Monthly Archives: December 2009

Family

For those who hate to read–here’s a youtube entry: about parents. Not sure why it cut off the top 1/2 of my face after i recorded it in photobooth.  strange.

This year has been a strange one at the Nelson House.  Things that have changed greatly include:

1.) No sister Sarah but yes brother Jonathan (whatt).

2.) No movies, board games and Christmas reading (yes disgusting video games where you kill everybody).

3.) No staying up all night or getting up at 4:30 AM.  (yes yanking kids out of bed after 9).

More constant traditions included:

1.) Mom surprising kids by buying electric guitars and ipods even though everybody thought there was no way.

2.) Dad making amaazinnggg breakfast.

3.) Me not wanting to leave.

Favorite quotes: “Do you know how I know this one is from Becca?”  and best of the day was Mom:
“CALEB!  DONT LOOK!  GUYS GO GET IT!  CALEB!  CLOSE YOUR GUITAR! I MEAN YOUR EYES! CLOSE YOUR EYES!  OH NO.”

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resolutions

What are your resolutions for this coming year?  I think that as much as Arricka and Sarah are great accountability partners, i will do a better job of stickin to it if i write my own on this here blog so you can be a witness.

1.) Floss daily regularly.

2.) Finish books i begin.

3.) Really listen, and do it way more often than i currently do  (not just waiting for people to finish sentences, but hearing them out).

4.) Set aside 1 hr per day for non-gym, non-work, non-social time and spend it praising God and learning His heart and desires.

5.) Lose 25 lbs by Becca 2’s wedding.

6.) Don’t give up on number 5.

7.) Start snoozing for a minimum of 5 hours per night, every night.  No more of this 4 business anymore.

 

Not including all the spiritual stuff is a decision i think fits the Bible’s call to privacy in worship.

Besides:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35).

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).

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GUESS WHAT?!

I just found out some more stuff this weekend-and its big.

a.) my goal every day should NOT be “live life to the fullest”.

b.) i’m self-centered often.

Let me explain.

Yesterday, i was on my way to hand out coats to homeless folks in Copley Square.  I was excited to spend time with church members, and a blizzard was coming.  It was a nice start to a holiday weekend.

Uh, then Mom and Dad called.  They pleaded with me to get on a bus before the storm arrived.  They’d pay the difference (i had planned to ride with Nathan the following day, not leave on a bus in 45 minutes).  I struggled to decide, weighing the “church in boston vs. church in chili” and the “i love being snowed in but i miss my family” and the “homeless people need coats but i dont have to do everything”.  i really just wanted a hug from both parents, and mom had a great point.  i missed “the fathers house” and needed a break. I hadnt started packing xmas presents, my stuff, paying rent, wrapping up boston stuff and getting ready.

After packing everything in 20 minutes (for a two week adventure around the USA, and realizing i packed nothing to wear to a WEDDING in NC), and boarding a bus bound for home, I started thinking about the remarkably hard time i had making that decision.  Even though i wanted to see my family so badly, I regretted leaving so much undone, missing the blizzard, and a few other random (and telling) things.  Through this all, I realized that I would’ve regretted staying in Boston even more than I regretted leaving.  and dad, if you read this, you know im happy here on the couch, right?

What am i talking about?  The more i try to get the most out of a day (falling prey most often to this on weekends), the more self centered i get.  I can’t be satisfied.  I’m just trying to get the best possible memory/photo opportunity/comfort/me-centered thing____insert feeling or emotion or material thing i want here in this little blank:___________.  I “live life to the fullest”.  This can often involve helping others, (if it fits in and sounds not too painful in my schedule).  For example, if we were handing out coats and it was freezing rain–you can believe id not be there (i cant afford to get sick before Christmas!).

The way I make decisions is flawed, not in who i put first (since i often, in the end, put others first).  It is flawed because it takes me FOREVER to decide, and after i put others first (or myself first) i regret things and wish i’d done things another way.  that can hurt the people i offered to help even more than not helping.  Note: not every time, but sometimes.

