Vocal Fry

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During my short stint of seeing a speech therapist, she trained me to speak with higher and lighter tones because the lower and deeper ones caused more problems for the vocal chords. I bet vocal fry is negatively affecting these girls’ vocal chords.

Now that I know about this, I’m hearing it everywhere. Beware of the vocal fry!

Forgetting Their Wedding Anniversary

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How I Felt Earlier This Week When I Bought An Anniversary Card For My Parents (days ahead)

Yesterday, On Their Anniversary, I Went About My Business


This Morning When I Realized I Forgot Their Anniversary

Their Reaction When I Called Them To Apologize

Thanks for your graciousness, guys! After all that, Happy Anniversary!

Here’s to 34 more years!


Posting My First Paper!

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It’s about time, since I’m going to graduate next month (ow ow)!

This was an easy peezy, short, and fun paper due today! The task was to share a non-scriptural resource that has impacted our lives and could be used in a counseling context. In fact, a blog post I wrote back in 2011 called “Jesus Everywhere” inspired my resource choice (you’ll see I copied parts of the blog post, though it doesn’t count as plagiarism since it was my own writing). :) To get you in the mood, I thought I’d share this video. Enjoy!


In the spring of 2011, my family sat around the table eating pancakes for dinner. My sister asked if we had ever read The Giving Tree because the book came in the mail for her earlier that day. I wracked my brain trying to recall the moral of the story, or even just the mood. I knew of the famous children’s book. I am sure I read it at one time or another. The only thing I could remember was that distinctive cover: green, a tree towering over a little boy looking up at it. Not being able to withstand my ignorance any longer I said, “Story time.” I put down my syrupy fork and reached out for the book. I read the story aloud, showing pictures to my family like I would to a Kindergarten class. And my mind kept darting ahead, trying to predict Shel Silverstein’s ending. But it went in a more tragic direction than I had expected. The tree gives to the little boy throughout the years. First it’s her apples, but as the boy gets older he demands more and more of her, until she’s chopped down to a stump. And at last, when he’s an old man, she says she has nothing left to give. But then she realizes she does have something, and she invites him to sit on her stump to rest. “And the boy did. And the tree was happy. THE END.” Both Dad and I had silent tears. Who would have known that such a little book could conjure up such emotion? ”Jesus.” I said it again, “Jesus. For some reason this makes me think of Jesus.”

This story points to the God of Scripture and his relationship with us. First, as the tree delights to give to the boy, so God delights to give to his people. This reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:11, “ If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” The lie Satan set loose in Eden was that God does not want good things for his children—Jesus’ words set the record straight. Secondly, every time the tree sees the boy and gives parts of herself, the narrator repeats, “and the tree was happy.” Does this not echo God’s exuberance and excitement over being in relationship with us? Zephaniah 3:17b affirms this, “…he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” In addition, like the boy, we are too busy. We pursue all the things he does- money, a wife and family, a house, and a boat. He hurt the tree to get what he wanted, and so we squander God’s grace in pursuit of worldly treasures. Though the tree suffered, she was still so excited to see the boy, and she loved him. The tree’s unrelenting love harkens back to the parable of the Prodigal Son where the Father (representing God the Father) runs out to the meet the wayward Son, even though the Son had greatly maligned him. What an unexpected and unhuman welcome!

Most powerfully, the tree gave all of herself to the boy (apples, branches and trunk) to the point that she had nothing left but a stump—yet even that she eagerly gave to the boy! Christ, too gave all of himself for us, even his very life. And he did that by “climbing up a tree,” a different tree, to suffer and die for us. Philippians 2:7-8 describes Christ’s sacrifice: “ but [Christ] emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus emptied himself and died so we might live a glorious life and eternity with him. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). That is the Giving Tree. That is Jesus.

This story surprised me by the powerful depiction of the nature of God’s love. His love is perfect and almost unfathomable. After our read aloud, I realized a lie had crept into my heart; the lie that God is distant and unforgiving. The Giving Tree compelled me to explore Scripture—was the tree’s unconditional love for the boy like God’s love for me? Does God delight in me that much, want me that much, is he willing to sacrifice everything, even though I’m such a sinner? The verses I mentioned are only a sliver of those I found proving God’s sweet and intense love for me. In all my sinful estate, God sacrificed what was most valuable to him, his perfect son, Jesus Christ, for my sake. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). This truth, prompted by the story of The Giving Tree, changed me in that I strive and pray to be the “anti-boy.” Spending as much time with the tree as I can, cultivating thankfulness, and turning away from earthly treasures are a few ways I attempt to do that. Moreover, the selflessness of the tree and her rich love are held out as a beacon before me.

In conclusion, the most obvious counseling application is to read The Giving Tree to a child in order to explain God’s love to them. However, not only did the story touch my heart as a woman in her 20s, but it also touched a man in his 60s, my Dad. God can use anything, even a children’s book to share his truth. Read this story to any aged counselee when in need of demonstrating the extreme measures God has undergone in order to be in an intimate relationship with them. No matter how we have maligned God, his love is greater. Does that not burn a fire in our hearts, springing us into action? Does that not ignite within us a love to worship, serve, and please him? Let us live today in light of such sacrificial love, as servants of the Man on the Tree.

