Monday, December 13, 2010

Depraved Indifference

(Go to sidebar of my blog and turn off music.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Orchestra Living

Our lives are like one giant orchestra. We each have so many different gifts, talents, roles, responsibilities, and seasons of life. We have so many facets of life that are wrapped up within you and me.

You and I are orchestras. The conductor of this orchestra is God, whether we choose to acknowledge this fact or not.

Have you ever heard an orchestra tuning their instruments before a big show? It can be pretty, but it basically hurts your ears at the same time. It's a beautiful mess of sounds all jumbled up and out of order. However, as soon as the conductor lifts His hands to direct the song he knows so well, all goes quiet. Each instrument and its steward recognize the role of the conductor and they wait for His direction.

There is a peace in knowing that there is someone in charge who knows what he is doing. Someone who knows the music and will lead you where you need to go.

 Waiting for the direction of the conductor is key to the beauty of the song. If even one little section gets impatient and jumps the gun, it kind of smudges the whole effect and distracts from the beauty of the plan for those who wait.

When each musician  in the orchestra surrenders their will to be in charge and decides to follow the lead of the one in front who holds the master plan, that's when the true beauty begins to manifest itself and begins to fill the air.

 When each instrument is in accordance with the plan of the Conductor, and is content to trust His all knowing hands, everything is in order to bring forth the beauty that glorifies the writer of the song.

Its SO easy to compartmentalize our lives into areas we feel matter to God, and areas we feel do not really matter so much at all. i.e. what we say with friends from school and what we say with friends from church. How we treat our friends and how we treat our family.

Separating our lives into categories like this is like letting only half of our orchestra participate in the song He has for us. It is so not how He designed the music, nor intended it to be played.

It is not always easy to surrender the will of that little flute that I feel already plays my song so well. Or the violin that matches its song with my whining spirit that would rather have things go my way. Or the drum that plays my own beat so comfortably and easily. But if they do not give up their comfortable ways and conform to the way of the Conductor, then there will be a noticeable difference between the song of the Conductor and the song of mine.

His song will be beautiful always, but the sound of my little beating drum and my little whining violin will taint the song of His and will not give it the glory that is due. My song cannot thwart the song of His; His will go on. However, I can taint others view of His ability to conduct music well. I could be a poor representation of who He is and the beauty of His plan if I choose to ignore the tempo and the key changes and the sharps and flats.
That would be the worst realization of all. To know that because of how I ignored His instructions, His beauty was not allowed to be portrayed in that area of the orchestra.

We are all given a life to live. A symphony to play. A choice of how we are going to choose to play it. Who are you playing your symphony for?

I am choosing to trust that even in the midst of the difficult parts of this song He has given me to play, the parts where I don't know if they will just end in dismal, melancholy keys, I choose to trust that He knows where it will end. He has promised that it will end in hope and life.

 I am choosing to trust Him in the easy parts where all is sunshine and roses, because He has promised that It gets hard. And I am choosing to trust Him in all  of the crazy parts in between. I choose to trust Him to direct each part of my life and to work it all together for His glory. I know that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Who can help but play His song with joy when we realize the goodness of the Lord?

May He grant us all the grace to trust His ever loving hands to lead us through the dark shadow filled valleys, to those green pastures and quiet waters where He restores our souls.

And I know this Conductor is not half as cool as Jesus, but I love this song. It makes me want to close my eyes and dance all around my house.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankfulness of 2010

I am SOsoSOsoSO blessed.

Beyond Measure. All the measuring cups in the world can't contain the blessings that God has poured out on me in the past year, let alone in my lifetime thus far. These blessings aren't always glittery and exciting from the start. However, not all that is gold glitters. I have seen the most grungy of circumstances turn out to be the most lovely times of trusting God's plan to bring beauty up from ashes. He is truly worthy of our trust. I am learning to live with faith in the one who sees all that I cannot. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things that I cannot see with my eyes.

I have seen God perform miracles the way He did for Moses and Daniel and the Old Testament men of Faith and All Things Good. And I'm not even cool like them. I am the chief of sinners, the lamest of the lame, the weakest of the weak, the fearing-est of the fearful. Yet God has allowed me to see Him move so mightily. I am so undeserving...but I am so thankful.

