My Flickr Pics

christajtodd. Get yours at bighugelabs.com

29 April 2008

Step by Little Step

Yesterday during a physics review session/party I was truly blessed. I was blessed with the true joy of being able to hold the most beautiful baby I have ever seen.

His name is Josiah and he's six months old. His mom is from Nigeria and a fellow student.

I am often asked why, "Why aren't you married?" When this gets an unsatisfactory answer I am asked, "Don't you want kids?" As if I am fifty instead of twenty-eight. The truth is I do want children. very much. And yes I realize all of the complications that age can add to childbearing.... I have come to the realization that people judge by what they know. If you are married, have children and are happy. Then you assume that that is what everyone else needs to be happy. There is no fault in it but it's not necessarily true. I have quite a few friends both single and married who have no desire to have children now or in the future. I, for one, am thrilled with the idea of people who don't want kids not having kids.

But why when young people are single do we ask, "Are you seeing someone?" If they are dating we ask, "When are you going to get engaged?" Then it's, "When are you going to get married?" And then immediately following the wedding is..... "When are you going to have children? Are you going to have kids?" I watch my friends struggle with where they are and who they are. Not because of what they want for themselves or how they see themselves. It's because of the expectations of others and the pressure that is felt due to those expectations.

Holding Josiah yesterday I realized how much I truly want to be a mom. It is a part of who I am. It makes my heart literally ache to think about it. It isn't true for everyone but it's true for me. But for now it's school. Going to get my degree is what I need to do. How can I one day tell my kids that they can achieve anything that they put their minds to and to reach for their dreams if I don't reach for mine? For now I will love on others babies...I will use my maternal instincts in other ways and I will wait on the Lord.

Step by step You lead me. And I will follow you all of my days....

23 April 2008

Quotes I Find Interesting is Updated

Gonna Take a While

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night.""- Charles M. Schulz

I love this quote! And who doesn't love Charles M. Schulz.....Peanuts:) We all grew up with Peanuts characters. Granddaddy Cotton used to call me Peppermint Patty- I definitely have her tomboy (non girlie) side...that for sure :) I found this quote about eight months ago and didn't realize then how true it would become.

I started going to counseling with a highly recommended (by friends and ministerial staff) man around Thanksgiving. Ultimately my life is good but bad things have happened along the way. I got really good at dealing with it enough to survive. After years it builds up. I got tired..emotionally, physically, spiritually, psychologically rundown with no explanation. For me going to counseling was not a failure but my own personal need to be there was a failure within myself. The Lord works in mysterious ways. A friend's response was "I'm glad to know you aren't perfect....it's nice to know you are human."

It becomes easy to not lean on people for fear of becoming a burden. But in doing that we lead them to believe that we don't need anyone. This isn't true. Look at all of the things that we get out of relationships...the joy of giving...the laughter, the fellowship.... Look at all of the fellowship in the Bible. Jesus surrounded himself with friends. He had close friends and acquaintances. Becoming a social hermit doesn't help anyone. Many years ago upon meeting someone I was told "I don't have friends, I don't need friends, I don't want friends." I thought it was a ridiculous sentiment and tried my hardest to break through her wall. She is now my closest friend but I find that over time I have adopted part of the sentiment that I used to find ridiculous. It's hard to trust. It means you open yourself up to the potential for hurt. And many of us have been hurt in friendships and relationships. But if you don't open up you don't have the potential for the joy that the friendship can bring.... (just some ramblings from one hermit to another......)

21 April 2008

Quotes from Christa


Tomorrow I have a physics test and a chemistry test. On Wednesday I have another chemistry test and there are multiple other assignments and papers thrown in throughout. Then next week is the week of final exams:) So for now say a prayer and I will leave you with some quotes I have found over the last week or so...


