Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mele Kalikimaka....

...means Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. These are a few of my favorites of all the boys in my family - Randy, Michael and Duke! Much love.













Saturday, December 22, 2007

Divine Romance

I went to a wedding tonight back home in Midland. Simple, beautiful, and sweet. The couple has been together over five years now. I couldn't help but think of what's represented when her dad gives her away in a white dress. Purity, redemption, unending love, committment, the like.

(Stick with me, this has a point, and it's not about romance at all. Well, not in the way you're thinking.)

I thought of how God, through Jesus Christ, sees us as pure - radiantly beautiful - and we can stand before the throne (wedding altar if you will) with no guilt or shame. The love and unending passion on these two kids' faces was evident, and I thought HOW much MORE does Christ love us!

It was an a-ha moment, one where I realize, so that's what it means when it says he presents us as his bride. Drawn to him by the Holy Spirit, presented purely white through Christ's act of salvation on the cross - able to stand blameless and 100% fully loved in front of a merciful God who desires to spend eternity with us. Revealing his glory to us more and more as time passes.

It was all I could do not to start bawling. I never cry at movies or songs, but real life - that gets me every time.

Wash me in the water of your word
I lay me on the altar of your will
Present me blameless, without blemish, Holy Bride
Lord, purify your bride.
-Shane and Shane

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hope

(I must say blogging is becoming quite addictive!)


Cheesy saxaphone Christmas music playing throughout the terminal. It's only noticeable when there's a pause in the din - people talking incessantly on cell phones, announcements made over the PA, and directions of how to find your appropriate gate. With these directions lie the promise of HOME: comfort of loved ones, or even more simply a Holiday Inn and a 8 am meeting in the conference center. There's a jovial sense of "We're all in this together."

This is where I find myself, tapping my foot to the music. Checking my phone every five minutes: "What time is it now? Did I miss something?" Once again - NO.

....God, through Jesus Christ, gave us salvation - something I didn't know I needed but at a young age knew there was a void in my soul only a sovereign Creator could fill. As I've matured, I've realized more and more, and grown daily in His sanctification. The process of the ugly becoming beautiful. Take heart! Christ has provided all this to us, something we are so desperately in need of, and he did it all as the INITIATOR. How much more, now, when He's holding me in the palm of His hand, will He continue to initiate. I am not promised happiness, that's a choice. But through the Holy Spirit I'm sealed with the guarantee of love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Mercy. Self-control. He initiated these fruits in my life - I have to only choose to walk in His promises.

So as I wait for resolution, I have no fear. I am keenly aware of my ability and my history of manipulating situations for the outcome I'd like to see. Now I defer hope in myself to utter and complete hope in Him. The initiator of my Salvation.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

NATURALLY!

A few words that describe me lately:

RELENTLESSLY - this is how the Lord pursues us (The Church) as his bride. I desire to pursue Him relentlessly as well - even to the extent of forsaking all else.

NATURALLY - my friend Lisa created an incredible painting that is now hanging in my bedroom. This painting is huge and beautiful, and is based loosely off the works of Spanish artist Antoni Gaudi. This painting was featured in an art show recently in downtown Dallas, and Lisa described it to others as "Naturally Stephanie." She said the bright colors and bold pattern are what she thinks of to describe me, naturally. This makes me smile! (Anyone who really knows me understands that bright colors TOTALLY define me ... as long as those colors somehow involve pink and green. :)

BROKEN - I do not need to go deep into this one. The Lord is stripping good things away from my life, in order to replace them with the BEST things. I am still in the middle of this ... and might be for awhile. But His hope is shining through. "...but we have these treasures in jars of clay to show the all-surpassing power of God ..." "i am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed!"

EXHAUSTION - having mono sucks. There's no getting around it.

HUMBLED - My mom came to be with me while I was sick. :) And I have felt the outpouring love of my friends like craaazy lately ... that is so humbling. God is SO good to provide encouragement when I need it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Top Ten Lists for 2007

Best Stuff:
1. Training for a triathlon
2. Going to Atlanta
3. Getting a NEW JOB!
4. The Village Church
5. Meeting incredible new people that love me and stir my heart for Jesus
6. My homegroup girls - Tess' group and the DBU chicas
7. Learning to cook (ok it's slow going, but it's progress)
8. Living in Deep Ellum, Dallas TX
9. Going home over my lunch break for a nap
10. Saw some great concerts in 2007
11. REDEMPTION and RESTORATION in the Lord =)
12. Christmas Bonus - 30 people get fired, but we get a bonus, who knew?
13. Random situations resulting from being in the right place at the right time, and it could only have been orchestrated by the Lord. It's cool to know this year He's been so deeply in control and involved in my life.

Worst:
1. Bike Wreck - extremely painful
2. Quitting the WORST job ever
3. Starting over, TWICE, this year
4. Catching Mono
5. Learning some lessons the hard way
6. Stephanie Clark moving to Phoenix

Soundtrack to Stephanie's life, the 2007 album:
1. Jon McLaughlin
2. Phil Wickham
3. Paolo Nutini
4. Hendrick
5. Corrine Bailey Ray
6. Andy Davis
7. Me in the shower
8. Snow Patrol (I realize they're all over Kiss FM but I love them)
9. Something Corporate/Jack's Manneqeuin
10. King George

Favorite Scripture of 2007:
1. Psalm 34
2. Philippians 2
3. Galatians 5
4. Book of Ruth
5. Book of Isaiah

More lists will come as I think of them, back to "work" for now...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cutthroat Christmas!







