Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grappling with God

I'm a slow learner when it comes to the lessons that God tries to teach me. I struggle and fight against Him. This last year (or three or four years) has been a time of defining what I believe about God, love, and life. And I feel like in all of it, I've resisted what God is trying to teach me. I'm a fighter, and sometimes I pick stupid causes to fight for. I choose to be stubborn about the most ridiculous things. So I've been standing my ground fighting for a cause I don't even know I believe in. I just know that I'm not ready to surrender, and that I'm aching to go another round with God - fully knowing that I'll lose the fight at the first punch.

Do you want to know what I've been so stubborn about? I don't understand God. I can't put Him in my box. I can't understand everything in the Bible and how it all fits together. I can't match up what I think God should be and what the Bible implies that he is. Does God really give everyone a chance to believe? And those who have never heard about Jesus Christ - what about them? Are they lost because they were never given a chance? How could a loving God allow that to happen? And if He doesn't allow that to happen, and the world can know God simply by looking at His creation, do other religions have validity if they are based on simply seeing that a God exists by the work of His hands and believing in something higher than themselves? And then if you follow that assumption, you are entering a realm that goes against everything that I've been taught. Since Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life," then has he condemned everyone who has never heard about Jesus? Or has He created another way? And if so, what does that mean? And if not, then have I chosen to believe in a God who could so easily toss the lives of the people he created into eternal pain and suffering?

This issue is plaguing me... eating at me. I'm mad and frustrated with my lack of understanding, with God, with life, with everything. I've drawn back from God these last few months in an attempt to try and grapple with all of this. And yet, it has only left me feeling empty and more frustrated. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind." I feel like I can do the heart and soul, but my mind is so freakishly stubborn and refuses to allow God to reveal Himself to me in His own way. I feel like I need to understand and explain it, if I'm going to believe it. How can I really advocate for a belief if I don't really know what it is I believe? The answer is I can't. And because of that I've drawn into myself and lost that driving Reason in my life - my relationship with Christ. How can I share His love for the world, when I don't even know what it is I believe about Him.

Here's what I know - I know that God exists. I know that I have a relationship with Him. I know that He loves me. I believe that God is good. I believe that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross as a way to redeem us from sin and to establish a relationship with us through Jesus who rose from the dead and overcame sin and it's inevitable effect, death. These things I know and/or choose to believe.

I suppose the things I am grappling with don't matter as much as the things I know. And yet, I feel like they're pivotal. I feel that understanding them defines my faith and whether the God I believe in is who I thought He was. And if He isn't the God I thought I knew, then who is He? Is He good? Or is he so righteous, that in His righteousness He would condemn those who never had a chance to hear about their own salvation? Does God play favorites by choosing some and not others? The Israelites are an example of God choosing a people above all others - what does that say to the rejects? What does that say now to those who have never heard of Jesus Christ? Are they simply the rejected modern day gentiles? Does God love them less?

I suppose I want answers to my questions. Although, I think I want a fight with God and I want to get knocked on my face. It's funny admitting it, but I suppose it's true. I want to know God cares - about me and about the world.

I hope I get knocked on my face - and I hope it shatters my world. I hope that it opens my heart to believing with faith and understanding. I hope it helps me understand God's love for the world and for me better.

I think I'm in for a pretty hard lesson, but then sometimes, we all need a little kick in the pants.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On Siku and Snow

You may have been wondering - "what in the world have elisha and andy been doing lately?" and "why do they never blog about their lives anymore?" Fortunately for all of my lovely blogging friends, I can answer both questions and set your minds at ease.

First, I'll answer the second question - we are simply the kind of people who, if given any down time at all, fill it up with lots of other busy stuff. Secondly, I've had a bit of blogger's block, and can't think of anything to write that would remotely interest anyone, except for perhaps our dog's feces located in the front yard.

In order to appease my lovely friends who have been wondering what we've been up to, I'll happily elaborate now.

First off, we've adopted Siku (which means Ice in Innuit), a very obedient and adorable little Siberian Husky. See photos to verify cuteness.

It was a little challenging dealing with potty training, but he figured it out quickly enough, and we finally have a puppy who knows to do his business outside. As proud parents of our little guy, we decided to introduce him to the world. First off, as avid snowboarders, he discovered snow. He loved it. And then he got cold, and decided he was very done with the snow. After introducing Siku to snow, we decided that he should meet other dogs. We then forged the unbreakable friendship between him and my sister and brother-in-law's dog, Sara. They love eachother and we love that they keep eachother entertained. They tackle and bite for hours and we sit and enjoy that we don't have to follow Siku around ensuring that he doesn't chew the house to pieces. We've also introduced him to the park, our friend Becca's puppies - Chloe and Ripley, our cat Rimsky (whom he also loves and likes to tackle), and baths (which he thinks were sent straight from The Pit to torture him).

Secondly, we've been loving and hating the snow. Loving = on the mountain. Hating = in Portland.

See photos of loving snow.

See photo of hating snow.

Due to the snow, Andy's work allowed the homeless patrons to stay the night for two weeks. And we, along with other fortunate individuals, got to sleep on linoleum floors while supervising the night-time activities. We hope it doesn't snow again for a while.

