Mar 29, 2012

Flowers Fade Friday: Messy

I just finished reading through Exodus. And, honestly, it did get a little boring at the end as it got into the specific directions for how to build the Tabernacle. The tent of meeting should be this many by that many cubits, the pomegranates should be woven of gold and purple threads, the rings should be silver with an overlay of gold, etc. etc.

But one part caught my attention. Mainly because it was so disgusting.

Exodus doesn’t really get into the requirements of animal sacrifices. That comes later in Leviticus…

But it does explain one process that involves the killing of animals – the consecration of the priests, Aaron and his sons.

And it is nasty.

Seriously gross.

Take one bull and two young rams {Exodus 29:1}.

Kill the bull at the entrance of the tent of meeting.  Put the blood on the horns of the altar with your finger. Pour the rest of the bull blood around the base of the altar.  Burn the kidneys and the liver of the bull on the altar. Burn the flesh and the skin of the bull outside the camp. {Exodus 29:10}

Repeat with ram #1. The blood of this ram should be poured on the sides of the altar. {Exodus 29:15}

Repeat with ram #2.  The blood of this ram is put on Aaron's right ear, right thumb and right big toe. {Exodus 29:19}

Oh, and then blood from the altar is mixed with oil and sprinkled all over the clothes of Aaron and his sons.

And I get grossed out touching raw chicken in my kitchen and then instantly washing my hands with anti-bacterial soap...

The consecration was messy.

But once they were consecrated, the priests were able to mediate between God and His people. They could make daily sacrifices for sin and the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies once a year to offer a sacrifice of atonement on behalf of the people.

The mess was worth it. Because of the sacrifices offered by the priests, God promised: "I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God." {29:45}

But eventually this old system passed away...

Because Jesus became our great high priest.

Jesus lives this day to mediate between God and us. He sits at the father’s right hand and advocates on our behalf…

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 
I John 2:1

But before Jesus ascended to heaven to advocate for us… he had to be offered as a sacrifice. He got messy for us.

As I was reading through the gruesome details of the consecration of the priests in Exodus, I was reminded of Jesus’ consecration. He, too, was covered in blood. Not the blood of lambs and rams though, but his own. His own body was ripped apart and he bled on behalf of our sins. It’s gross. Messy. His gruesome death should grip us. It’s so easy to think of Jesus’ death like a story on a felt board in Sunday school or to picture it as something vague… a gold man on a gold cross. But it was real. It was real flesh, bloody gashes, a bruised body, real lungs gasping for air upon that cross. And it was an innocent body. Innocent flesh that didn't deserve any punishment at all.

It was ugly. It was messy. And yet it was beautiful.

As I meditate on the mess of Old Testament sacrifices, my mind gravitates toward the truest and purest of sacrifices… that of Jesus Christ. And I praise God that his Son was willing to get messy for me…. because I, indeed, am a mess in need of a Savior.

*Linking up with Casey Leigh and Call Me Blessed.*

Mar 28, 2012

Spring Break {a recap}

So I made some goals for spring break. I got almost none of them accomplished. I can hardly bring myself to look at the list because it's so depressing...

But you want to know what's not depressing? How much fun I had last week on my spring break!!! It was a week of restful, relational, unproductive bliss and that's probably just what I needed! And now all I have to do is get through the next five weeks of school and then I have ALL summer break to work on goals and projects.  I. cannot. wait.

Springtime in Phoenix...

My favorite time of day // Micah made me bacon and eggs for dinner one night

I got to spend a whole day of break exploring Tucson with Heather!

And we ended break with a backyard bash! So fun.

*Linking up with Hello Hue and Life Rearranged!*

Mar 27, 2012

San Diego

Here are some of the pictures off the fancy cam from our trip to San Diego {finally}. Gosh, Micah and I really love San Diego. We stood on our balcony the second morning there and just stared at the beautiful harbor and talked about living there someday. It really is so beautiful. Not quite hot enough for our tastes, but having the ocean as a neighbor could probably make up for the lack of heat. Everywhere I went around town, I was just fascinated. Watching the moms jog along the beach with their strollers and wondering if that would ever be me someday. Driving through beautiful neighborhoods overlooking the ocean and wondering if we could ever live in a house like that. Thinking about how there are four amazing universities in this town where I could work in the future. Wandering along the beach, trying different coffee shops, gorging myself on Mexican food. Life is good in SD.

Micah and I would love to live there someday, but only if that is God’s plan for us, of course…  And when I remember that despite all the beauty, the sunshine and the fresh ocean breezes, gas cost me $4.35 a gallon, I don’t know if that will ever be His plan for us. Nashville, anyone???

