Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Today is the day.

Brooke Fraser's new cd hit the American scene. I bought it during my Spanish class (...) and haven't stopped listening to it yet.

My favorites?

-Who are we fooling?
-Something in the water (the single)
-Crows & Locusts

This album is so good! I was talking to my friend Taylor about it earlier, and we both agree that it's so much more real, more honest, more raw. He used the word organic, if you will, and I must admit, it's appropriate. It sounds less produced than her previous albums. She's definitely evolved as an artist and is exploring more sounds, more styles, more ways to use her voice.

It's amazing.

Go buy it now!

Monday, September 20, 2010

We've Got Love On Our Side

Today is a lovely day.

This morning, I woke up early... 5:45ish. I went for a run. The air was so crisp and swirled around me as I jogged east down Samford Ave. It was still dark when I got started, but soon, I saw a large orange sun rising over the trees. I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise I've seen in a while. The clouds framed it just right. It was picturesque. I stopped in the cemetery to do some dryland exercises, and continued on my way. It was just so peaceful. I felt God.

I came home and sat out on our front porch to spend time with the Lover of my soul. I read in Isaiah, and he spoke a lot of truth into my life. I love this book. I was able to get a lot of good prayer time in, and made new notecards for the week, of verses and prayers.

Today is a lovely day.

Here's a song that's been frequenting my iPod speakers...

May my prayer like incense rise before You
I'm lifting up my hands as sacrifice
Oh Lord Jesus turn Your eyes upon me
For I know there is mercy in Your sight

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You

To all creation I can see a limit
But Your commands are boundless and have none
So Your Word is my joy and meditation
From the rising to the setting of the sun

All Your ways are loving and are faithful
The road is narrow but Your burden light
Because You gladly lean to lead the humble
I shall gladly kneel to leave my pride

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You

I will seek You in the morning
I will look to walk in Your ways
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

True Living = Serving

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." -Gandhi

Isn't this so true?

When do you feel most fulfilled? For me, it's when I've completely forgotten any self-interest and egotism and devoted myself fully to another.

Obviously, that means something. That God created us to be in service, to love Him and others WAY more than ourselves. Simple concept.

Oh, Lord, let my life reflect this simple statement.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where I Am Today

Oh, to grace, how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be.

Let Your goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to You.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.

Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it.

Seal it for your courts above.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quote of the Week

“These places of worship are not built that you may sit here comfortably, and hear something that shall make you pass away your Sundays with pleasure. A church in London which does not exist to do good in the slums, and dens, and kennels of the city, is a church that has no reason to justify its existing any longer. A church that does not exist to reclaim heathenism, to fight with evil, to destroy error, to put down falsehood, a church that does not exist to take the side of the poor, to denounce injustice and to hold up righteousness, is a church that has not the right to be. Not for thyself, O church, dost thou exist, any more than Christ existed for himself. His glory was that he laid aside His glory…To rescue souls from hell and lead to God, to hope, to heaven, this is the church’s heavenly occupation. O that the church would always feel this.”
-Charles Spurgeon

Friday, August 27, 2010

Little Bird

This morning, I woke up to the most beautiful song of a sweet little bird outside my window.

Usually, when I'm abruptly awoken, I'm not a happy camper. But this darling melody was so pleasant that it didn't bother me one bit.

I asked the bird if he would do this every morning, but he didn't understand English.

So I whistled at him, and he flew away. I thought it was a nice try.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Franciscan Blessing

"May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done."

Monday, August 9, 2010


You know those times where there's something you REALLY need to hear, and God knows it, and He's tired of beating around the bush about it? I had one of those times one Village Day at camp this summer. I was really worn down, a little discouraged, irritated by everything, and even though I'd perfected the art of faking it, I didn't have a good attitude of the heart.

At the lowest point of my day, Laura Paulk, my precious friend and co-worker, came around to all the counselors and without speaking a word, gave us each a sheet of paper with the following printed on it:


When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ

-that is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take all in patient loving silence

-that is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured it

-that is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any attitude, any interruption by the will of God

-that is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown

-that is dying to self.

When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances

-that is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart

-that is dying to self.

Author Unknown

And.. I just laughed, because God could not have been more obvious.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Now, I suppose, is an appropriate time

Summer 2010. Check.