I am not suggesting we shouldnt make smart, wise, healthy decisions that help us to take care of ourselves.  I AM making a point that no matter what we decide–for a weekend, a 50 dollar purchase, a new car, a degree or whatever (notice i did not add spouse the list), its not as big a deal as it seems.  Life’s short and we have eternity to “live life to the fullest”.  Whether i made it home and went to church and back to a cozy house, or stayed in boston to hand out coats and play in a blizzard–doesnt matter.  We have forever to have a way better experience than december in the USA can provide.

don’t believe in heaven?  no wonder you guard your minutes the way you do.  then please do live life to the fullest. and go to new zealand!

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What happened to me on Sunday?

Something strange happened to me last Sunday in church.  I felt thoroughly moved by a Christmas carol!  I’m talking brought to my knees and crying actual tears.

I am doing some quick math in my head to figure out how many times I’ve heard (consciously or unconsciously) the song “Oh Holy Night” in the past 24 years.  I’ve heard it performed on radios, by Josh Groban, boys choirs, Celine Dion, talented cats on night shows…even I played it in a piano recital when I was 13…I think it must be at least 700 times.

What happened to me on Sunday?  A realization, I suppose, of our current situation and what Christmas means to me.

While the sermon was excellent, the pastor ended on a very strange verse—Luke 2:18.  It discusses the bloodshed of babies born in Bethlehem. He explained that today millions of babies are still being killed, youth are being gunned down in our cities, and mothers are crying, just like then.  He’s right.  After living in Bethlehem myself with Palestinian Arabs, I can testify that things are not yet “on earth as they are in heaven”.

We sing at Christmas in joyous exuberance at the realization that the darkness has had to flee.   A loving Savior gave up Heaven to come be “God with us”. We sing “Long lay the world In sin and error pining,Til He appear’d And the soul felt its worth.”

On Sunday, I realized that much of the world still lays pining for their Savior.  Not every soul has felt its worth.  According to statistics, there are over 6,000 unreached people groups in the world today.  Oh Holy Night broke my heart.  At that moment, Christmas, to me, meant both an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and a deep sense of urgency–for those in darkness to see His beauty as we can.

Have you ever bought a new bed, then wanted to go to bed at 5 PM just to be in it?

As you may recall, I direct a nonprofit in Kenya that cares for orphans and widows.  These people are so poor that most had slept on floors with no mattresses.  If not for a TFH member (who will remain unnamed) and her coworkers, 20 kids would not have upgraded to a mattress.  That THRILL of hope is like the time you went from an “OK” mattress to a BRAND NEW ONE..times 100.

These kids and (mostly) grandmothers sing and talk about Jesus.  They know that someday they’ll sit at the King’s table to eat, and will walk on streets that sparkle.  Truly I think my friends in Nairobi are better off than some of my Boston friends who have beautiful homes and Harvard degrees, but no hope at all.

My tears were tears of anger.  It made sense before for the world to be in darkness—they were awaiting a Savior who would bring the light to earth.  Now it makes no sense.  Why are there still people that are unreached?   Joy to the world: The LORD HAS COME. Many friends and coworkers have never heard the real Gospel—only a skewed, weird, twisted version of Jesus that’s filled with untruths. The light came into the world, changing everything, right?

Jesus Christ: “Born that men no more may die” loves both the hopeless that live in darkness and the seemingly successful hopeless that make us forget they are in darkness.  Let’s realize that when we sing songs of Christ coming, advent isn’t over.  We are still living in a world that is pining.