In other news, we've been doing a lot of photography work and keeping pretty busy. Our New Years' Eve wedding was lots of fun and our couples this year have been fabulous to work with. However, after much discussion about what we want from our life, we've decided that we will no longer be doing photography as a profession after this coming summer. We want to enjoy photography and we want to have our lives back, and therefore, we decided that continuing with the wedding photography business is not the direction that we want to go with our future. I must say that doing photography as a business has given me renewed admiration for everyone who is doing photography as a full time job. The financial rewards are small, the work is hard and time consuming, and the demands on your time are unending. Therefore, I send kudos and applause to all professional wedding and portrait photographers.

I'll leave ya'll hanging there and post more about our life later. For now, photo editing beckons once again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I'm officially addicted to Stumble!. This proves the awesomeness of Macs. :)


I just discovered Stumble Upon, which is seriously rocking my socks off! The last post was something I found while "stumbling" and then when I came across this, I had to post it as well. I just found this somewhat amusing:

Girls = Evil

I know the following demeans my myself and all of my fellow sex, but seriously, how funny is this?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I really only use the term "New Years Resolution" to put a name to the many resolutions I make throughout the year. For the past few months, I've been planning on blogging and writing more, but life's craziness hasn't allowed me much free time for it. So my "new year's resolution" is to write more which includes more blogging. I'm hoping to look back at this year and have lots of virtual pages of words. So one will hopefully find Elisha's (and Andy's!) word vomit located here throughout the year.

Right now I'm curled up in Andy's office down at the service center working on grant writing (well, I was working on grant writing, now I'm lazily blogging). We're listening to new music that we've borrowed from Dan (my music savvy cousin-in-law), specifically at this moment, John Legend. I admit, music transports me to a whole different world. Right now I'm imagining sitting on park bench cuddling with Andy watching the busy world go about its busyness while I'm content and warm, cuddled close to the love of my life. I am, of course, actually sitting in a 30 year old chair in an office whose chartruse walls are pocked and marked and pinned with bright yellow and teal fliers. I don't have a real desk, so the fiber board nailed to the mismatched rickety pieces of wood is sufficing as a typing surface. After about ten minutes of letting the laptop shift and sway as I typed, I decided to move it to my lap. So now I'm sitting Indian style in my cozy 30 year old office chair that 90 percent of the homeless community wouldn't want even if I offered to pay them to take it.

Onto more interesting subjects that don't involve seat cushions. I went dancing this weekend and it was amazing! Mandi came in from Corvallis and we went out to the Sunnyside Grange and did west coast swing until 11PM. Aferward, we decided that we weren't done dancing and decided to meet up with some friends at the Scottish Rite Center for the Portland Fusion Exchange. Pretty much the fusion exchange is the most amazing dancing I've had in years! Everyone mixed west coast swing, blues, lindy hop, and tango together into this fusion of wonder and awesomeness. I have felt like my dancing has been really stale and stiff lately and I haven't really been enjoying going out dancing much, and then going out and relaxing and having fun just added the spark that has been missing from my dancing. I am so excited to go out and do more west coast dancing with the new perspective that I've gained from just loosening up and having fun this weekend.

Have I mentioned that I love Mandi? Seriously, she is one of the most fabulous people in my acquaintance. We spent the whole weekend being girly (translated from Elisha = going shopping and giggling a lot). I love how relaxed I can be with Mandi. I rarely let down the weird walls I build all around myself, but Mandi is the kind of friend who I can immediately just relax with. I stop thinking about the things I should say, shouldn't say, can say, can't say, and I just am. Which is kind of what happened with dancing this weekend - I stopped thinking about the things I should do, shouldn't do, can do, can't do, and I just danced. Perhaps I'm learning something about just being myself and being okay with it.

AND I mad a quilt!!! How cool is that?! I'm officially a quilter. And I'm addicted. On Friday, I hung out with my lovely friend Becca from Bridal Exclusives and we spent the day quilting. She helped me pick out some awesome fabrics and then taught me how to put it all together. I just finished the quilt on Monday and I'm so proud of it. It's basic and simple, but it's the first time I've used a sewing machine and I'm pretty excited about the results. We're going out today to pick out fabric for our next quilting project. I'm determined to rock this quilting thing. So if you all get quilts for Christmas presents this year, don't be too shocked!

Have I mentioned that I love my husband? He's so handsome. :) He's sitting next to me being all oblivious and working hard and I'm just so amazed that such a wonderful man fell in love with me. I feel so blessed and excited about our future and I am so happy and thankful that God "intervened" in our lives and brought us together.

I miss my mom. She's off having a wonderful time in Australia and I'm so excited for her, but I miss her a ton. I'm used to calling and chatting with her nearly everyday and it is so weird to not have her around to soundboard all my crazy ideas off of. She is one of the best listeners and "advice-givers" I know. She always seems to know the right thing to say. I'm just glad that she's only going to be gone until the end of the month!

Okay - I'm off to the fabric store with Becca again! Ciao!