  I am so undeserving of the family that God has given me. He put quite a bit of effort into bringing my family together. He had to find us all in remote corners of the earth- and boy am I glad He did. I sometimes feel bad that He put so many extremely wonderful people in my family though. Sometimes I feel like some of them should be less cool, just to be fair to the rest of the world's families. Oh well. Sorry yall.

I am so thankful for God increasing my faith in Him and deepening my relationship with Him this year. I have seen Him working and moving in ways I never saw Him move before.

I am so thankful for my new brother, Solomon! He's the greatest.

I am so thankful for Taekwondo. I'm so thankful for the wonderful friends I've made and the helpful things I've learned. :)

I am SO beyond thankful that God took me to Uganda this year..and with my brother Jonathan! It was an incredible journey and being able to experience it with my big brother was such a blessing that I will always treasure.

I'm thankful that my family has clean water and a mosquito free house to sleep in at night.
But I don't want to just sit and be thankful that My family doesn't have to worry about those things. I pray that God uses me to help bring these worries to an end for the beautiful families of Uganda.

God has surrounded me with the most amazing circle of friends who love me so well and hold me to a very high standard.

I am thankful for all of the opportunities that God has given me to speak up on behalf of orphans this year. Three years ago this past week, I was crying on an airplane out of Ethiopia, begging God to use me to help all of the children that were not able to come home with my parents and I. Nati and Meron and Selam. Haileyesus and Habtamu and Solomon.
 He has answered my prayers by allowing me to speak up for them and I hope that He continues to do so.

I am thankful for Our Ethiopian Littles who have been home for THREE YEARS! They are such treasures and I can't imagine life without them!

I'm thankful that God is speaking still and is not silent and impersonal. I am thankful that the Bible is His inerrant word. I'm thankful that the Gospel is true.

I'm thankful for the classes I've been able to take at Southeastern this year. I have benefitted so much from them.

I am extremely thankful that even though I don't know what next year holds for me, God knows it all and holds it all in His hands. He has a perfect plan. He has orchestrated my past, my present, is is orchestrating my future as well.
My hope is that I never lack in trust and faith in Him, and that I would allow Him to conduct every part of my life. I want to live a symphony of praise to my King...Jesus.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mary {Nalongo}

I don't even know where to begin telling you about this incredible woman. She was one of the most vibrant, joyful, caring, loving, people I have ever met. I only knew her for two short weeks, but I grew to love her and respect her deeply. People who knew her called her Nalongo- "Mother of Twins".

She went to seminary in Uganda to be able to better teach those around her about the good news of Jesus. She wanted to be a missionary to her people- and she was. She LOVED Jesus. She served faithfully, she visited those in need, she shared the Gospel almost constantly. She played the African drums quite nicely. Almost every time I saw her she was dancing and singing. She laughed so sweetly and would bend over to slap her knees when something was especially funny. She was a beautiful, beautiful woman. She could chop up a tree better than any woman {or man} I've ever met. She was such a strong, hard worker.

 I am so thankful for the words she spoke to me about Jesus that day as she held my hand and walked  down that orange dirt road on the other side of the world. She called me "'Ow-ah'{our}Smallest Missionary". A title I didn't feel worthy of, but it blessed my heart.

I was looking forward to seeing her again one day when I return to Uganda.

She went to her true home yesterday to be with Jesus. This side of the veil, we are so sad. But I know that she is rejoicing and has been made whole. The Gospel is so true. Heaven is so real. God is so good. We are so very redeemed and we have such a beautiful inheritance. We have such a hope in Christ. We have been redeemed and adopted into God's family. We are heirs with Christ.

I can't wait to see her in heaven, dancing and singing, walking down streets of gold- no longer just talking about Jesus together...but seeing Him face to face. She is truly alive and I will see her again.

We have this hope as an anchor for our souls.

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Romans 6:5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

{Photo cred: Hayley Catt}

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kung Fu Fighting

Sometimes, we put jackets on multiple people and then make music videos. Please enjoy Josiah's facial expressions as much as I did.{Go to sidebar playlist and hit pause for full effect.}


Josiah's Face.

Ellie's Hands.

James as back-up dancer/ninja?

Glimpses of Jeremiah as photographer.

Life Lately...

Hey Friends and Families.

How are you?

I hope you are doing marvelously well and are getting excited for Christmas! I'm just kidding. It's not really time for that yet, but I'm excited all the same. (I have been listening to Christmas music quite a bit already... but don't tell anyone.)

