Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Listen to the mustn'ts

Listen to the mustn'ts, child,
Listen to the don'ts
Listen to the shouldn'ts,
The impossibles, the wont's
Listen to the never haves,
Then listen close to me --
Anything can happen child,
Anything can be.

--Shel Silverstein

I love Shel Silverstein.  I know it's kids' poetry, but its some of my favorite stuff.  It's so simple and yet so true.  Anything can happen!  Anything can be.  It's good to remember that.

Life for me has consisted of keeping busy by applying for jobs and spending time with new and old friends.  This summer has been a bit slow for me, and I'm not gonna lie -- a bit of a struggle.  Being unemployed is not easy.  Applying for jobs is not fun.  But I'm hanging onto the hope of God that he has good plans for me and that all things work for the good of those who love him.

A fun thing this summer is that it has been full of weddings.  I went to FIVE weddings this summer.  Can you believe it?!  They were all weddings of girls from my hometown.  So I've spent a lot of time with my girlfriends from high school -- which has been fun.

High school girlfriends at Kristen & Stu's wedding.

My college girlfriends and I went camping at Pictured Rocks for a long weekend in July and had ourselves a grand adventure just relaxing and spending time together.  It was a blast.
College girlfriends hiking at Pictured Rocks.
It's been a good and challenging summer.  I've learned a lot about my faith and about my God.  I feel that God has been teaching me to trust him through and through, especially because finances have been a challenge for me.  Being without a job and still having bills to pay is not easy.  I have been so blessed by my church, Ada Bible Church, who have helped me throughout this whole season of my life.  I don't know where I'd be without them.  They have definitely been an extension of God's grace here on earth.

I still am learning this whole "adult thing."  I still feel like a little kid sometimes trying to figure out the adult world.  And some bills confuse me.  The various student loan paperwork befuddles me.  Also I get lonely living on my own at times.  But, I know I'm gonna make it through.  Like I said earlier, God works for the good of those who love him.  I have the hope and faith in God that I will make it through this season; I will find employment and learn the ways of adulthood.

And I will never stop enjoying the simple pleasures of children's poetry.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

From what I've heard growing up -- it's the shortest verse in the Bible.  And right now, it's the one that makes me feel the most human.  Yesterday I cried.  I wept.  If Jesus can do it, so can I...right?

Please pray for me.  My future is looking and feeling brighter.  But I still cry.  I haven't today.  Medicine helps.  But so does prayer.  Please pray for me friends.

I love you all.  Love God, love others.  I love you.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Refiner's Fire

My good friend Sarah had me over for breakfast on Saturday morning.  We were eating eggs, sausage, and toast, and drinking hot tea when she shared the following snippet of a story with me.  Read, soak in, enjoy.

Malachi 3:3 says:  "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

The story is told about some women in a Bible study who were puzzled by this verse.  They wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.  She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. 

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God allowing us to be in fires of life, then she thought again about the verse that says:  "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire.  If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment.  Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it."

(Original source of story unknown.)

Beautiful.  Isn't it?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

No words today

Lately I feel as though I have no words left.  So I will use the words of others to portray my thoughts.  The following image is from my church (Ada Bible Church) in their daily email entitled "Beyond the Weekend."

And click here for a blog post written about the same concept in which our God is a pretty awesome God and how we are supposed to essentially shine on and radiate God's glory!

Thanks for reading!  See you around.  :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Are you a hard boiled egg?  Or a bright green Wilson tennis ball?

>> Click the following link to listen to what I might be referring to:  sermon "Frail".

We're wounded, but we're not dead yet.
We've been body-slammed -- and we're still moving.

Life comes out of death.
Weather the storm.  Don't be naive.  It's not the last one.

We are carrying the story of grace and we are "baked mud."
The question is not whether we will be challenged -- but when.

As you give, serve, and love -- may you be resilient.  By God's grace and through his strength, because of the treasure we bear, as you love and as you serve, and as you give -- may you live resilient lives.

May you learn:
the art of bouncing back.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Your name is a shelter like no other


Sometimes I just need to whisper his name and I feel a lot better about myself, and about life in general.  You should try it sometime.