  • "I have to live with myself, and so I want to be fit for myself to know; I want to be able as days go by, always to look myself straight in the eye." -Edgar A. Guest

  • "People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." -Eleanor Roosevelt

  • "Forming characters! Whose? our own or others? Both. And in that momentous fact lies the peril and responsibility of our existence." - Elihu Burritt

  • "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." -Helen Keller

  • "One can acquire everything in solitude- except character." -Marie Henri Beyle

  • "To succeed is nothing, it's an accident, but to feel no doubts about oneself is something very different: it is character." -Marie Leneru

  • "THE CONCEPT IS GRASPED IT'S THE EXECUTION THAT'S ELUSIVE."-Princess Mia

  • "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." -Mark Twain
The picture is taken by Amy...she called it "Tulip-Christa style"

17 April 2008

Azalea Festival

As a child growing up my family attended the Azalea Festival every year. It didn't hurt that the festival occurs in Wilmington, NC and that is where both of my parents spent their childhoods. I used to sit on the bleachers with all of the family and watch the parade go by. Even as a child the bands were my favorites. My dad's main job each year was to get the snacks. My favorites were Combos and Goobers. (Yes yes I know many of you are laughing about the second one.) Some of my best parade memories include people no longer with us- like Aunt Florence and the child like excitement she had about her surroundings. She always found joy in the smallest things in life. There was always a great sense of peace about her. As I grew older it was less about the parade and more about the arts and crafts at the waterfront. It's been fun to take friends and share my memories of the past. (And their enjoyment of kettlecorn!) When I was small I used to dream of having children and going to the festival each year. I would want the picnic in the park and things as they were in my childhood. I count it a blessing that I grew up with family being important.

I had hoped to surprise family in Wilmington this year for the festival, but school got in the way. My family was understanding but I was dissappointed. My grandmother was riding on a float and next year I will hopefully be heading to grad school.

In thinking of that and looking at my next couple of weeks to come. Life is hectic. Life is hard. God never promised it would be easy. No one says that once you are a christian it gets easier. In actuality it gets harder. Is it worth it? YES! Do I wish I could have gone? yes! Do I regret going back to school? No!

In crazy times....Do as I do.... Remember....
Psalm 94:19 "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
It doesn't say that He just takes the anxiety away. It says that He replaces it.... with JOY! Wow!

May your days be filled with Joy and in the presence of anxiety may you remember that in Him our strength is renewed.

14 April 2008

Comment Correction

Sorry Guys! I'm still learning. For those of you who have tried to leave comments and have been unable to do so-the problem has been fixed. I had to change a filter. You can now leave a comment just by using your name or with no name at all. Please feel free to add any discussion.

11 April 2008

Beautiful

Below are the lyrics to another Bethany Dillon song. It's one of my favorites for a lot of reasons. I think as a society we put entirely too much emphasis on outward appearance. This could include: hair, color, height, weight, clothes, eyes, and teeth. In each of those categories we could add five to ten more topics like color, size, and corrective items. We should be looking at people on the inside.

There is a classic question where people ask you if you would rather be blind or deaf. Well obviously people would not necessarily choose either. I get caught. I would choose deaf because I know sign language and could still communicate. However anyone who knows me knows that if I'm not listening to music I'm singing or humming or drumming a beat with my fingers. Music is part of who I am. I couldn't give that up. But to be blind would mean giving up the beauty of God's creation. The details hidden inside of a single flower. However, to be blind would be to gain a great advantage. You would be able to get to know people for who they are not what they look like. Think about how many people we pass each day that we don't meet because they don't meet our "criteria."

I fell into this pit as have many others. I based what I thought I should look like on how society thought I should look. It doesn't work. Eventually you lose a part of yourself. For me it was a huge part.

Now most days I can look in the mirror and feel beautiful. But on the days that I don't. I remember that I am beautiful in His eyes and that's all that matters. "Red and yellow, black, and white; they are precious in His sight...."

On my bathroom mirror is written..."Stop criticizing His creation!" -It works every time. I'm His!

Remember you are His and think about the true meaning of this song. He makes you beautiful. He makes you quite enough and He makes you worthy of love.:

I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention
I thought I could be strong
But it's killing me
Does someone hear my cry?
I'm dying for new life
I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart, and be amazed
I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won't you help me back to glory

[Chorus]

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart,
and I am amazed
I love to hear You say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love and
beautiful
(Bethany Dillon- Beautiful)

What Are Your Idols?

Lastnight the Bible study woman was Rebekah. Rebekah married Isaac (son of Sarah and Abraham) and later gave birth to Jacob and Esau. The topic of discussion in small group was idolatry. Some were surprised at the things that could be considered idols.

Rebekah idolized her son Jacob. Think of the families you know that revolve solely around the child. One day the child will be gone and the parents will realize they no longer know each other. That is a dangerous road to tread. We are all human and none of us are perfect. Placing someone on a pedestal is setting them up for failure and yourself up for disappointment.

