only help my unbelief

No fitness, but lots of links
August 29, 2008, 2:25 pm
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Well, as I said at the beginning of the week, I wasn’t promising much in the way of posts. This week has been busy with babysitting, job hunting and one pretty fun Carolina football game that I wasn’t expecting to get to go to.

In two hours or so I’ll be heading up to Tennessee with Christian for Labor Day. We’re excited to get to spend time with his mom and stepdad and with all his friends from school and church.

I have a lot of posts in the works, but for today, I’m going to point you to some stuff from around the web that I’ve found really, really interesting.

* McCain announced his VP pick today – Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska. Back in April, before she was on any radar whatsoever, Al Mohler wrote a post about her son, Trig, who they chose to have even though they knew he had Down’s syndrome. It’s a compelling story that flies in the face of everyone who not only believes in abortion, but those who believe in selective abortion.

* The Boundless blog is running a series of posts by David Powlison about mental disorders and medication. Read part 1, part 2 and part 3, then read a clarification Powlison wrote today. I really appreciate this series, because two years ago I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and the remedy most people recommended was just to take medicine. It was a decision I struggled with for a long time. I think it’s important for every Christian to read posts like these in order to love and serve their brothers and sisters in Christ better.

* Finally, if you haven’t read it yet, check out Donald Miller’s opening prayer at the Democratic National Convention earlier this week. I’d be interested to know what you think.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, a blessed Lord’s day, and a relaxing Labor Day. I’ll see you Tuesday!


Sometimes God takes away just to show you how much He can give
August 25, 2008, 9:18 pm
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As I mentioned this morning/afternoon, I’m looking for a job. The weekend was spent on an emotional and spiritual rollercoaster. I would go from solid contentment in the Lord to feeling a bit stressed to all-out panic over not having a job – then back again.

This morning, it was hard to get out of bed, mostly because I knew the number one thing on my agenda was to hit the Internet, make phone calls, send e-mails, and have to do a lot of asking people if they knew anyone who might know anyone who knew of an opportunity. Somewhere.

I hate that. I hate feeling like I need to take something from others (which is probably a sign of a bigger problem).

It really, really hurt on Friday when I found out that I didn’t get the job I really wanted. God took that away from me.

I honestly don’t understand why I didn’t get the job – like most things between me and God. I had applied for that job after giving up another job that had already been offered to me. I felt like I was taking a big leap of faith, and I guess I was expecting God to reward me for it.

But that’s not how God works. Ours isn’t a works-based righteousness. We can do everything or nothing, and God’s grace ultimately depends on His character and His mercies.

I made one phone call this morning, and the person whom I called called me back at least four times, asking questions and checking in with me about how she could help.

Another friend whom I babysit for called Saturday to see how I was doing, and promised to call me whenever they need a babysitter until I get a job – and to pray for me.

This afternoon I got a phone call back from one of the businesses I called to come in to talk over some things with them next week.

Yesterday at church, two people remembered that I was looking for a job and promised to pray for me.

Tonight I got a call from someone I’ve never met, to babysit for their family. A good friend had given her my name because my friend knew I didn’t have a job right now.

And just now, when I sat down at my computer to continue the job hunt process, I had an email from someone offering to hire me to do some editing work.

As I am writing all this, I’m on the verge of tears. Friday I was close to asking God, “How could You take all that away?” Today, all my heart can think is, “God, how can You give me so much?”

If you’re one of the people I anonymously mentioned, you know who you are, and please know that I am overwhelming with praise to the Lord for your encouragement and support. My cup is overflowing.

Sometimes motivation doesn’t come so easily
August 25, 2008, 1:50 pm
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If you’ve been keeping up with my blog for long, you probably wondered where I was over the weekend. I had a record of posting every day for almost three months, but life got in the way Friday, keeping me from my streak.

I found out Friday that I didn’t get the job I had applied for the week before. I spent the weekend with my family and Christian, enjoying their company and the Lord’s day and trying not to think about the fact that I don’t have a job. This morning, I woke up and set to work making phone calls, writing e-mails and going through job databases.

It’s wearisome, and each cover letter I write has to be bathed in prayer before I can finish it, because otherwise I just don’t have the strength.

I don’t know how much I’ll be posting over the next couple weeks. I’m putting all my energy into the job search, and what’s left is going toward babysitting for several sweet families who have me at the top of their sitter lists until I find a job.

I read this passage from Psalm 4 yesterday, and since I don’t have any wise words, I must look to God’s Word for all of my motivation:

Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the LORD.
“There are many who say,
Who will show us any good?”
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Fitness Friday: Finally!
August 22, 2008, 8:00 am
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Yeah, it’s been awhile, mostly because I haven’t had much fitness to write about.

The last two weeks have been better, but not much better. I’ve been going to the gym, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t lost any weight.

It’s hard, friends. It’s really hard. I’m living at home now, where People Who Have Money (also referred to, at times, as Mom and Dad) buy things like ice cream and cookies and yummy snacks. It isn’t that I’ve suddenly developed a taste for such things; it’s that when I lived alone, I only spent money on the necessities. I didn’t think it would be so hard – but it is. The self-control has been pretty much lacking. Completely.

But I have been going to the gym. My mom and I have gone to the ZUMBA class at the gym three times, and it gets better every time. It’s a solid hour of cardio exercise, and it’s a good way to break up the monotony of running.