I just got done with an approximate one mile run.  In the rain.  It was cold and brutal.  There were hills. There were other pedestrians.  There were cars and red hands telling me when to stop and little white men telling me when to go.  It was brutal.  But I saw a friend on the run (shout out to Zach Rickel!).  I made it home in time before the rain started coming down heavier.

Last night my old housemate, Beth, and I went to an hour worship thing at a local Christian College (Cornerstone) called "Evensong."  It was amazing.  God was so present there.  I literally both laughed and cried.  My God, our God, is so good to us.  Isn't he?  :)

Now on to my daily "to do list" which I will attempt to not let run my life anymore.  Can I get an amen for that?!  ;)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

God's daughter, Emily Alma..

..at your service.  Only not really.  Today I am working on me.  Not being "selfish," but I'm working on boundaries.  Encouragement.  Whatever it is that I need to make it moment to moment, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.  Life is good.

life IS good.  and will be good, again..

There is sun outside today, and I will enjoy it.

Here are two pics from my apartment.  They help me.  Perhaps they will help you too.

Written at my hometown church this past Sunday.

And another:

It says "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."  Psalm 42:2


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Resilience resilience resilience

I want to read a book about Captain Scotty Smiley.  Click this link to take you to Amazon's page about his book.  The book is called "Hope Unseen."  Jeff Manion (pastor at Ada Bible) spoke about Scotty in the first sermon of the series called "The Resilient Life."  Click here to take you to the sermon where you can listen and/or watch the sermon I just listened to.  :)

The sermon was amazing.  The story about Scotty is incredible and gives me hope.  Scotty was/is an active army (I think?) guy.  He became blinded during duty.  He has overcome many many challenges in life and is now a better man.  Because of his faith in an unseen God.  Literally.  And figuratively.  God is so real.  I can feel him.  Can you?  This sermon gave me the chills.  I loved it!  This particular sermon is called "Pressure."  Who hasn't felt pressure on this earth?  I know I have.  Ughh...pressure..

I'm excited that I have a Pilates lesson with my dear friend Lo soon.  Deep breathing and focusing on other things seems to ease the pressure for me.  I just have to take my days moment by moment, minute by minute, hour by hour.  The pressures of life can be so overwhelming sometimes.  Who really cares if my hair is greasy?  At least, that's what I'm telling myself today.  ;)  haha...

Also, on a seemingly unrelated note -- is there anyone out there who might want to read "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge with me as a book study?  I'm going to reread it.  I feel like that would be a good book study to do again.  I did it senior year of high school.  Goodness me, that was a long time ago.  :)  Haha...I'm getting old I feel.  ;)

Something cheerful before I sign off -- who doesn't love a mer-baby once in a while?

Sidenote (if anyone knows I have a blog, ha!) -- for those who know me and might know what I've been struggling with -- please continue to pray for me.  Don't try to figure out what I "need."  Just be my friend.  Thanks.  :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Comfort spills


Here I am -- just me.  And that's all I'm gonna be is me.

I am posting something that I want to share with you!  Check this out:  Click here for the Comfort Spills sermon by my Pastor Jeff Manion, at Ada Bible Church.  It's from January.  But I just listened to it again today.  It's a good one.  Thought I'd share it with you.

In the hard moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years...comfort spills.  Call up a beloved friend or family member.  Or even an imaginary friend:

Calvin & Hobbes -- love these guys!

A quote to remember from the sermon:  "Do not let your suffering go wasted.  Comfort spills.  Morning comes."  And yes, morning does come.  If you choose to let it.

Take from that what you will.  The sermon is excellent.  The series was and is very powerful for me.  I'm hoping to re-listen to it start to finish.  Then re-listen to the ones from the next series "The New You."  I'm gonna keep plugging along as lil ole me -- Miss Emily Alma Carlson.  :)

From the sermon, I loved the camping story with Jeff's friend Ron, i.e. Judas.  I loved laughing about how the tent walls were wet by midnight.  I loved the poetic justice of little kid Jeff burning the survival book to create a fire unsuccessfully.  I love life's ironies.  I love life.  Sometimes it's easy to forget how wonderful the world is.

Lastly, I loved the exercise at the end of the sermon.  You are to choose three people and finish these sentences:

God please strengthen ---
God please strengthen ---
God please strengthen ---

Fill in with names.  Then finish it up with -- God please strengthen me.  So, that being said: God please please strengthen me.  Amen.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lonely Friday turns delightful & thought provoking


Okay, so what - I'm a huge dork!  I'm in my penguin onesie (yes, you read that right!), cleaning my apartment, and watching the first season of Friends again, to go through the series start to finish...again.

