Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lil' Somethin' Somethin'

I love this guy's music. Just wanted to share it with you

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thank You for the Day

Watched the sun set tonight here at the beach and right when the sun went under the local bars and restaurants rang a bell that sounds the alert that we've lived through another day; thank you God.

So many times I look at my days in such a long time frame (weeks, months, even years); I think in a matter of weeks rather than days, hours, or minutes.
I'm reminded of the timeless advice, "Aim small, miss small."

Thanks for another day God

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I stumbled upon this website...literally... like from StumbleUpon.com... yeah so anyway it's a really cool website. Make sure if your computer tells you that the website wants to use your location that you click "allow". Once it knows your location, you can click on any country and it will compare your country to another.
I was flummoxed (yep new word! Look it up) by the results especially since they make you see it from your perspective.
It's awesome, share it.

Pinhole Camera Project: Roll 2

I'm so happy with the results of this roll! There were only 4 pictures that I wasn't happy with out of the whole lot. Most of these were shot on the Santa Fe River. *Again, no editing of any kind* Let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How rich are you?

I'm the 798,928,823 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are! >>
Really puts it into perspective huh?

Sunday, June 12, 2011


"Worship is at once about who we are, about who or what our god is and about how we choose to live. It is about something that is quite simple but wrapped in a mystery. It is about God Himself, who has but one face and Whose face has been clearly shown in the person and work of His only begotten Son....Worship is the continuous outpouring of all that I am, all that I do and all that I can ever become in light of a chosen or choosing god...Worship may ebb and flow, may take on various appearances and may be unconscious or conscious, intense and ecstatic or quiet and commonplace, but it is continuous..."- Unceasing Worship by Harold M. Best

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are you happy?

No Worries

I was watching one of my favorite movies, Finding Nemo, with my sister this morning and God really spoke to me through it and showed me some things I've been missing lately.
First watch this clip:
So you remember when The Lion King came out and in it the infamous song "Hakuna Matata"? Of course you do. I don't know who it was that said it but I can remember being told that was a bad song, unrealistic, and irresponsible. Because apparently you're not really living in reality if you don't have worries. What do we call people without worries? Naive?

I love the picture that's painted in this clip. Here we see Marlin literally banging his head against a wall trying to get out while Dory is literally just going with the flow. Marlin is feeling frustrated, contained, blocked and maybe even toyed with. The whale stops, tells them it's time to go and Marlin refuses; hanging onto what he knows. The whale says it's time to let go and, like a child, Dory just says, "okay" and does it. Marlin tries to stop her from doing something, he thinks is stupid, irresponsible and dangerous and says, "How do you know something bad isn't gonna happen?" Dory's response?- "I don't." Marlin finally let's go and ends up right where he needed to be. 

All I could say was, "Ouch Charlie!"  Then I read Philippians 2 and in verse 8 it says, "...He humbled Himself by becoming obedient..." Following me? The whole theme of Philippians 2 is really to consider others interests as more important than your own. (Time to get vulnerable) I have not been doing this. I've been worried, stressed, frustrated, and more. I've been a perfect rendition of Marlin; banging my head against a wall trying to get out; refusing to let go, hanging onto what I know. I realized how "me-centered" I've been lately. I asked God, "What is it that has gotten me so 'me-centered' lately?" Before I could even get the question out He fed me back the answer- worry. He took me back to Luke 12 where Jesus instructs us to not be anxious about anything but to seek first His Kingdom and the rest will be added to you. 
*Press play and listen to this song as you read the read the rest (it sets the tone)* The last time I was a mess worrying about my future, what I was going to do and where I was going to go was on DTS. And God gave me this picture of myself jumping off a cliff, a waterfall in behind, and my face was just filled with pure excitement and joy. No fear, no worry, no confusion, no regrets and no reserves. 

It doesn't matter where along the road I forgot that or at what point I stopped going with the flow, stopped having a no worries attitude, stopped just loving every second of every day and having fun. No worries ...start now.

If you've ever jumped off a waterfall, I did it every chance I got in Thailand, you know that taking the jump is a really hard and scary thing. There are 1000s of worries present but once you jump you forget all about those and you just enjoy the ride.