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difficulties

this week has been spiritually enlightening and tonight i said no for the first time to a party.

but then i spent 4 hours trying to get a new cellphone and a plane ticket for the holidays.  and ive got neither.

this week i:

  • lost my cellphone and all my contacts.
  • got the worlds worst hangnail.  hurts to type the letter l. sounds  pathetic.  is beyond pathetic.
  • had a wicked sore neck after an embaressing spill on ice.
  • realized my car (now mirrorless and moldy and ice filled from leaking in water) shuts itself off at lights that take more than 10 seconds.
  • have chapped lips (Napoleon style).
  • didnt finish everything i wanted to.
  • cant type what i want to actually (TMI).

but as im typing im realizing i also:

  • got to work on things i care deeply about, every single day.
  • was given settlers by my roommates.
  • grabbed an inspiring lunch with my new pastor.
  • kept up in weightlifting classes.
  • spent more time with a new girlfriend. (you know who you are!)
  • found fulfillment in Jesus’ Word

so really, who’s complaining?  i wish i’d spent tonight in the bible, but cellphone and plane tickets dont buy themselves!  this really hurts to type all these l’s.  im going to stop typing now.

(praise be to God who always causes us to win).  ain’t nothing gonna breaka my style — cause he is bigger—gave me the cellphone to lose in the first place!

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Choking

Today i began thinking about the parable of the sower.  I was thinking about how terrible it is that quickly (in some cases, even immediately), people can lose the Word in their lives.

Some never really fully had understanding or love for the Word to begin with, and others…others thought things were completely fine.  This to me, is the scariest thing of all (like when Mary and Joseph left Jesus in Jerusalem and went on for a day thinking he was there (Luke 2), when he was nowhere to be found-).

Then–i realized–even before i got further into the parable–that the worst thing i could imagine would be if it took a long long time for someone to miss out.  I’d memorized the story of God sowing seed in the past, but while I re-read it, it took on new meaning (which the Bible tends to do for me sometimes), one of caution and understanding around getting choked.

Mark 4 verse 19
And the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

I’ve been reading commentaries now, so after reading the parable through, with a deepening sense of “the thorns are the worst way to go because they COULD take a long time and cause immense pain”, I read the following from a great author (emphasis added):

“In the analogies, the thorns stand for the cares, riches, and lusts of other things, or, as Luke stated it, “cares, riches, and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). Are not most of earth’s pleasures “lusts” of various kinds? Even the pursuit of legitimate pleasure if excessive, may become, in fact, a “lust.”

For numberless souls, it is just a case of permitting the word of God to be choked out by other things. Those who correspond to the thorny soil are they who have not ordered life’s priorities. No man can do everything that comes into his mind as permissible or desirable; and those who attempt to do so will find their lives so filled up that there is not any time left, not even time to pray. “The more complicated life becomes, the more necessity there is to see that our priorities are right.” F15″

The last line really shook me.  You know I try to do everything.  You might not know that I’ve been recently called to more prayer, and less of everything.  But putting that into practice is like trying to beat a crack addiction.

I could argue with this thought–in previous years, I would explain to myself, “Self, this is one person’s viewpoint.  It says no MAN can do everything, but you’re a woman!  You’ve got a gift for multitasking!”  But God’s word never lies and is not something arguable.  There’s three LEVELS of thorns involved!  No wonder I get so distracted.

“The three classes of thorns stand for distractions which pertain to responsibilities and duties (cares), the possession or pursuit of wealth (riches), and the pursuit of pleasure, that is, following any sinful pleasure, or the inordinate pursuit of even innocent pleasure.” – SearchGodsWord.org.

Finally, I’ve got to say, this post is really, truly, for me.  God knows I’ve asked him for weeks for understanding and desire to be in his presence.  I’ve asked for help making life less busy, but I haven’t really had any urgency to do so.  Dear future Becca, when you come back and read this–if you are not bearing any fruit, you can be SURE it’s because you didn’t heed these words, stop trying to do everything, and start praying when God told you to.

For the rest of you, don’t die a slow and painful plant death. My plant at work just died, and it’s gray and brown and there’s no way to bring it back–trust me, the cares of this world are NOT worth it.  And for understanding and increased hunger:
Verses 23, 24
If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete it shall be measured unto you; and more shall be given unto you.

