3.27.2011

I love Oprah's Masterclass....

"When it looks like the sun, ain't gonna shine no more. God put a rainbow in the clouds"
-19th Century spiritual

"I've had so many rainbows in my clouds, i've had a lot of clouds, but i've also had a lot of rainbows. The thing to do it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Be a blessing to somebody." -Maya Angelou

" 'I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me'. What I now know is that we all become exactly what we believe. If you believe that you can do all things, because you have been endowed a power from on high, given to you by the Grace of God. If you believe that, you walk into the world understanding that whatever problems you may encounter, you still have God to lean on. "- Oprah Winfrey

"My confidence comes from knowing that there is something greater than myself that I am a part of, and is also a part of me. I call that God, and I do nothing without that understanding."- Oprah Winfrey

"How I think one matches one's life is to understand you are co-creating that life with the ultimate creator. Not understanding that puts you at your own pitiful, meager little will. And everything is left up to you. And you can't do it, you cannot survive in this world by yourself, just believing in yourself. You're not big enough to do it. I'm not big enough to do it. Nobody is big enough to do it. You have to understand that your very presence here, as a human being from earth, came from something greater than you."- Oprah Winfrey

"Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for the moment that is to come" -Oprah Winfrey



Some very wise words, from some very wise women :)



3.22.2011

It's that time of year again... Baseball time!



If you know me, you know that I am a huge Major League Baseball fan. If you know me well, you know that I am a die hard Seattle Mariners fan.

Before you start laughing too hard at my losing team, you may want to understand where this love has stemmed from.

I was born in Anchorage, Alaska on the 10th of March, 1985. Within 2 weeks of my birth, my poor parents packed everything up and moved to Seattle, Washington. My father recounts that within 2 months of moving, we attended our first Mariner's game as a family. That means that I went to my first Seattle Mariners game when I was not even 3 months old! Needless to say, being a Mariner's fan has literally been bred into the fibers of my being.

As my father and I sat in his living room this morning shooting the statistical breeze about the upcoming season, I began recounting what I remember from my childhood as a budding Mariner's fan.

My Great Uncle Graham owned a Mariner's fan shop in downtown Seattle, close to the stadium. We would park my Dad's old Toyota Celica near the shop, stop in for a little while to say hello to Uncle Graham, and begin the short walk to the stadium. I remember the blue striped jersey's lined with Ken Griffey's name, the waxy bright blue hard hats, and oddly enough, I recall the little Moose figurines that I so desperately wanted.
I remember that the Kingdome (the Mariner's old stadium) seemed to my young eyes, a cement spaceship. The huge crowds would be herded like cattle, before and after a game, through the spiral workings of the stadium. I recall holding my fathers giant hand, and walking down the winding pathway from our nosebleed seats.

I also remember the backpack we would continuously bring that was filled with cheaper snack from home. Cracker Jacks, peanut butter filled pretzels, and home cooked popcorn!

Quizzically, I interrupted my own recollections to see what my Dad remembered about that time. He said that he signed me up for the Junior Mariner's Fanclub so he could get the cheaper tickets (apparently you got 3 sets of game tickets in section 301- the family section). We also received a pin every year that we were members. He also remembered that my first few times at a baseball game I was terrified of 'the wave'. Every time it would come around, people would stand up and flail their arms over their head; I would start screaming bloody murder. I have no idea why, but that story made me laugh with such delight today!

Of course we moved away from Seattle and were forced into a life of Triple-A baseball (the Durham Bulls) because NC, SC, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee all lack a major league baseball team.

Right after I graduated from High School, my Dad began taking my siblings and I on an annual baseball trip to see the Mariner's play some team in their home town. These trips have been some of the best memories thus far in my life.

Honestly: Who could forget an perfect sunny afternoon game in Boston Massachusetts, on the 4th of July, seeing their favorite team win against a top rated Red Sox...?
Not this girl :)



Baltimore Orioles vs. Mariners


The Journey Home... In Seattle at the new Safeco Field


Washington Nationals vs. The Mariners

3.18.2011

Dear Americans,

I believe that we all have the right to our opinions. Even the stupidest of people have a right to say what they want to say; however, I am having a really hard time with political opinions as of late.

If you are a staunch republican that watches FOX News 24/7 or a liberal democrat whose idol is Stephen Colbert, I get it. People are different and their walks of life contribute to their overall beliefs. No two people will ever be the same, therefore no two people will ever have the same opinion. What I cannot stand though, is the amount of disrespect people show for this country's leaders.