I could upload pictures, I could search for eloquent words, I could write a novel.

Or, I could make a list.


(Bolivia [May 14-24])
-My Bolivian friends Ruber, Job Saúl, Wendy, Betsabet, Moises, Hernán, Wilfredo, Tomás, and Jonathan.
-The view from the top of the Andes Mountains.
-Being engulfed by kids every afternoon at the Clinic Registration desk... and putting stickers on all of their faces.
-Watching Brittany and Jordan in their element at VBS, loving on children exactly how they were made to.
-The smell of no showers for 10 days (actually... do I miss that?)
-The toothless smiles.
-Speaking Spanish ALL OF THE TIME.

(SIFAT [May 25-June 31])
-The Bunkhouse Porch and its unrivaled View of the Sun's Parting.
-Seeing the Milky Way and Shooting Stars on Hamp's blanket with my seven best friends.
-My Seven Best Friends (in no particular order, Hillary, Taylor, Hamp, Lauren, Leah, Bryan, and Carter).
-The Feel of Cool Creek Water on my ankles as I "forded it."
-Impromptu worship (through music) sessions.
-The Shield, our counselor Devotion Book.
-County Road 88! and all of my friends there.
-The Rush of Post-Dinner Global Village Prep on Tuesdays.
-Playing Baywatch every Thursday at Flat Rock.
-The Yellow Llamas: Sarah, William, Erin, Amanda, Cody, Michael, Brian, Will, Katelyn, Chris and Caleb.
-The Yellow Pumas: Jake, Annika, Luke, Parker, Haley, Alex, and Noah.
-The Yellow Jacket Jam Bombs: Adam, Janie, Haley, Marie, Porter, Brayden, Lauren, Shelby A, Shelby B, and Jack.
-The Yellow Fever: Forrest, Emily, Kirsten, Becca, Lou, Mason, and Maria.
-The Yellow Cobras: Danielle, Greg, Hannah, Kiana, Becky, Stephen, Amber, Sarah, and PICKLES.
-The Yellow Submarines: Madison, Taylor, Luke, Parker, Jackson, Mary Caitlyn, Victoria, and Andy.
-The mist over the fields in the Early Morning Time.
-My bunkbed.
-Seeing the way Hillary folded herself up during her sleep.
-The Floral and Polka Dot coffee mugs Lauren and I drank from each morning.
-Shaving legs at Old Aldea every Sunday with Carter & the Quintards.
-Dance parties to our favorite songs in the Caf and in the Quonset Hut.
-The incredible Food prepared by our one and only Miss Lola Mae Wright.
-John the Gardener and all of his beautiful gardens.
-Fresh veggies every Village Day.
-Mary the nurse and the squeaky laugh and her lisp.
-Laura the photographer/videographer and her fake cry/vom.
-Mountain Man Dave Corson and his immense knowledge of everything.
-Nate the Great, and sitting around listening to him play guitar.
-Raphael, my Nigerian brother, and his smile.
-Vicky and her mealworms.
-Flex Staff 4eva.
-Waking up bright and early every morning, not wasting the day.
-The walk to and from the Market on Village Day because it marked a pivotal point each week.
-The phone game.
-Enjoying blueberries right off the bush.
-The Aaron Carter dance.
-The regularity of my bowels - always after morning devo (tmi?).
-Mexico Lindo ¡y Que Rico!
-Praying with the counselors before we gave our talks.

Someone this summer described SIFAT as a "thin place," meaning that the distance between you and God is thinner there than other places. This is what I loved most, and will miss most. The simplicity. Life with fewer distractions. Life where you don't have to always be making time to encounter God. It's impossible to go a day, an hour, a minute, there without meeting Him. Back in "the real world" it's not the same.

Which leads me into the topic of my next post (for another day, soon): what God taught me that has changed me irreversibly.

(If you're reading this, I'm sorry. This is mostly for my own benefit. I don't want to forget anything about my summer. However, if you are, let this simply be a testament to God's faithfulness and provision. He is good, all of the time, and even when I was unfaithful, my faithlessness does not nullify the faithfulness of God, and He continued to move and to tie up my loose ends. He moved in the most incredible of ways the whole summer long. All praise and all honor and all glory be to Him.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Song of the Week

"C.S. Lewis Song"

If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I was not made for here.
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared.

