit from our dorm- leaving me with no roommate for a week.  I got a call from the front office telling me they were on my way up with the new girl. I heard a knock on my door and looked out the peep hole to see THIS smile. I was like "whaaaaa?!?!?"

So. We lived together for the remainder of the year and I love this girl like crazy.  Leticia ended up finishing her last 2 years of college in Austin at UT and one would think that changing schools would alter a friendship. But nope. Not with Leticia. To this day- we are still friends and probably closer friends than we've ever been....despite her living in NEW YORK now!!! :-)

Meet Jaclyn!


This lady.  Oooooh man. This lady. Can't you just even tell from this picture that she seems like she'd be awesome to hang out with?  Yes.....yes she is. :-) Jaclyn and I met that one day of orientation and have been friends ever since. Who wouldn't want to be friends with her?? So many inside jokes....So many memories.  Jaclyn is actually the first person to introduce me to Beth Moore.  Yup. That's right.  I did my first Beth Moore bible study with her! :-)

Jaclyn still lives in the DFW area and teaches high school.  Her kids are the luckiest students! I love that no matter what- however often or seldom we see each other- we can pick right up and feel as though no time has gone by.  We have history. I love having history with friends. Good history :-)

9 Years I've known these ladies.  NINE. :-) These will be girls that I'm sure I'll call when I'm 40 and tired of my kids and want to get away for a weekend. These are the girls that I know will slap a girl back into reality and hold me accountable.  These are girls that I can talk to when I need a good cry/vent/or laugh.

These are my girls....And they call me 'Melinda.'

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"I'm AWESOME!"

How's THAT for a humble title?? :-)

Last week I took a test called Strength Finders for a class I'm taking at Gateway.  We were to take the test- and then the plan was to come back to class the next week and talk about our #1 strength.

Are any of you familiar with this?  If so- and you've taken the test- I'd love for you to comment on this post and tell me what your top 5 are!!! If you are not- go HERE and find out how to compile your strengths. You will not regret doing this.

I'll tell you my top 5- and then I'll tell you what my first thought was.
  1. Responsibility
  2. Woo (Winning Others Over
  3. Empathy
  4. Communication
  5. Maximizer
So. Here's the deal. When I first read them- I thought to myself- ok, this makes sense. But how are these things STRENGTHS??

With each of them- I knew immediately how each of them could be a BAD thing. I didn't want to get up in front of the class and tell them why my strengths were indeed, BAD things. This is a perfect example of just how smart Satan is. He takes our strengths, and twists them around so that we are not operating in the full extent and ability of our strengths.

 So while I was thinking about them and discussing them with a dear friend, Jan, she was telling me some things about these particular strengths and why they were good- and all of a sudden-I broke into a huge grin and declared "MAN! I'm AWESOME!!!"

Now. You may think to yourself- "geeez! humility's not in your top 5 for a reason!" But let me tell you. When there are parts of WHO YOU ARE- and you've always seen them as bad things- to have someone tell you why they are GOOD things- that is FREEDOM.

Some of these things- I'd never seen them as strengths before. Is that weird?!?

Responsibility is my number 1 strength and here is the description:

People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty. Driven by your talents, you likely are described by your teammates as someone who keeps promises. People trust you so much they do not keep checking on your progress. They probably have discovered over time that you honor your commitments. Because of your strengths, you consistently work at assignments and chores to their conclusion. People have confidence that you will see whatever you do through to the very end. By nature, you prepare for assignments by reading extensively. Your capacity for pulling together information from books, publications, correspondence, notes, or Internet sites serves you well. Instinctively, you bring an exceptionally mature perspective to your team. Most people regard you as the dependable and reliable one.
Yes. Yes. and YES! There is no denying that this is my #1 Strength.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

96 and Pregnant

Was reading in Joshua this past week and I might be tempted to say that it is one of my favorite books of the Bible.

And speaking of favorite books of the Bible....I might just have to admit to you all that the Old Testament is my favorite.