I have now deleted 3 people from my facebook friends list for rude remarks about our president. Honestly, he is a human being who is doing what he thinks best. You don't agree with him? -Fine. Write a post about what you would do differently and your frustrations with his choices, but don't call Obama names and feel as though you've somehow 'contributed to your cause'.

I am not the smartest person, and politics often confuse me. However, what I base my life around is Christian core values. You may not agree with someone but do not spread hatred by insulting them repeatedly while you sit on your couch and comment like a pro-nazi peanut gallery. Come on people!

Did the shooting in Arizona teach you nothing? You can't fix anything with hatred. Have you no compassion for others? 99% of the people that hate on our president wouldn't know where to begin with a job like his.

Where did this blatant hate come from? Does it stem from frustration that you don't make a difference in this world, and feel like the only thing you have control over is opinionating?

I just don't get it. I don't understand how you can teach your children compassion by insulting a man who literally has the weight of a nation on his shoulders.

There is a difference between insults and opinions. Learn it.

"I always looked upon the acts of racist exclusion, or insult, as pitiable, from the other person. I never absorbed that. I always thought that there was something deficient about such people."
Toni Morrison


3.13.2011

Be Still My Soul


Be Still My Soul
The Lord is on Thy Side....


Oh how my soul has been restless over the past week. I've always been told that before your mission is hard due to the overtime Satan starts putting in to knock you off your path. Well ladies and gentlemen, I am his full time job right now.

My inadequacies are magnified so greatly right now, especially my common mistakes. Satan is making sure that guilt is becoming a dear friend of mine once more and sucking my soul down with it. Today at church I couldn't shake the sad feeling that I didn't belong among such wonderful people, that I was a hypocrite. If only people knew the real me, they wouldn't be so nice to me... a voice in my head kept repeating. What does that even mean? I'm a good person inside and out, it's just not what Satan wants me to believe.

I was able to have the most amazing conversation with my sister this afternoon in which she shared some profound wisdom. I love it when people get me thinking the way she did. I explained to her my mistakes that were causing me guilt, the feelings of inadequacy and how my mission seemed so impossible right now. After a brief pause she said "Do you remember the story of the adulterous woman from the scriptures?"


Here it is:


"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

My sister pointed out that often we are the accusers of ourselves. We tend to call out our imperfections and criticize our flaws; it is as if we are standing before the Lord and saying: "see! I'm not perfect! I do this wrong, and that wrong, and I committed this many sins. I'm not worthy of your grace." (As if to test God, seeing if he will turn his back on us.) Instead, he offers the same advice to us as he did to the Adulterous woman. "Neither do I condemn thee: Go and sin no more".

Corrine then offered her pearls of wisdom. She encouraged me to stop trying to be perfect. She said "you don't have to be humble 100% of the time to still have the attribute of humility. Try your hardest and look forward Courtney. Stop letting your mistakes keep you from achieving your best in the present. Don't condemn yourself because God certainly hasn't".

Today I am thankful for such a wise younger sister who helped pull out of the sadness I was feeling, and helped me to realize that I am a daughter of God. A God that loves me no matter what I do.

3.06.2011

Les Miserables

My love affair with Les Miserables started long before my love of musical theatre. During my sophmore year of High School, my teacher Mrs. Jesse assigned us the abridged version of the Victor Hugo classic. While most of my fellow students chose to read the cliff notes, something immediately drew me to this novel.

Not only is it an extremely touching story of a man who is tormented by his unfair imprisonment, but it's also a commentary on humanity in general. How we hold grudges, start wars, undermine eachother and most awfully never forgive ourselves. Like the books says:

"Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murderers."

During my senior year I saw the stage musical for the first time and was struck to the core. As Jean Valjean sings his last few notes in a perfect falsetto, he leaves his final piece of advice "to love another person is to see the face of God". I was moved to tears.

Shortly after that I rented the movie version with Liam Neeson, another great rendition of the novel.

What ignites such love in my soul for this novel is not the revolutionaries or the love stories. It's the simple and profound character of the lead man Jean Valjean. He is the epitome of humility. He has the strength of character during a time when most men are lacking so, and he never stops giving. After a grueling life of being hunted, mistreated, uprooted and scorned; his last days are spent caring for the feelings of other people.

The very long winded point i'm trying to make is this:

I want to be like Jean Valjean. I want the humility, the knowledge that God will look after me, the strength to forgive people who hurt me, the love for others, the generosity, the character that this man had. Here is a link to the Youtube version of his plea to God called "Bring Him Home"

If you haven't read the book- read it. If you haven't seen the musical- see it.

"Love is the foolishness of men. The wisdom of God" -Les Miserables.