We all know we'd rather be the Dory in the belly of the whale; the meerkat and the warthog. We all look at kids and we're envious of the days when we didn't have a care in the world. Who the heck says that we can't still be like that?! I'm not saying that to have a "no worries" attitude is to be ignorant of all else but it's to be completely aware of it all and to still make the choice not to to let it bring you down or slow you down.

Maybe you're on the edge of something and there are a 1000 worries screaming in your face or maybe you're like me and you've already made the jump. Either way there's a great ride to be enjoyed here; why not just enjoy it? Hakuna Matata 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pinhole Camera Project: The Results

1st lesson learned: If you walk into CVS and there's a "kid" working behind the photo counter...turn around. Dumb kid ruined my pictures...ugh

Anyway I learned a bit about what I did right and what I did wrong. Here are the results (I didn't crop or edit them, they're just the scans of the 4x6 copies I got from the dumb kid.)

 So this was the practice roll of film because I really had no earthly idea how these would turn out. Some of them I'm really happy with the way they turned out....they would be better if the kid hadn't hacked them...but I won't keep harping on that lol. Hopefully the next roll will be even better now knowing better what it is I'm doing and they should only keep getting better.
One good thing would be to actually remember, at times, what in the heck I was taking a picture of haha.

If you've been inspired to make a pinhole camera send me your pictures; I'd love to see them!

My text made a cross...how cool!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pinhole Camera Project

I watched this movie that talked about pinhole cameras and it perked my interest so I researched them and they're pretty awesome! So I made one.
The concept is that it's photography in it's most basic and organic form; light, film and a dark canister. Light goes in through a tiny hole in the front and burns an image on the film in the back. My pinhole camera was made from a matchbox but you can make them out of just about anything.

If you're interested here's a link that will show you how to make one like mine: http://www.matchboxpinhole.com/index.html
Also here's a link with some more information and more links: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/04/camera-obscura.html

Here are some pictures taken with a matchbox pinhole camera so you get the idea. (I didn't take these btw)

Now GO!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Find the Hope

click on photo to enlarge
One of the most valuable lessons I learned on my DTS was how to be in the darkness but to focus on the light. Our minds, hearts, and eyes were trained to look at the despair but to be fixated on the hope.
What do you see in this picture? Do you see the mass array of dead leaves and twigs? Do you see the tiny green shoot pushing through it? 
Hope is what motivates us; it's what keeps us from quitting. 1Peter informs us that hope is not something that is outside of us, needing to be grasped but hope is in us and is meant to exude from us.
It's not that we are ignorant of despair, injustice, pain, suffering, or evil but that we're looking at it through a position of hope. Find the hope.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beloved for Whom?

Ephesians 5:1-2 "1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." 
Most of the commentaries I read on these verses are angled to believe that this verse is telling how we are to love others; that Christ loved us this way so we should love others this way. And not to say that I know more than these scholars but I'm not convinced that's all there is. My question was: Is this meant to be outward focused; saying 'this is how you love others?' Or is this meant to be inward focused; a state in which we live and act; out of knowing how deeply we're loved, just as Christ did?
Several words stuck out to me so I went to the Greek to see what they could unveil.
Ephesians 5:1 "1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children."
-"Beloved" (ἀγαπητὰagapēta) This has 2 applications:
                             1. The Beloved, a title of the Messiah
                             2. of Christians, as beloved by God, Christ and one another
                 -It is derived from agapē and means "divinely loved", "loved by God" i.e. personally experienceing God's agapē love. 
-"Children" (τέκνα- teknon) and means "anyone living in full dependence on the heavenly Father; i.e. fully (willingly) relying upon the Lord in glad submission. This prompts God to transform them into His likeness.
                 -"It illustrates how we must all live in utter dependence upon the Lord (moment by moment), drawing guidance (care, nurture) from our heavenly Father." 
                 -"Emphasizes the childlike (not childish) attitude of heart that willingly (gladly) submits to the Father's plan. 
Ephesians 5:2 "2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." 
'And' is a conjunction which means that it's continuing a thought, not starting a new one. It's never adversative; never meaning "however" or "but".