Really. I think it is. It's filled with stories of people that I feel as though I can relate to.  I mean- can't YOU relate to a man who had to spend 400 years building an ark?  Can't YOU relate to a woman being 96 years old and being pregnant for the first time? ;-)

Ha.....no. Their circumstances are not what I can relate to- but I feel as though I can relate to them a little bit better than with people in the New Testament. The people in the New Testament- they walked and talked with Jesus...in the PHYSICAL. They saw Him. The people of the Old Testament believed God and His promises....without ever having met Him in the physical. You know?  God may not have appeared to me in a burning bush- but He appeared to me in a REALLY awesome job situation last year. He may not have appeared to me in a cloud....But He's appeared to me in so many quiet moments in my apartment-on my couch- with my coffee in hand.

John 20:29- Jesus is talking to Thomas (the 'doubter'....and ps! can we talk about how depressing that would be to be remembered that way?!) "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

That is you and me, my friend. We have believed without ever PHYSICALLY seeing the scars in His hands.

Ok. So i totally bunny trailed there- but here goes.

Reading in Joshua.

Several times in the book of Joshua (and in the Old Testament in general)- I saw instances of people marking a certain location with a pile of stones. They always made note that "the stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel." This would typically be a place in which they'd seen God show up in a BIG way for them. They wanted to remember.

Ok- so move with me a little bit to the New Testament.
The book of Luke. Chapter 19 (ok, ok, we moved a LOT- but still)

Verse 28-40- Jesus is about to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. A crowd of disciples begin praising God in loud voices saying "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna"

Some of the Pharisees said to Jesus "Tell them to be quiet!!!"

Jesus said to them "If they keep quiet- the stones will cry out."

Ok. Coming full circle here.  As I was reading in Joshua about all the stone memorials. I thought of this passage in Luke. If we keep quiet...the stones will cry out. 

The stones that are left to mark His faithfulness.  The stones that are left to remind us of His goodness.  The stones that were left to help the people of Israel NEVER forget what God had done.

Friends. Can you imagine? I kinda feel as though my journals are my 'stones' so to speak. They recount time after time after time that God has proved faithful to me. They are my 'markers.' My memorials.

If I'm not sharing of His faithfulness- my journals could very well come to life and start shouting of His faithfulness.

Are you sharing of His faithfulness?  Has He been faithful to you? It's time we start shouting about it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

pray....?

Reading from a Beth Moore book today and this clip just jumped off the page.  Because I could have very well written it myself.  I know for SURE that I've thought the same things.  Beth goes on to talk about the maturing of her prayer life- and I'm not there yet. But I'm getting there. 

I love hearing that I'm not alone in my walk....that other people struggle with things similar to me.

It makes me feel.....not alone.



On a scale of 1-10 based on the sense of God's presence and apparent response, I could have rated my prayer life a pitiful two. Don't misunderstand me, I prayed all the usuall prayers, but my ordinary mode of operation was to pray things that looked like they were probably going to turn out anyways. Can anyone else relate? Then God began calling me out of my unbelief.

My prayer life changed and matured gradually through the years  as I sought God through His Word, but something dramatic happened that suddenly pitched it forward. I hate to admit it, but it came out of a sense in prayer on day that, frankly, God was bored with my prayer life. I sensed God saying, "My child, you believe Me for so little. Don't be so safe in the things you pray. Who are you trying to keep from looking foolish? Me or you?"  You see, sometimes I decided that I'd rather not ask certain things than risk a no. I reasoned that God was sovereign and I'd simply let Him do what He wanted. In reality, I was terrified that God or I would let me down and shake what little faith I'd had.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First Page In New Journal

I will RARELY share in my blog things that I've written in my journal....But here's my first page of my new journal.


Hello February

Nice for you to FINALLY get here.....and you brought along some fun weather too!!! That's exciting!


And what does Minda do when she has a snow day?  She makes coffee, makes homemade blueberry muffins, and settles in on the couch with her computer, a load of books, and starts to work from home! Yipppeee!


Also- today begins a new journal.  So many empty pages.  My heart kind of aches when I think about what is to come in this next season.  (I kinda consider my life in seasons by my journals.).  So here's to a new season. Is it weird that I kinda want to cry just thinking about all that the LORD will do over the next several months?  He is good. This I know. I know that this journal will, like all the others, be filled with stories of His faithfulness.


The one about Jaryn

The year was 2011. I needed a job and m y friend Grace was aware of this. I received a call from Grace and she said, “How do you fe...