An idol can be anything that we put in a place where God should be. For me in the last couple of years school became my idol. God was still there but I pushed my time with Him aside quite often in order to study for my anatomy, medical terminology, etc... Would I have failed the tests without that thirty minutes? Two points (most of the time :) ) won't make a difference. How often do I put other things before Him and tell Him to wait?

An idol is a "substitute." No matter how you say that word it sounds inferior. Think about substitute teachers and sugar substitutes. Why would we want that instead of the real thing? Why would we choose to hit the snooze button three times instead of getting up and spending thirty minutes with God? It's a great way to start the day. It's a habit I'm trying to get back into. Beginning your day in the Word can really make a difference in your attitude and your perception of surroundings.

10 April 2008

A Minor Flub Up With Good Consequences


Lastnight I went to bed late in an exhausted stupor with chemistry equations and physics applications running through my mind. I hurriedly set my alarm knowing that I had a early morning coming and when my head hit the pillow I would be out. I didn't think about the fact that I had changed cds and so I didn't change the song number that would play to wake me up this morning. I got a welcome surprise. This was the song. It talks about how God can see everything. He holds the stars, he mends broken things, he knows everything, he sees the good in the bad and sets us free from the things that hold us captive. The chorus asks God to help her to sing Hallelujah through whatever is in front of her. But then she says a very important part "I'll choose." It's our choice to sing through our day or be miserable. It's a choice. Choose to let him help you. He's there...just waiting...

Who can hold the stars
And my weary heart?
Who can see everything?

I've fallen so hard
Sometimes I feel so far
But not beyond your reach

I could climb a mountain
Swim the ocean
Or do anything
But it's when you hold me
That I start unfolding
And all I can say is

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah

The same sun that
Rises over castles
And welcomes the day

Spills over buildings
Into the streets
Where orphans play

And only you can see the good
In broken things
You took my heart of stone
And you made it home
And set this prisoner free

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah

(Bethany Dillon-Hallelujah)

09 April 2008

Einstein


I just finished an interesting (in case my professor is reading this) physics class on Relativity. I, personally, don't find the postulates associated with relativity to be interesting. However- If I could choose people to meet (dead or alive) Einstein (1879-1955) would be one of them... He certainly led an interesting life. Below are some quotes- Enjoy!
(the picture is my cat Lucinda Lou or "Lucy" for short... without her tail pulled..)
  • When asked to describe radio: "You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."
  • "It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure."- E
  • " Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty."-E
  • "Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love."-E
  • "When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours that's relativity."-E
  • "Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing."-E
  • "God doesn't play dice." -E
  • "God may be subtle, but He is not malicious."-E
  • "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."-E
  • "Before God we are all equally wise-and equally foolish."-E
  • "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."-E
  • "Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either."-E
  • "Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. "-E

Proverbs 3:17-18 woman


Proverbs 3:17- "Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace." ( I want to be this woman- not one who's ill/irritable because she doesn't feel well or life is hard-that is too often the case. Help me to rest in Your peace and reflect that peace to others.)

Proverbs 3:18- "She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed." ( I want to be a blessing to those around me; those in my life- I want to be a reflection of Your love that makes people wonder what's different and how they can get it- I want to be able to help my questioning/nonbelieving/struggling friends to want to know more)

"Tree of Life"- signifying and giving life without death to those who eat its fruit.

If You Ruled the World?

I often get picked on for my music choices. In my car you will find everything from Frank Sinatra, Norah Jones, Sarah Kelly, Macy Gray, Indigo Girls, Pavarotti, Beethoven, Jennifer Knapp, Selah, choir cds, black gospel, some country, and other misc. music. Lately I've been in a more mellow music mood. This morning it was a cd of Tony Bennett duets. ( I know, I know...although I have a friend out there who owns this exact cd and you know who you are:) ) Anyway, this morning the song that I couldn't stop listening to was "If I Ruled the World." It's a duet with Celine Dion. It's a peaceful yet powerful rendition of an old song. I started thinking about the lyrics. A lot of the things listed are things that I think we will experience in heaven. I also think a lot of the things are possible here on earth. To strive to hold our heads up high and have a song in our hearts :) For now I'm glad I don't rule the world...