I admit it - I'm a dork.  But I could not picture a more pleasant and fun Friday night!  :)  Plus, not only was the last episode I watched hilarious - it was thought provoking for me too!  I feel like you have to see it to understand, and maybe it's just where I'm at in life.

I love the scene where Chandler fumbles before & while he is asking Aurora out.  I love when Rachel cleans for the first time (and is suuuper proud!).  I love Chandler's decision about his "relationship" with Aurora.  I love Monica's "slight" OCD, and her realization of it.  I love when Joey meets his agent, Estelle Leonard.  And Joey as Al Pacino's "butt-double."

..But most of all, I love the very last scene when the friends (minus Monica who's already in bed) are singing and dancing, being silly & just simply being friends.  I love it.

Okay, now I'm getting sappy.  One more episode, then bed for me!  :)

>>Click here to read more from IMDB!

Look how cute Joey is, "acting" with his butt.  Haha!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Upward & Outward

I truly appreciate my church.  Ada Bible Church has helped me throughout the years with so many things, the list is endless.  This is today's daily email.  

I am loving these daily emails to keep my heart and soul in the right place throughout the day.  Maybe it's just me, but these emails have been super helpful to remind me that I serve God, and God alone.  

I do not serve my supervisor at work, not my friends/family/boyfriend.  Certainly, I do not (or should not) serve myself.  I need to serve God first and foremost, and then look outward to those around me.  #upward&outward

Day 4 | Philippians 2.1-11 | The Self-Emptying of Christ

We hold tightly to our identity, our prestige, our pride, and our stuff. But God doesn't. Today, read Philippians 2.1-11, which is known as the Kenosis passage (the "emptying" of God). Jesus opens his hands wide and gives himself freely, first to the Father, and then to us.

Notice what Paul says: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2.5-7, NIV1984). 

Today, go to your time of prayer and open your hands wide to the sky in a symbolic act asking God to make you more like him. Choose to give up your agenda, and instead choose God's. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Conviction to be gracious & generous.

This was the daily email from my church that came into my inbox in the wee hours this morning, while I have been at work.  I love how God is able to use my spare moments between taking calls of abuse and neglect, and my personal stressors, and is able to turn it around to convict me to be generous amid life's trials and tribulations!  My God is so cool.  :)

I also love that Joseph is quoted stating that God sent him to Egypt for his purpose of saving lives, when really it was Joseph's brothers who were sick of him, and sold Joseph into slavery.  What a neat concept and paradigm shift on Joseph's part.  This really makes me want to see "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat."  I've never seen it, but it sounds so cool right about now!

(Until next time) 
Adios mi amigos.  
Te quiero siempre y para siempre.  
Besos y abrazos (=XOXO).


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

3rd shift = time to get back in shape!

3rd shift = time to get back in shape!
So this is one of my reasons for loving third shift work - the slow nights!  haha.  Today we have been fairly slow.  My shifts start at 11:30PM and I'm here until 10AM, four days a week.  There are certain days and times that you can count on it being a bit busier than others.  Tonight we've been fairly slow (knock on wood!).  So...because I've never had a desk job before, and have never sat so long in one place each week in my entire life - I have decided I want to work out while at work!  (why not get paid to get into shape?!)

Today I popped my iPod nano into my back pocket to use the pedometer feature.  I had my headset on in my left ear in case I got a call and would be able to run back to my desk (thus including the possibility of more intense cardio), and I had my iPhone in my other back pocket with a timer running and a sermon I missed popped into my left ear (lots of technology).

I speed walked around the huge room of cubes and every time I passed through a space of openness where the openings of the cubes were, I would do fun things to work out my arms.  For instance:  I clapped my arms above my head; I did swirly motions like a dancer; I punched the space in between the openness like I was doing martial arts.  Needless to say, I had so much fun!

Plus, I finished up listening to a sermon by my pastor, Jeff Manion, that I had started last week.  It was amazing!  Such a great series.  The one I listened to is called "Comfort Spills" from 01/20/13.  Click here to be taken to the media player for Ada Bible's sermons.  :)

Anywho...I should probably go on my "lunch" or whatever.  Thanks for reading!  I love you guys.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

In need of a few house hold items...