Mom, The Twinnettes, and I ventured out to Franklin, TN this week for my interview at Show Hope and we turned it into a girls-weekend-in-the-middle-of-the-week. It was glorious.
Here's a few pictures from my phone...Sorry about the lighting being weird in basically everysingleoneofthem.

It was so Autumn-y! Breathtaking views for 10 hours in the car made it seem soo much shorter. {mostly.}

This is me and Kez the Goober at Carabbas where our waiter happened to be the husband of a woman I met in China. Its crazy when you find out you know your waiter's wife because you met her on the other side of the world one time.

We're home for a few days and then we're off to Hershey, PA for the Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit!
Mom is keynote speaker Friday night and I have a breakout session on Saturday. {Pray for me. Haha.}

You should all come! Its going to be amazing! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Facts of the Day:

1. Nothing is predictable in this life. Nothing.

2. I know the one who plans my future and He is trustworthy.

3. God opens doors that I didn't know were there.

4. God knew the details all along. The Ever-Changing details are in the hands of a Never-Changing God.

5. He knows the next thing that I won't predict as well.

6. Life is so much more than the words I speak and you, he, she, it, speaks.

7. Hard is ok. Impossible is non-existent.

8. God knows. He knows it all. Everything is His. And He is good.

9. Life's not about me... No its not. Its not. Its not. Its not. Too bad I forget all the time.

10. I have time to use wisely. and I don't have time to use it foolishly.

11. If my "normal" is never my "normal" again, I can trust God to be faithful in the new "normal" that He brings, the same way He is faithful now.

12 Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...( most frequently used sound in my vocabulary.)

Psalm 90:1,12,16-17
1Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

2Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
12So teach us to number our days,

That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
16Let Your work appear to Your servants

And Your majesty to their children.
17Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Monday, October 11, 2010

i am severely comfortable. for three more months.


I live in the cutest town in the world with the best family in the world. The food is good, the friends are the very greatest, the neighborhood is perfect (except for the one house of drug dealing neighbors...ehh.) Southeastern is the best school, I have the best Taekwondo School, the best Church, the best Goodberry's ice cream, the best Chickfila. The cute ladies at the bank know my name and ask me about my life. No matter where I go, I see friends or meet someone who knows at least someone in my family. It is so unbelievably homey here. I am well loved, well fed, and well clothed.

If you want to go anywhere or do anything (providing its a small town type of thing...), it is five minutes from my house. You wanna go to the coolest old farm-turned-into-a-park? Turn left. You wanna go eat Chinese food? Turn right. Wanna go to the library? Go straight. Wanna go to the best thrift store ever? Turn left. Wanna go to the farmer's market or hear a little Irish man sing songs? Go straight on Saturday. {Just don't go too late or the Irish man will be replaced by the belly dancers...which are just plain creepy.}


I love this place. I always knew I'd be leaving someday to be a missionary in a far off land or something along those lines. I just expected 'someday' to be somewhere around five years from now. Not three months from now. I always expected to leave my family and friends and comforts at some point, but I didn't expect it to be so soon, or this bittersweet.

Who the heck would ever want to leave this place?

Who in their right mind would leave, when they could stay?

It is so comfortable. It is so warm and fuzzy. Sure there are problems, and things that get annoying, and there are rude people (probably only 3.) But in the grand scheme of things, this is a goodgoodgood place to live life.

                                                           Why the heck am I leaving?

Why the heck am I leaving my family, and my friends, and my poodle, and my bed, and my cute little town?

 When I was in Uganda and had just heard about this internship, I was praying for God to show me His will on whether or not I should even consider going. Whether or not I should consider leaving everything so much sooner than I had planned to leave it. My family that I love so much. My friends.You know, especially since I was gonna go off and be a missionary after school and all. Anyways, here is what I looked down to see on the page of my Bible:

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." -Matthew 10:36-39


Oh hey, Ellie. Guess what? Lame excuses.
Christ didn't give me life, and then save my life, to have me do that which I deem worthy. I live for a greater purpose than comfort. I live so that others may know Christ and live as well.

This whole thing sounds pretty foolish if it was merely my idea to pick up and move to another state in my senior year of highschool. However, I know that this wasn't my idea. I know that the God who holds my life in His hands has a goodgoodgood plan for me, and my family, and my friends. And if that plan involves me leaving, then that has to be good.