If I ruled the world-Every day would be the first day of spring
Every heart would have a new song to sing
And we’d sing of the joy every morning would bring.
If I ruled the world- Every man would be as free as a bird
Every voice would be a voice to be heard
Take my word we would treasure each day that occurred

My world would be a beautiful place where we would weave such a wonderful dream
My world would wear a smile on it’s face like the man in the moon when the moon beams

If I ruled the world-Every man would say the world was his friend
There’d be happiness that no man could end, no my friend, not if I ruled the world
Every head would be held up high.
There’d be sunshine in everyone’s sky. If day ever dawned
When I ruled the world.
If I ruled the world.

If you could add things to this list what would it be?
Mama would add chocolate because in Heaven she could eat all she wanted.
My friend Ele likes to think about the fact that we won't need food..it'll be for fun and then chocolate will be fat and calorie free :)

07 April 2008

My Way of Doing It




Friends ask me how I do my Bible study each day. First, let's be honest. I try to do it every day and succeed most days. I'm not very good at actual "bible studies." I get side-tracked because I tend to dig and cross-reference. In my daily time I usually pick a word that is appropriate and dig through it, break it up, and follow it where it goes. Responses to verses are individual and personal. A lot of "me" is in my prayers that come from the scriptures. Below is an excerpt from a past quiet time at the request of a friend.

(Anxiety-Anxious-Worry-Cares-Troubles-Concerns) - the words I cross reference in the Bible.

Anxiety is a disturbed state of mind produced by real or imaginary fears.

Trust {from Ps.37:1-5} "Do not fret..." (about things big or small- money, wreck, back, school, path...) "Trust in the Lord and do good....enjoy safe pasture" (I'm working on the trust Lord- I often dwell in the safe pasture but are too busy to stop long enough to smell the flowers and fresh mowed grass) "Delight yourself in the Lord; He will give you the desires of your heart." (Wow!- tolerate, live through, deal with.....this is what I do- Help me to truly delight in You and Your ways) "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this" (I'm committed to You but holding onto about 5% for safe keeping. ouch! Sorry about that slap in the face- Help me to hand it all over to You.)

Interesting Questions

At church yesterday I turned when I heard a little voice say "Where can I get one of Thoooose?" "Those" was said with such a sense of amazement. I turned as I felt a small hand on my wrist and saw the very red face of an embarassed mother. The little girl looked to be around the age of five and the "those" was my bracelet. I blushed when I realized the bracelet that she was gently caressing. It was the beads on my medical alert bracelet. The bracelet that I hope most people don't notice. She asked me what was wrong with me and with that one statement I knew she, even in her young years, understood the significance of the bracelet. As I smiled her other hand came from around her back and she too wore an alert bracelet. Hers is for diabetes and the need for insulin and mine is for latex allergy and the need to carry an epi-pen. The mother's release of breath was audible. The part of my bracelet she was admiring was the interchangable beaded band that my friend Christy had helped me make (all in an attempt to make it not look like a med. alert brac.). It just so happened that the one I had on that day felt tight so I had grabbed another on my way out the door that morning. Her wrist was not much smaller than mine. When that little girl and I parted ways at the door she was skipping to the left with a beaded bracelet on her wrist and another in her hand and I was heading to the right with a song in my heart and a smile on my lips. I like to say.... It's the little things that count!

Worship in Heaven

I went to a worship retreat on Saturday and we described what we thought worship in heaven will be like. I was most excited about the Diversity :)
  • Peace
  • Elation
  • Gratitude
  • Celebration
  • Freedom
  • Reunion
  • Love
  • Glory-Awestruck
  • Excitement
  • Surprise
  • Unexpected
  • Safe
  • Diversity
  • Humility

02 April 2008

The Blessing of the Lord is Here (sorry it's a long one)

This morning I woke to gospel cranking out of my alarm clock, "The blessing of the Lord is here. The blessing of the Lord is here. I feel it in the atmosphere. The blessing of the Lord is here. The blessing of the Lord is here...." I woke up happy with the words radiating through me. It was a reassuring and joyful way to awaken.