The focus in verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2 clearly puts the emphasis on our relationship with the Father.   It's not broken up; from verse 1 to verse 2, it's a continuous flow; a single thought. When you look at the definition of children, and how that's how we're being told to live in both verses 1 and 2, Christ is mentioned in verse 2 as the ultimate example of how we're loved and also how Jesus Christ operated as a beloved Child.
Christ lived "in full dependence on the heavenly Father..fully and willingly relying upon the Lord in glad submission." He lived "in utter dependence upon the Lord...moment by moment, drawing guidance, care and nurture from our heavenly Father." His relationship with the Father was everything; the Gospel of John bleeds with Christ's affection and devotion to the Father.

I think that verses 1 and 2 are meant to show us that we're to walk in dependence with the Father and in the sure, constant assurance of how deeply loved we are; it's more inward focused rather than outward focused. It's about how we receive, return, and operate in the love of the Father.
In Rob Bell's new book Love Wins he talks about Heaven and the misconceptions about it. He says, "when Jesus talked about heaven, He was talking about our present eternal, intense, real experiences of joy, peace, and love in this life, this side of death and the age to come...eternal life is less about a kind of time that starts when we die, and more about a quality and vitality of life lived now in connection to God." He goes on to say, "Jesus talked about a reality called the kingdom of God. He described an all-pervasive dimension of being, a bit like oxygen for us or water for a fish, that he insisted was here, at hand, now, among us, and upon us. He spoke with God as if God was right here, He healed with power that He claimed was readily accessible all the time, and He taught His disciples that they would do even greater things than what they saw Him doing. He spoke of oneness with God, the God who is so intimately connected with life in this world that every hair on your head is known. Jesus lived and spoke as if the whole world was a thin place for Him, with endless dimensions of the divine infinitesimally close, with every moment and every location simply another experience of the divine reality that is all around us, through us, under and above us all the time. It is as if we're currently trying to play the piano while wearing oven mitts. We can make a noise, sometimes even hit the notes well enough to bang out a melody, but it doesn't sound like it could, or should."

There is a divine love waiting for us to engage and we, I, spend so much time focusing on what we then do with that love that we stop truly loving all together. Worship and love go hand-in-hand; they can't be separated. We worship in and because we love, we don't worship in order to love. Our impact flows out of intimacy, not the other way around. Recognize that you are beloved by God, rest and bathe in being loved so that you can go and be love and in being love, you find yourself.

Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons says it all

Sigh No More from Kern Ducote on Vimeo.

New Blog?

I was tired of feeling guilty/weird about posting "non-ywam/missions" related stuff on my blog Steph's YWAM Experience and I wanted a space to be able post my thoughts, observations, etc that may not necessarily be in direct correlation with blogging about my missions work.
So what does "outside the Gray" mean? I've always found my all or nothing personality to be ironic considering my last name is "Gray." There are a couple of verses that I always carry with me in my heart:
Revelations 3:15-16 says, "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." And 1Kings 18: 21- "And Elijah came near to all the people and said, 'How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.' And the people did not answer him a word." Basically, I can't stand the idea of being on the fence/gray/lukewarm/stagnant/okay. "outside the Gray" is also a reference to those moments where you get an outside glimpse of yourself; where have a momentary view of yourself from an outsiders perspective and you look at what you're doing and are left speechless and in wonder. I really hope that I can constantly orchestrate my life in such a way that when I get those glimpses I'm left in awe of the Lord and what He's doing in, through, and around me. But this requires action on my part. I have to choose not to live in the gray.

Easier said than done sometimes aye?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Create and Re-discover

My good friend from DTS, Regina, posted a blog entry titled, "Reminder: Just Create. Something...Anything" And after buying a couple Jessie J songs that inspired me I went grabbed some cheap paints from Dollar General, grabbed some cardboard from the trash pile and I painted. What...I didn't know but I needed to create something...anything.
This is what I came out with. Is it great? -No. It's just a grown up finger painting.  The importance of creating is not that it gets us somewhere but that you're saying something. Lately I've been feeling incredibly contained; this, however, doesn't depict something contained.

What's inside us is dying to get out.
I'm going to copy Regina and post a video by Jessie J that is incredibly fitting.
Listen, create, re-discover