I've been around a bit , but I've always come back home after a few weeks. It just hit me a few days ago that a year is a long time. Especially when you thought you knew what you would be doing, and all of a sudden, there is this massive thing on the radar thats going to take up a year of your life. Even though it is an amazing thing, it is still going to be a hard thing.

There is a quote that keeps coming to my mind when I start to count up the cost of following Jesus in this next year of life though...

 "He is no fool that gives that which He cannot keep, to attain that which He cannot lose."- Jim Elliot

This is not my forever home. I am not alive so that I can be comfortable. I am alive to bring glory to my creator. I am alive to love Him and to share the good news of His son with the world.

I am excited to be transplanted. I know that God is going to show Himself to be my El Shaddai - all sufficient one - more and more with each day. This is the part where Jesus gets to be my very best friend. This is the part where I get to see Him holding my hand and walking me through the good, the bad, and the ugly parts.

I'm choosing to trust. I'm choosing to obey. I'm trading in fear and worries and comfort and norms and all that crap stuff for the all surpassing peace and joy that comes from knowing that the God of the Universe loves me and has a GOOD plan.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.

I'm gonna miss a whole lot of this...

...But I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard all that I have entrusted to Him.

                                              So...bring it Tennessee. I've got Jesus and Skype.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

fall break, fall pictures, mmm mmm good.

Fall Break = Work Productivity

I LOVE fall break. I have gotten so many things done this week, it's not even funny. I think we should have fall break all year long.

On Monday, I repainted/redecorated my bathroom/broke the toilet with the cord from my lamp. {lame? yes.}

On Tuesday, I sewed cool things, and then sparred with people, and then we got the toilet replaced.

And today, I decorated our house for fall, finished the bathroom decorating, and wrote a song on my lovely ol' piano.

And I still have three more days of fall break...yesss. I need to make another list of things to do.

Here are a few shots from our family photoshoot! If you have jealousy issues, you may not want to look at these pictures of my cute family.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Family Photo 2010 Preview.

I have a feeling these will not make it on the Christmas card.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Beach and More.

Have you ever walked into your room after being gone all day and inwardly screamed...