Speak to me in the light of the dawn.
Mercy comes with the morning.
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me.

Am I lost or just less found? On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?
Is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?
'Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become.

Speak to me in the light of the dawn.
Mercy comes with the morning.
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me.

For we, we are not long here...
Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it.
And I, I was made to live, I was made to love, I was made to know you.
Hope is coming for me...
Hope, He's coming...

Speak to me in the light of the dawn.
Mercy comes with the morning.
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me...

Sunday, March 21, 2010



It's late. Past midnight. So I guess it's officially March 21, 2010 (Happy 1st Anniversary to Patrick and Lauren Smalley!!!).

But that's not why I'm writing. Sorry guys. I do love y'all.

No, what's really got me up is the fact that after more than 10 months of not being in Spain, my heart is aching painfully to be there.

I don't mean to sound depressed. I'm not at all. I know I'm in Auburn for a reason, and the Lord has blessed me with so many things here. I do love it.

It's just that, I don't know, I felt so at home in Spain. With my host family, with my awesome Spanish friends, in my Spanish church, living in the gorgeous city that is Valencia. I probably think and dream as much in Spanish as I do in English these days.

I do try not to think about it, but I can't seem to go a single day without my thoughts wandering to that place and those people.

Why do I long for it like this?

I wish I had an answer to that question. One key to contentment is to never picture yourself in any other circumstances than those in which you presently find yourself. Isn't that exactly what I'm NOT doing when I desire Spain?

I won't deny, part of it has to do with the stark contrast between my life free of responsibility in Spain to that of rigorous schedule and demands here in Auburn. Yeah, there's something appealing about that.

But my ultimate conclusion is that I'm a Spaniard at heart :)

And tonight, I'm really struggling with being here and not there.

Monday, March 1, 2010



I'm still in the freaking-out stage, but I just found out about an hour ago that I've been offered a counselor position for this summer at SIFAT! That OF COURSE I'm going to accept!

I applied last month, and have been anxiously awaiting this news ever since. There are 4 girl and 4 guy counselors, out of a whole lot of applicants, and I feel SO blessed, beyond any words I could muster, to have been appointed by the Lord to this high calling!

SIFAT, Servants In Faith And Technology, is a missions organization that, throughout the year, hosts leaders from third-world nations and teaches them how to use different technologies to effectively alleviate some of the greatest problems they face - lack of clean water, food, efficient power sources, etc. They are committed to sharing God's love in practical ways.

During the summers, they host youth groups, at their campus in Lineville, AL, and teach practical ways to serve where the Lord has called us to - in our everyday lives.

I fell in love with SIFAT when our college ministry took a retreat there in January. Their heart is SO outwardly focused. They are 100% obsessed with God and his glory and self-forgetfulness! It's the best and I cannot WAIT to spend my summer with them!

I'll be posting more about SIFAT, I'm sure, as I walk through the coming preparation stages.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love Day

God knew everything about us, all our sins and dirtiness and failures included, before we even existed. And He still chose to create us.

That is love.

He called my name before the foundations of the Earth, for nothing that I've done, but because He is good and always seeks His glory.

That is love.

He calls us to follow Him, to find our identity in Him, because our lives divorced from Him are worthless and ineffective.

That is love.

He has a plan for our lives, that works for our good.

That is love.

He promises to never leave us or forsake us, and there is never a time where we have to do anything on our own.

That is love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut or have a swelled head.
It doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always, "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
But takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.
It puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
And never looks back but keeps going to the end.

We have all sinned and fallen short of God, but He demonstrates His love for us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That is the ultimate act of Love. He became sin who knew no sin that we might become His righteousness.

Hallelujah, Perfect Love!

And what has He called us to do?

Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul, and all of our strength.


Love our neighbors as ourselves.

Today is a great day to recognize Love.

Now let's spend the rest of our lives actively pursuing it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Vision

Here's a poem by Peter Greig.

So this guy comes up to me and says:
“What’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open my mouth and words come out like this:
The vision?
The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army.
And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won.

They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision?