I Signed The Pledge Today

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Here’s the pledge.

I got “distracted” on the distraction.gov page by watching “the faces” videos, stories of those who were injured or killed by distracted driving. They are sobering, sorrowful, and convicting. And I had to stop after a couple stories because it was too overwhelming. I’ll be the first to say I have NOT been as vigilant on the road as I should be. I’ve tried to justify texting at stoplights, but that is still making your cell phone primary and driving secondary. Even this past weekend, I was the passenger in my friend’s car and I didn’t say anything as she glanced at her phone to read a text while driving. We’re all guilty of it, but as the video says, “Safe driving starts with you.”

“Sending or reading one text is pretty quick, unlike a phone conversation – wouldn’t that be okay?

Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction simultaneously. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. It’s extraordinarily dangerous.” -www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/faq.html

So in this very moment, I’m going to enact the third point of the pledge: “encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free.” I encourage you to put that phone in the backseat as you drive. And please ask me how I’m doing with it too, to keep me accountable. We need each other, beloveds! And if while you’re driving there’s someone you must absolutely get in contact with (like pronto, stat) I’d urge you to do what I saw one older lady do last week. She pulled over on the side of the road (it caught my attention because it was a random spot where she pulled over) and she picked up her cell phone to talk to someone. In her case, wisdom accompanied her years!

Is Theology A Big Scary Monster Under the Bed?

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This weekend I went to a nearby church where Aimee Byrd was speaking, the author of Housewife Theologian. I haven’t read the book yet, however, I was intrigued after reading this affirming review. I keep thinking about what she said (that’s always a good sign that the Spirit is on the move), and so I thought I’d type out her points and share them with my beloveds:

  • Every person is a theologian (theology being the study of knowing God).
  • The question is, are you a good theologian or a poor one?
  • Jesus prayed for us. He prayed that we would be good theologians and would truly know him. John 17:3- And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
  • Sometimes we can be fearful of theology; big words intimidate us, theological debates can seem too thorny and so we avoid them. We have a passive take on theology or a fearful one. But let’s say you were diagnosed with a bizarre, strange disease. What would you do? Because it’s important to you, you would google it, read books, research and talk to people in order to learn as much as you can. You wouldn’t let the foreign nature of medical language stop you, you would persevere because the subject matters to you. What a perfect metaphor for theology that Aimee Byrd has described here!! Don’t let intimidating words/concepts stop you from being a good theologian, from knowing God.
  • Theology is confessional–read the Word voraciously. Our rich creeds in Christianity can help us navigate through Scripture. Can you articulate how Jesus is Lord both in his Person and in his Work?
  • Fitness- holding fast to anything requires fitness. Strive to not just know about God, but to know him intimately. This is day in and day out. Stamina. As Paul says in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lordhis going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” (kudos to those of you who remembered that’s my verse of the year) :)
  • Practicality- what we believe about God shapes our everyday behavior and decisions. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking theology is simply academic, having nothing to do with daily life. Interestingly, Aimee pointed out the #1 target audience for self-help books is women. Yes, that’s the publisher’s issue, but statistics show women are consuming them, not men. Women are seeking help in the wrong places; Christ is way more worth knowing about. As Aimee says, “If women are to reflect the Church’s relationship to Christ, well, we should know a good deal about Christ!”
  • Last, I got goosebumps (the good kind) when Aimee prayed for us using Col. 1:3-13. She asked us to notice how “theological” it was. Check it out, it is QUITE so. She asked, “Are your prayers this theological?” I answered in my head, “No way.” But I’m excited to grow in this pursuit of knowing God more intimately, in becoming a good theologian. Are you?

One last Aimee Byrd plug: I’ve been listening to this podcast called “Mortification of Spin” hosted by two great current male theologians, Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt, and Aimee often joins them. I’d encourage you to subscribe (free through itunes). It’s very entertaining, as well as theological enriching. Plus, it’s awesome to hear Aimee hold her own among these two sharp men. Way to represent!

Lovely by Miner

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Song/picture association: This song makes me think of fiery summer nights dancing in barns and tall grass. Billowy skirts. Twilight. Fireflies. Bonfires. Barefeet. Ice cold lemonade. Wide open spaces. Mosquito bites.

My favorite lines:

“i can’t give you what you’re lookin for.

then maybe I’m not making myself clear.
cause I’ve been lookin
for you…

…and if the roof leaks?

we’ll think of something

what if your heart leaves?

you’re coming with me.”

 p.s. I can’t think of whose voice she reminds me of, especially in the first verse (–someone from the 70s– like Carole King or Joni Mitchell). Anyone else hear it???

“i thank You God for most this amazing” by e.e. cummings

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i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- e.e. cummings