(this is for you Elise)

In an office where Christmas sweaters are the rule, not the exception, I must tell you all about the Christmas potluck we had today with some of the women at work.
1. We all were supposed to bring a salad or dessert
2. There was congealed jello salad present. Enough said
3. There was plenty of what some would deem "bad use of denim"
4. I made a pasta salad (I will say here that I don't really LIKE pasta salad but it's growing on me. I think it's just because I made it. It included asparagus and lemon zest, which I call "mature food." I have never before cooked with green onions, asparagus, and lemon zest. Up until now it's been brownie mixes and the occasional fajitas. )
5a. We played a Christmas gift exchange known as "Cutthroat Christmas" where there are rules and you open gifts and trade, ya know, the like. The veteran ladies introduced a twist this year with the rules which were democratically VOTED UPON the day before at lunch, and let me tell you there was a lot of politicking going on beforehand. Me, the youngest and sweetest of the bunch swooped in, gave my opinion, and swayed the whole lot of them. And it was a very cutthroat gift exchange indeed.
5b. I got the one gift that was somewhat scandalous ... a Santa apron and santa chef hat ... complete with mistletoe ... but at the end of the day, I still have Mono. =(
6. Welcome to the Baptist General Convention of Texas. =)








Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why I love Christmas....

...let me count the ways.

Today one of the guys I work for brought me a poinsetta for my desk. It made me remember why I love the Christmas season, and that it's the little things that mean so much!

Here's a few other things I love at Christmas:

-Breakfast on Christmas morning, because it's basically like dessert
-Looking at Christmas lights
-Picking out the perfect present for a friend
-Manheim Steamroller Christmas music
-And it's not Christmas without listening to Mariah Carey and N*Sync
-White elephant exchanges
-Decorating the tree
-Hot chocolate
-The night sky and the GORGGEOUS stars back home
-Mistletoe *=)
-Everyone's in a good mood - even Scrooges
-It's a time to remember it's not about us! But about a little baby that came to save the world! That's the ultimate gift.

I know this video has already made it's way around the block, but I wanted to be among the first to bring it back for Christmas 07. The Christmas lights and music at this house are incredible. I haven't figured out yet how to post from YouTube, so click the link and check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmgf60CI_ks

Monday, November 26, 2007

Schrute Bucks


Today I was working on a 40 page report to submit to accounting. A delivery guy came and dropped off a package. Literally, DROPPED IT OFF, knocked over my cup of water and got me soaked, including the receipts and report I had to turn in to accounting. So for that, I give him a Schrute Buck. According to Dwight, it's worth 1/1,000 of a cent, and 5 gazillion schrute bucks = 5 extra minutes at lunch. Well done my friend, well done. (Really though, he's a nice guy. It was just annoying.)


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Be Thou My Vision

Tonight at church was ... (I am trying to think of an adjective here to do it justice.) It was just so, so NEEDED. After a few weeks of carrying a heavy burden, I feel like it is being lifted from me. During worship I felt the Lord singing over me, reminding me, "Hey Steph, I got it. I've got this. I haven't changed. My nature is wholly and entirely GOOD. Circumstances change, but I do not."

In Exodus 3, Moses is confronted by a burning bush, and the Lord's tangible presence was before him. Moses asks a simple question, "When the Israelites ask me who sent me, what do I tell them?" Basically he was asking, who ARE you? God simply replied, "I am who I am." The Hebrew name is Yahweh, a name for the convenant the Lord makes with his people.

It's so easy to manipulate our circumstances or control situations so we get the outcome we are hoping for. Angst and anxiety ensue when things aren't going our way. What I am constantly learning is God's goodness regardless of circumstance. It's so freeing to open my hands on situations and let him take ownership. It's all his anyway. The lyrics of this old Irish hymn spoke to me tonight. Be blessed by their words:

BE THOU MY VISION
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word
I ever with thee, thou with me, Lord
Thou my great father, I thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise
Thou my inheritance now and always

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of Heaven, after victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Two Thumbs Way Up

video

Last night I saw the movie Bella. I highly encourage everyone to go see it. It's a beautiful story of heartache, pain, redemption, and ultimately the beauty of life that God gives us. Definitely worth seeing with family or friends over the holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Birthday All Month Long

On November 14 I hit the big 2-4, and had so much fun with friends, family and co-workers all week long. I am so blessed to have amazing people to celebrate life with.

And speaking of Celebrating ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8MON2FfmlQ


Check out the celebration video of Tech beating OU on YouTube! We knocked them out of the running for the championship, and there's a chance Tech will make it to the Alamo Bowl on December 29... which means one thing. ROAD TRIP! I have a few friends that are AMAZINGLY fun on road trips (yes you-Scrim and Itz) and CAN'T WAIT to go to San Antonio to see them and go to the game!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!
This is my first venture into the blogging realm. Hopefully I can make you smile or enlighten you with my incredible knowledge on many, many topics (ok maybe not.)The real reason why I am starting this is to share with you the love, joy and freedom I have found in Christ. "It is for freedom He set us free..." Galatians 5:1.

Along those lines, and because it's Halloween, here's a quote I read today:
"When I was an Atheist, I thought Christianity was a dying religion. That's nonsense; it's like an explosion going off all the time."
-Anne Rice, author of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, who previously wrote best-selling stories about witches and vampires.