God has an interesting way of making things connect. I've been trying to do a daily study on Proverbs. This morning the verses were Prov. 10:22-26. The four that stood out to me were 22, 24, 25, 26. Allow me to elaborate:

v.22- "The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and He adds no trouble to it." The wealth that is important is a product of God not a product of human attainment. In Prov 10:2 it talks about "blessings" (God's gifts and favors) and in 10:2 "ill gotten treasures" are discussed (they are fleeting and resulting in God's judgement). It's not enough to have the wealth that God has gifted us. We must have a heart to take the comfort of the gifts, do good with the wealth, and serve God with joyfulness and gladness of heart in our use of His gifts. When we receive riches from the Lord, they don't come with sorrow. These gifts are given to those who follow and obey Him. Money can be included as part of the wealth God provides to us. He says that he will provide for what we need as he provides for the plants, flowers, and birds. What we do with the monetary benefits we receive is important to Him. This is not just in tithing but in our everyday choices of what to do with the money that we have, whether large or small. The choices should be made to glorify God. I try my hardest to write my tithe check every week. There are many Sundays that I hold the check in my hand and pray "Lord you know this check would pay a _____ bill; it would help with _____. I'm trusting you to take care of me." I feel that the Lord appreciates honest conversation. Why not say it? He knows what you're thinking anyway:)

True Riches of God: love, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

v. 24- "What the wicked dreads ("fears"-KJV) will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted." Fear has torment and is a form of sorrow. Fear is the opposite of faith. This one hit me hard. This is the source of a lot of my conversation with God. (safety at my apt complex, money, school- where to apply, will i get in, what if I don't get in). Fear can easily trap you but once you're in it's hard to break the cycle. If we repent and trust in God, the devil will have to flee with his temptations (fear, envy, doubt) and we can walk in the Lord's mercy and grace (what an amazing gift). We are promised as God's children the righteous desires of our hearts. (Ps. 37:4)

v.25- "When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever." I also like the KJV... "As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the Righteous is an everlasting foundation." No matter what we go through, we cannot be destroyed. We are eternal beings in Christ and shall live forever with God. (Rom 6:23- "gift of God is eternal life.")

v.26- "As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is a sluggard to those who send him." Sluggard is someone who is habitually lazy or idle. God doesn't choose people like this to do a job for Him. If we want to be used by God we have to also serve others. He is looking for faithful people who will take responsibility, so that He may commission His work to them. This comes with a warning though.... to say yes to everything and every opportunity is not good either. A burned out individual can help no one. A compromise/ a happy medium is the goal. Our willingness and the openness of our hearts is what He longs for.

My hope is that: we do a good job at each task laid before us and the works of our hands will be used to glorify God. I pray that God will keep His hand of protection over friends, family, and those we have yet to meet.

I pray God that You will reveal Yourself to us in a very deep way. Thank you for what you are doing in our hearts and in our lives.

A Physics Moment

I just have to share that today for the first time physics was interesting AND made sense to me. It could have been because we were discussing cameras, but can I just say WOOOOHOOO!!!

Also, feel free to post comments at any time. (good or bad...questions or statements....all are welcome....)

01 April 2008

A Rough Start w/ a Peaceful Ending


Today began in hectic fashion. An alarm beeping, a cat digging at my door, and a dog barking. I rolled over and said a prayer before I even let a foot hit the floor. "Lord grant me strength and peace...strength and peace Lord." (Ps.29:11) I had no idea how much I would need both. I spent the morning hurrying one child and trying to persuade another to get out of bed. As I watched his frowning face look at me pleading I was struck by how often I feel that same way in conversation with God. He was pleading earnestly with me to let him go to the second half of his day. How often do I plead with God for an adjustment in what he wants for me. Sometimes it's little but sometimes the alterations I request are large.

My small group is studying the women of the Bible. Last week was Lot's wife. In studying the story I was struck by Lot. God gave him great mercy in allowing them to safely leave the city. Yet Lot pleaded with the angels to allow them to go somewhere different. Lot felt that it was for his own good but do we really know what is best for us? I enjoy the fact that my life is in His hands and not my own. It's a reassurance on days like today.

I had a break between classes and Steve today. With many things that I could/should be doing I went to the park. I needed to spend time in the beauty of God's creation. I found this pansy beat up by his world (the rain, the mud, the lawn keepers). I felt a great connection with such a tiny flower and yet as I held it there was a peaceful reminder that I also am held daily.

I pray that if your day began hectic it may end peaceful with a realization that you are gently held by a loving Father!

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You."-Isa. 26:3