The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to loose,
that they might one day win
the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Winners. Martyrs.
Who can stop them?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them?

And the generation prays

like a dying man
with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and
with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive


On the outside? They hardly care.
They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives – swap seats with the man on death row – guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,
they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.

Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdo's! Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.
They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.
Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be.
It will come to pass;
it will come easily;
it will come soon.

How do I know?

Because this is the longing of creation itself,
the groaning of the Spirit,
the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is his today.
My distant hope is his 3D.
And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great 'Amen!' from countless angels, from heroes of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jimmy Needham, I need him! :)

Going back to my roots, here's a musical artist you may or may not have heard. Jimmy Needham.

My precious friend Jordan Lee and I were studying together Wednesday night at AK's Coffee, which, for those of you who don't know, is a Christian owned coffee shop. A lot of the music they play is by Christian artists. So we sit down to study but are immediately distracted by this amazing man singing to us about God's love being a hurricane. Like the dedicated students we are, we instantly begin searching the web to identify our mystery musician. We kept trying to liken him to other artists with whom we're all familiar - a little bit of Shane&Shane, some Shawn McDonald, a splash of Brandon Heath, and even some Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne. You can see he's already shaping up to be quite the talent.

Finally, we figure it out. Jimmy Needham. The CD that was playing was his third album, Not Without Love. There is one captivating spoken song on there, the title song, that tells of the freedom we find only in God's love. We both bought the CD right away, and since then, I've been listening to the pure truths God speaks through Jimmy.

Really, you should go check him out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

God's promises

In preparing for d-group this past week, I came across a chapter of the Bible that I know I've read before, but the Lord brought to light a whole new meaning in his words. May I share with you what he's teaching me?

The girls have requested topical lessons. The first week was trust. To be honest, I did the typical Leigh thing and waited until Monday night to really work on the lesson for Tuesday night. I prayed for God to move despite my procrastination. He is so faithful.

I worked from Psalm 91. The Bible I usually use is in the English Standard Version, but I'm going to quote my New King James Version for this.

Bear with me. It's only 16 verses.

1. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
2. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
3. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
4. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6. Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
8. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.
9. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11. For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
12. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14. "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
16. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation."

I don't know about you, but there are a few verses that jump out to me. First of all, in verse one it talks about dwelling in the Lord. To me, when I think about dwelling in something, naturally my mind goes to a sort of shelter (like in v. 2)... but if you think about the word dwell in a different sense, another meaning is emphasized. Dwell also means to think, speak, or write at length about, or to linger on. Not only should we make the Lord our refuge, but he should captivate our thoughts. He alone is worthy of our idle thoughts and every motivation of the mind.

In verses 5 and 6, David talks about the terror of the night and the pestilence that walks in darkness, the arrow that flies by day and the destruction at noonday. All of which we DON'T fear because we trust God. But what are each of those things? Those cloaked by night are like the uncertainties, that which we can't see, future plans, etc. Those in daylight are other afflictions we might bear, such as enemies, personal temptations, etc. But again - none of these things merit our worry or fear because God will deliver us, and His truth is our shield! Hallelujah!

Can you just look back to verse 11? He gives the angels charge over us, or as the ESV states, he commands his angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways. HOLY COW! Not only do we have the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords protecting us, but the angels have been commanded to guard us, too! We really do have guardian angels!

Finally, verses 14 through 16. Eight beautiful, eternal, enduring promises of God. Rest in these. Rest in these truths.

1. He WILL deliver us.
2. He WILL protect us.
3. He WILL answer us.
4. He WILL be with us in trouble.
5. He WILL rescue us.
6. He WILL honor us.
7. He WILL satisfy us.
8. He WILL show us salvation.

Now, these are from the ESV translation, but God's word is the same. God is so eager to bless us. He wants to reward us and fulfill his promises to us! He is a loving God, and when we realize that we will never be satisfied unless He is most and we are least, the blessings abound! And no matter what version you read, you should note that it NEVER says, he might deliver us, if he feels like it or if his week has been alright or if he draws our names out of a hat. It says that he WILL. These are his promises, to him who has set his love upon the Lord.

May the power of the divinely spoken Word wash over you today, and may you find peace in his promises for you!