Hi friends & family,

As most of you know, I recently moved into a wonderful little studio apartment downtown Grand Rapids.  I am loving it so far and am getting settled in, bit by bit.  I’m super excited as this is the first time I’ve lived alone; however, I am learning that I have hardly any household supplies of my own.  So this brings me to reach out to you!  I just need a few more items to make life a bit easier, and without being too tough on my budget.  If you have one of these items, or know someone who might – please let me know!  This is what I’m looking for at the moment:

*A sturdy ladder (preferably one that’s either small to store, or easy to make cute as my apartment is quite small and the ladder might be “on display” – haha!)

*A small microwave (again, small is preferable as the floor space of my studio is 12x13 feet)

*A queen box spring (I was given a queen mattress from a family at my church, and John’s parents have given me a queen frame, I just need the box spring to make it all work together!)

That’s it for now!  If I find that there are other things that I need and cannot seem to fit into the budget, I will let you know.  Thanks guys!  I love you all and am excited for this new chapter in my life.  You will have to come over for a cup of coffee or a board game sometime.

Side note for my Mom - I will post pictures of my place soon!  It still looks like a tornado hit since the move.  They're coming soon though, hopefully!  Love you.

OH!  Also, if you like free stuff, i.e. jewelry - give me a holler!  I'm struggling to book shows because I don't want to put friends/family in an awkward position.  But if you're looking for a fun "girls' night in" - let me know!  I'm your hook-up.  The new line just came out a couple of weeks ago and there are some adorable pieces.  Anyway, let me know!  Love you all!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Seemingly random postsecret musings...

For whatever reason, I feel motivated "tonight," in the wee hours of the morning (I'm prepping for working third shift Monday night, 11:30AM - 10AM) to respond to various postsecret submissions from this week, one by one as I feel like I want to!

I don't know if any of those people (or anyone in general) will ever actually read this blogpost, but for some reason, this sounds somehow therapeutic at the moment, so I'm going to roll with it.  Feel free to follow along as I share other people's now public secrets and my response to some of them! Huzzah!  #lovesundaysbecauseofpostsecret #actuallyusingmyMSWdegree #hahakindofnotreally

Click here to be taken to the website where these secrets have been originally posted!  They change every week, so check it out soon!

Sometimes drinking a pint at the pub can be therapeutic and a form of meditiation too.  Try not to let alcohol consumption consume your life (hopefully you know that can be really bad in general as well as being bad for your physical health) or be your only form of "stress relief" - also - it might be good to be honest with your spouse and let them know where you're actually at (even if only for the sake of that random emergency when they need you!  But really, it's not easy to build trust in a relationship if you're lying to one another, even if said lie is truly harmless in most aspects, or whatever).  But in general, hanging out at the pub with a pint isn't necessarily a bad thing!  Bottoms up!

P.S.  Maybe if you live nearby & stumble across this post, I'll join you!  I don't like the taste of alcohol personally, but I love hanging out at local breweries:  catching up with old friends or meeting new ones!  Oh the "hazards" of loving being with people, haha, you end up at coffee shops or breweries hoping to meet new friends!  I suppose there are worse things in life.

I just want this "secret giver" to know and be completely aware of the fact that while you might have sexual fantasies about playing out rape scenes sometimes, having those fantasies DOES NOT EVER give anyone, even a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, the RIGHT to take advantage of your body.  I am a firm believer in the fact that if someone says NO or fails to say YES somehow...it is rape.  Hands down.  

While we are on the subject, also I recommend that you:  Take it to court AND press charges.  Do what you have to do to always protect other women from also getting hurt by whoever is doing this to you, or trying to do this to you.  Do you hear me?  You might not win your court case.  In fact, you probably won't (unfortunately).  But - you never know, your neighbor might be experiencing the same thing from this particular guy, and had your neighbor called the cops/pressed charges - you yourself might have been protected without ever knowing it!  This is an example of how stepping up and saying something, to someone, might help out someone else!  You honestly never know.