Only to realize that {sadly...oh-so-sadly,} you were the one that vandalized your room and threw clothes on every available inch of everywhere?
Me niether. Psh.
~~~~ On another note, my handy blog has just notified me that over 1,000 people have viewed my blog in the past few weeks... And about 3 of them have left comments. I love people, especially those who show their faces on my blog. Please be a man {or lady} and comment once in a while. I promise not to bite you or stalk you. Unless you have a really cool blog-then I might stalk you.
My Family spent the last few days at the beach and it was GLORIOUS! It was like the summer's last hoorah. {Except--it's still 90 degrees here which is pretty lame. It might be just me, but I feel like the first day of fall ought to include a breeze or two. My only consolation is the fact that all of my classrooms are kept at thirty-two degrees below zero. You could simultaneously house penguins and hang meat in them.} These past few days were so much fun and such a blessing! I just love my family.
It was Solomon's first time seeing the ocean and he LOVED it.
This kid's curly hair collects seashells for him.
No fish were caught- but they caught 6 crabs!
And I will leave you a video to explain these great pictures. {There was grass growing on top of this sand which was quite deceiving. Turns out- it was really sand under there.}

Today I am thankful for the African man who works at Walmart late at night.

He sings African songs at the top of his lungs while he stacks things on shelves. It makes Walmart feel more like a lovely village home and less like the shady place that it really is.
I wonder what his story is, and why he loves to sing, and what the words mean that he sings so joyfully. I wonder if he grew up in a village, singing songs while gardening; the same way that I have seen so many Ugandan children do.
I want to be like him and sing about even the mundane, monotonous things. In doing so, those things will no longer be mundane and monotonous ...
and they might even suddenly turn into an African dance party.
I hope he never stops singing his songs.
{I also hope they move him to the day shift and give him a microphone.}
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless
and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day
of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Philippians 2:14-16

Baby Ninjas are my Favorite...

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Monday, September 13, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new.

My whole life I've hated crying. Probably because I had an older brother that I had to seem cool to all the time, and crying isn't something you do when trying to appear cool. Every kid knows that. Hello.
Crying is something vulnerable people do. Something that the not-tough people of this world do. You know...the wimps.
Up until a few years ago, I was able to control tears and somehow swallow them back into my eyeballs. {Or pretend I had allergies, or even pretend like I was just missing our old dog. Because it's alright to cry about a dog. Just not anything else.}
Something has changed in my heart though. You see, Jesus came in with a giant wrecking ball, knocking over my tower of pride that I have been building since the day i was born. He has laid me low and built me back up, starting from the very foundation. He has rescued me from myself and has gloriously ruined "my" life. He has shown me who I was, and who He is. And the best part, who I am now IN Him.
Ezekiel 36:26 says this: "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Isn't that marvelous? He makes us all the way new. He doesn't just give face-lifts and nose jobs. He gives heart transplants.
Jesus has taken my dry bones and breathed life into them. He has taken away my old, rock-hard heart and replaced it with one that can feel compassion. He has raised this life of mine up from the dead. He has shown me things about how to love and how to live. He is still showing me things, and will always be showing me things because I will never completely get it in this lifetime.
One of the best side effects of this heart transplant that I have undergone is... this new heart has made me a crying fool.
I have grown to love crying. I love it because it is so contrary to how I was before Jesus saved me. It is so uncomfortable and so ugly and so not cool that I love crying. I love basking in my vulnerability and wimpiness. I love basking in the invulnerability and strength of Christ. I love crying without fear of the thoughts of brothers, or friends, or random neighbors. { Let's just set this straight now as well...I am not one of those cute cryers. I'm the kind of cryer that people are like "Wow Ellie. You've been crying. When did you become Asian? Do you even have eyes?" }
I cry when I see sweet mothers with their babies. I cry when I see babies with no mothers. I cry over hearing stories of God moving in foreign lands and in my own backyard. I cry over my family picture. I cry over my siblings lost families. I cry over those who have believed and been saved by Jesus. I cry over those who have not yet believed. I cry over who Jesus is and how great He is. I cry when I think about all that He has done for me. Ellie = a crying fool.
This new heart of mine is something to rejoice over. Each day, it breaks a little more for that which breaks God's heart. And each day, it beats a little more for the things that God's heart beats for. I had nothing to do with obtaining this heart. It's only because of grace that I have been made new. {Lord knows, grace is all that could have done it. } And the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of God's tremendous glory and grace.
Cool and composed and dignified have kost their pedestal in my life. If those things don't allow for tears, then good-bye dignity. I don't even know if we ever really were friends anyway. Good-bye cool. You're definition is always changing and you're too difficult to keep up with. Good-bye composed. {composed? heh?}
The Lord is such an amazing redeemer. If you have not allowed Him to come in and take over your heart and life, do it now. There is so much grace, and freedom, and'll be a crying fool too.
"I'm Mary Magdalene and tonight is a bottle of perfume There's not enough dignity to hold me now When I know You're going to meet me here There's not enough gravity To keep me away from You
Cause I'm breaking down I don't even care if there's anyone else around Cause I'm breaking down I always fall to pieces whenever You're around"
( )

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

{Cinturon Verde}

Today, I became a green belt. You see, Jesus is cool and works out weird details for me all the time and I SO do not deserve it.
My family had planned our beach vacation for last weekend but a hurricane named Earl came along and kinda wiped out our plans.
Josiah turns 6 YEARS OLD (!!) on Friday which is kind of why we're going to the beach... but we were supposed to go last week... because this Friday I was supposed to test for this lovely green belt. And If I didn't test this month, I wouldn't be able to test in December.... and then I'd be behind when I leave for Tennessee in January... and then when I come home, I won't be as close to getting my black belt. You see the problems? Yea.
But...GUESS WHAT?! Master Jamie is the sweetest person in the whole world. I went to pre-testing tonight (a practice test on everything you're supposed to know to promote...they tell you if you are ready to move up or not and give you pointers etc. No new belts or cool things.) thinking that I would just get ready for testing in October and still be a green belt when I leave for TN. Master Jamie then informs me that I can do a private testing with the Masters when I get home from the beach. SUPER exciting! (yet, slightly terrifying.)
However, it didn't come to that. Three hours of pre-testing later, I go to see if I passed. She asks me to recite some Bible verses and then.....she hands me my green belt.
Master Jamie, if you even know I have a blog and if you are reading this, I am extremely grateful.