Mar 26, 2012

Chill Out Grill Out

Ever since we moved into our new house in November, Micah has had a dream. Now it's not MLK Jr. caliber or anything... it was just this simple and sweet vision he's had.

And it involved {in his words}... "folks from church, kiddies running around, lots of food, and games out in the yard."

Well, this weekend, in honor of Micah's birthday earlier this month, Kayla and I made his dream come true.

We had a huge backyard BBQ with at least thirty people in attendance on Saturday. There were burgers galore, ladder ball and croquet, kids everywhere, including two darling little girls who asked to borrow t-shirts so they could go swimming in the pool. It was great.

But Kayla and I can't just have a party. No. We have to have a themed party. If people aren't dressed up in something strange, it's just not official in our book. We were originally going to schedule this "March Madness" party on the 17th but due to conflicts had to switch it to the 24th... so making everyone wear green no longer made sense. We needed a new plan. My darling sister in law came up with the title "Chill Out Grill Out" and you better believe we made everyone wear blue to keep with our "chill" theme. We have a strong belief that costumes, even if it's just everyone wearing the same color, make pictures better. And we stick by our beliefs.

But speaking of pictures... here comes the sad part. Many of you know that I finally got a DSLR camera back in November. Well, I am still sometimes a dunce when it comes to using it. The settings on it have been a bit wonky for a few weeks, so when my friend Shalyn arrived to the party early on Saturday, I asked her for help me adjust my camera. She showed me what was wrong with my light meter and how to fix it. Hoorah... and then I was an idiot and forgot to check what she showed me for the rest of the day. So although I took about 30 or 40 beautiful pictures of the party, only about 10 of them turned out. And mostly the ones taken indoors. They say shooting in auto if for losers, right? Well, maybe I should just humble myself and stop trying to be cool by shooting in manual, since this is the result...

This was going to be the cutest picture ever...

But here are the ones I could salvage...

Banana Nutella Cake. It was my best yet! Recipe coming soon!

It had so much potential...

Happy birthday, husband!

Mar 25, 2012

This girl.

I have a history of amazing girlfriends. In fact, I have the best best friends in the world.

First of all, I have a little sister. Two years younger than me. Built in best friend. I love her.

Then I have Sarah, my best friend since I moved to a new town in 4th grade. She'll tell you we've been best friends since 3rd grade, but she's wrong. It's 4th grade. That girl can't keep the years straight. When writing in each other's yearbooks in 6th grade, we decided we would backpack Europe together after college. We did it. We also decided we would be roommates someday, even though we went to different colleges in different states. Did it. We got married three months apart. Maybe we'll have babies at the same time too.

The sisters of soul. These are my college best friends. They are some of my favorite people in the world. Sometimes I want to cry because I can't see them often enough, but then I think about how they are they are the most godly, loving, encouraging women I know and I comfort myself by remembering that I will spend FOREVER in heaven with them. Oh, and we have a book club. With t-shirts. Just thought you should know.

Since moving to Phoenix, it's been hard to find new girlfriends. Don't get me wrong. There are some amazing women here. But I'm older now. My friends here are older. They are married. Many of them have kids. I'm married. I'm busy. And cultivating kindred-spirit-sisterhood type friendships has been difficult. Many of my friendships here are more of double date with our husbands once a month type of friendships. And that's a blessing. But sometimes I just want a sister-friend in Arizona...

And then one day this girl emailed me. She clicked on my blog because she saw the word "Arizona" in the title. She was also new to Arizona and was hoping to make some girlfriends in her new state. My blog was small at the time and no one had ever emailed me to introduce themselves. But Heather did. And we hit it off. She lived in Tucson, just two hours south of me. We e-mailed back and forth for months. And then in October, she came up to visit. The second I saw her face to face, I just knew. This was a GIRLfriend. Never a lull in the conversation. No awkwardness when meeting this "internet" friend in real life. Just words and laughter and love. And yes, if you meet us in person, we will be sure to tell you that we started as "online relationship."

First date.

Last week, I made the journey down to visit Heather in Tucson. We had a lovely lunch, drove up to Mt. Lemmon for a giant cookie and hot chocolate even though we were already stuffed. We went shopping. I bought her some NERD glasses for birthday! It was a great day, but the best part was the conversation. The faith and love and honesty that flows out of this girl is amazing. We can talk about anything. I am so thankful that one day, almost a year ago, she decided to email me. Because I've finally found a friendship in Arizona that it deep and real and will last a lifetime! I love you, Heather!

Driving up Mt. Lemmon // Touching baby girl // Nerd alert // Yes, SNOW in Arizona!
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