Be aware of your YESes, your NOs and how your response to things in life just may save someone else from that same trauma happening to them.  I cannot be more clear on the importance of this.  Please write me if you want to talk more.  You can perhaps see that I am quite passionate about this, for my own personal reasons.  If you want to talk more, I'll give you those reasons, but for now, just remember if you don't want to, say something (like no, over and over) or scream or kick or whatever, but somehow, try to indicate NO!  TRULY mean it and follow up if said asshole (pardon my "crude" language or whatever) continues to take advantage of you.  Got it?

I too have gained weight before.  I once gained 60 pounds in a matter of a couple of months (there's a story for you someday, ask if you care to hear!) and lost all sense of who I was and any SHRED of self confidence I ever possessed.  It took me a long long time to slowly gain that confidence back, day by day.  However, the simple fact that you somehow got out of the business of selling your body to whoever wanted it in order to survive, pay the bills or whatever?!  That makes you beautiful and special to me.  And I've never even met you!  Who cares who believes your story or where you came from, or even why you gained weight!  They don't need explanations, really.  You are strong, and you are a survivor.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  Ever.  You are beautiful.

If you care to read this, look up Psalm 45:11.  That short verse got me through many tear-filled moments (I even carried it with me for about a year, written out on a 3x5 card.  I might need to rewrite that.  It's always good to remember that you're beautiful, no matter the circumstances.).  Perhaps you might find it helpful somehow too.  In fact, click here to be taken to a website spelling out that verse!  (saves you time if you're interested in reading it anyway).

I love this, especially following the fact that I had a biopsy done on Friday.  I know I am young and my risk for cancer is very slim.  I also know that my scar will be tiny due to today's technology.  Regardless of this knowledge, I am keenly aware that this tiny scar will someday remind me of my life's story (regardless of the diagnosis!) and how I have had many friends and family and strangers support me along the way, whatever I might be dealing with/struggling with at the time.

Ask me about my last MONTH and I can give you like 5 instances of support and love in a matter of seconds.  Seriously.  It's kind of a fun thing really, my life lately.  Fun in the sense of being truly awful at times (seemingly unbearable), praying that my mind will stop racing with to do lists, and that I will stop crying, but fun knowing that people around me actually care about me.  Seriously ask, I'd love to share.  (I might post about this soonish, but who knows when I might get around to that, haha).

This image and secret intrigued me.  I don't know what this person's secret might be, or why they married someone other than their soul mate...but regardless of all that, I am encouraged by the fact that because "it's how it needs to be" might mean that they made a "good choice" in some way, and because of that, they give me hope for our future on this earth, collectively speaking.  Props to you for "making the right choice" and therefore giving me some hope!

(Answering phone calls from Michigan residents, reporting abuse/neglect issues, 40 hours a week...can be truly exhausting at times, and make one feel a bit hopeless about humanity at the end of each shift - so thanks for the "pick me up!"  I wish this secret submitter all the best!)

And to this I simply say, "Amen!"

Thanks guys, whoever might stumble across this post!  Thanks for allowing me the space to do that.  Perhaps that might become a weekly thing, who knows.  It truly was therapeutic, in a weird way.  For me anyway.  

Also I want to leave potential readers with this before I "sign off" for the night:

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I leave you with that, not assuming you believe, but hoping that by reading that, perhaps you might be given some sort of hope.  Also I want to share a link to this past weekend's sermon from my church home (Click to be taken my church's website!) about something that really struck a chord in my life personally (I may or may not have cried throughout both the worship AND the sermon.  Shout out to John Lawless, my amazing boyfriend and best friend, who consoled me throughout, held my hand and offered to run grab me Kleenex or whatever I might need during this time in my life; I seriously love this man SO much.  I don't think he has any clue quite how much I love & appreciate him.  Haha.).  Click the following hyperlink to be taken to the part of the church's website where they give links to download past sermons for free: CLICK ME!!! (I don't know when the sermon from 1/12 and 1/13 will be posted, but there's lots of good stuff on here to check out until it does get posted!)

Okay, adios for now!  I love you all.  :)  

{And also want to nicely inform you that it's my birthday on Thursday.  Give me a shout out as I celebrate turning really old!!! (25)  Haha!  Also if you did want to get in touch with me, for whatever reason, just maybe leave a comment with your email address, and at some point, I'll shoot you an email saying "hey hey!" or something random, lol.}