Euthymius paraphrased this: “In that measure in which you measure your attention to my teaching, in the same measure will spiritual understanding be measured unto you.” F26

Verse 25
For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.

This is no high-handed injustice of robbing the poor to enrich the affluent; but it is the statement of an eternal law, applicable in context or out of it.

In context: To the diligent student of divine truth more of divine truth shall be revealed. The slothful student shall not only learn no more, but shall even forget what he already knows F27.

That last sentence was for Miss Melvina, who has encouraged us young people every single day at work to “put the Word of God in your bank now before you get old and it is too late for you”.  She now struggles in memorization and wants our brains to start early.

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Tidings of read to find out

I woke up to Luke 2 today.  all 52 verses.  And then i read about Jesus’ crucifixion and ressurection.   What a way to start a monday!

Went to work and struggled with the Mondays, nursed a sore neck :(, had a good meeting and finished tasks.  Gym (boot camp class tonight) before bible study.  Then it was back to Luke 2.  All 52 verses again.

This morning i’d compiled thoughts about the classic chapter (of shepherds and angels) to share at women’s bible study.

But while I was sharing, I learned a few new things.  I’ll share one of them now–it’s about mangers.

Initial thought: God provides what’s needed throughout the Bible, from manna, to donkeys, to rooms to prepare the passover in with his disciples.  If you’re Jesus’ disciple, and he sends you, you can go up to some dude and say “The master has need of this” or “Here’s a coin i got from a fish’s mouth” and it’s all good for you.  So why did God choose a manger for Jesus to lie in?  It really is a weird place to put a kid.  Why not have a bad hotel room or a friend’s apartment or just an ok location?  It would still show us that he came humbly to a not-so-nice place, but his poor mother could’ve been spared an agonizing “where am i going to put my baby” decision (between the hay / floor and the trough).

Initial answer: God knew — he KNEW — that people would remember that feeding trough throughout the ages as a sign of his gift to us.  He became not only human, but really, really poor, to save us from everything we got ourselves into without him.
He likely knew that we’d make little nativity scenes out of wood and clay and glass (even in places like kenya they make these things)…and we’d remember it always, right?

Further answer: God wanted to show the limitless and infinitely deep humility He possesses.

Bear with me–the NEW realization:  What was it like for Jesus to plan to come to earth–?

“Son, I’m going to send you down there and you’ll have to be inside a human woman, then be born, and then be poor, then be misunderstood, then be doubted, then have no house, then be killed–then you can come back to your throne again”.  I think Jesus knew the WHOLE time that he had reigned forever before and would reign forever again, so no matter how hard things got, he was like, “this is temporary, and i’ll be back on my throne.”  It’s like when I go on trips and have to use sketchy transport or weird bathrooms (or NO bathrooms!) or get amoebas or am uncomfortable sleeping on floors with scorpions or something.  I shrug and remember “its like two months.  i’ll get to go home soon enough”.  i could sleep in a manger ( a really large manger) for a week if i knew it was for only a week or two tops, no problem.

I didnt want to make it sound like what Jesus went through wasn’t excruciatingly difficult or painful.  I am just saying that his future glory must have been one comfort.  So then i thought, “well, that is nice for him.”

WAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAIT

new thought.  i ALSO get to go to heaven in the next 100 years.  so no matter how hard it gets in ministry or work or life or health..it’s only for now!  we’re on a mission and then we get to back to heaven and live there forever!  it’s not just Jesus’ comfort, it’s ours!  So tidings of comfort and joy my friends.  I hope i got the point across.

p.s. i also met the personal assistant of an NFL team owner this weekend at a party.  i had 1000 questions for her.  i was so impressed by her driving him around and listening to him talk to celebrities.  I listened to someone tell me all about how she had listened to someone talk to a famous guy.  and i was INTRIGUED by this job.  My listening skills improved.  I asked her what it was like and who she has met and and and.  Why is it that i never ask Jesus questions the way i drilled her? I want to fall so much in love with getting to know him that every minute i hang on his words and am deeply moved and impressed.

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