I’ve gone to the gym twice this week. I’m going today with my mom to do pilates, and I hope that tomorrow Christian and I will be able to go together. My strength training is actually going quite well. The running is going OK. The eating – which I think is the culprit – is, like I said, not so great.

But next week is another week. And I’m going to keep relying on the grace of God as I fight against the deceptions of my body that say another bowl of ice cream won’t make a difference. Too bad it tastes so good.

To myself four years ago
August 21, 2008, 4:20 pm
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Dear 2004 Chelsey,

You’re a mix of anxious and eager today. Anxious because you don’t know what college will hold, and eager because you’re really excited about what college might hold.

If I tell you that four years from today, you’ll be looking for a job and babysitting a whole lot in the meantime, you probably won’t believe me – and maybe that’s for the best. ‘Cause you really need to stop living so far ahead of yourself and God’s grace that He promises for each new morning.

Even though this first year will be tough, don’t worry. It gets better from then on. Some of the people you meet this year will still be your friends in four years. And some of the ones you meet this year that you expect to be friends with forever won’t really be around in four years, but that’s OK. God has hand-picked a group of girls to be your bosom friends, and they will stick closer than sisters to you.

God has something really huge lined up for you in this first month. You won’t see it as good, and when it happens it will feel like the worst thing ever, but in four years, a couple of scars on your forehead will still be daily reminders of the night you got hit in the head with a vase and thought you were going to go blind, and instead, God opened the eyes of your heart to His glorious sovereignty.

You won’t go blind, but you will struggle with a lot of other things. I know you think you’re going to have a perfect 4.0 through college, and I know you think that would be the very best thing, but getting a B+ in one of your classes this first semester might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.

On the romantic relationship horizon, there seem to be crushes everywhere. That’s because you’re 18 and in college, and suddenly there are so many more options. Wait, though. Even though it seems like having a boyfriend is the best thing ever, especially when it seems like everyone else is dating someone, it will be better to wait until it’s The One and you’ve never have dated anyone else.

You’re not going to heed my advice, but because God is bigger than you-in-four-years, He will redeem every sorrow you bring upon yourself through a relationship with a boy. You won’t feel it at the time, but when you look back on it, you’ll realize that God really did catch every tear that you cried on those late nights out on the Horseshoe by yourself.

And take some chances, girl. Once you graduate, you’ll realize that college is a remarkably burden-free time, and you’ll wish you could do it again.

Smile at people when you walk by them. Don’t come up with ways to avoid eye contact, like pretending your phone is ringing.

Don’t be afraid to call people to hang out. Maybe they’re a lot like you and are waiting for you to call them.

When you first hear about somebody who met their significant other online, don’t laugh so hard. You try so hard not to be portrayed as a nerd, and at the end of your sophomore year, you’re going to be able to relate to those people really really well.

Enjoy nights out at Moe’s with your girlfriends, because they’ll end sooner than you think.

And don’t forget that God loves you. He really does. And it’s not because you were valedictorian of your high school, or because you got lots of scholarships to school, or because you make really good grades this year. He loves you because He loves you. You’re not going to learn that overnight, and you still won’t know it well in four years, but start telling reminding yourself of that, because one day, it’s all you’re going to have to hold onto.


2008 Chelsey

Rachael Ray’s Pizzagna
August 20, 2008, 5:00 am
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I got this recipe from Rachael Ray’s website. You can read the original recipe here; I’m going to list the ingredients I actually used, because I’m all about making things simpler.

Ultimately, this might be better than pizza or lasagna. If nothing else, it’s super cheesy, and that’s a good reason to make something.

1 pound pasta curls (I used a hollow, swirly kind; any kind of short pasta should work)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Handful parsley
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 green pepper, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced
1 onion, quartered then thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
12 mushrooms, thinly sliced
Black pepper
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
1/2 pound shredded mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Pre-heat broiler.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the water boils, combine ricotta, parmesan, parsley and pepperoni in a large bowl.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Add peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 6-8 minutes until tender. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and reduce heat to low.

Add a ladle of the water the pasta was cooked in to the ricotta mixture just before you drain the pasta. Drain pasta then toss with ricotta mixture. Pour pasta into baking dish and top with peppers, onion and mushroom sauce. Top with a layer of mozzarella, oregano and red pepper flakes. Place under hot broiler and melt cheese until golden and bubbly (about 5 minutes).

Rachael Ray says to “remove and serve with crusty bread,” so I did. Yum.

Movie review: I, Robot
August 19, 2008, 5:00 am
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I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to movies. And Christian tends to be a much harsher critic than me.

But on this one, the tables turned. Christian liked it more than he thought he would; I liked it less than I expected.

The premise is similar to one of star Will Smith’s other movies, I am Legend (which I loved). But in this one, he lives in a world of robots with millions of humans who trust the robots implicitly. Smith’s character, Detective Spooner, doesn’t trust the robots and thinks they’re out to get him.

After the renowned scientist at the leading producer of robots apparently commits suicide, Spooner is called to investigate. He is immediately suspicious, especially when he discovers a robot in the room where the scientist last was.

The rest of the movie is full of twists and turns as Spooner tries to find out why the scientist died and who killed him.

It’s an action movie with the token car chase (which is actually terrifying, since Smith’s character is being chased by robots). There is very little blood (since most of those suffering are made of metal), but there is a fair amount of violence and suspenseful scenes.

That said, what should have been the most suspenseful scene had me losing my interest. I found myself petting the dog and chatting with one of my sisters, really not caring so much how the movie ended.

And that’s about all I have to say about the movie. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t that great either.