Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What is the best place to live in the USA?

Where is the best place to live in the USA? I am looking for a place that has reasonable real estate and cost of living, plenty of cultural opportunities and a university community. Any ideas?

I have heard that Charlottesville, VA is the best small college town, but I've never been. Does anyone know what it's like?

Tell me, where would you live if you could live anywhere? Where do you live right now? Is it my dream place?

Please comment:-)

Micah Girl

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Selah is my new favorite word

Selah--the lovely mystery word from the psalms that punctuates so many of them. As I pray through the psalms these days it is one of my favorite words. Although it wasn't mysterious to the original hearers, it is to us, and for that reason it seems to be able to express that which I cannot express with my words--it expresses the work of the Spirit in my heart. Selah. (And it makes me smile.)

Some highlights for me from my bible reading today:

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.

Our God is a God who saves;
from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. Psalm 68:19,20

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and he who wins souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30

Friday, March 24, 2006

Planet Micah Girl

Here's the latest meme that is going to skyrocket around the internet: Planet (insert your name here.) Name a "Planet" store after yourself and include a list of what would be on sale inside. It's the Friday Five today.

Welcome to Planet Micah Girl

Aisle 1: Caffeinated hot drinks: strong coffee, Earl Grey teas, green teas, Irish breakfast tea, all properly served with milk and no sugar.

Aisle 2: Indian food: specially prepared by my personal chef including plenty of hot, steaming poori bread.

Aisle 3: Belly laughs: classic comedies on DVD, comic novels, private jokes shared with old friends, and a high quality improv comedy troupe

Aisle 4: Romance: everything necessary for a hot date with my husband including a babysitter, a cute outfit, a large chunk of free time, scintillating conversation and passionate glances from my one and only.

Aisle 5: Sleep: a luxurious bed with soft cotton sheets, a down comforter, plush pillows, an excellent reading lamp, a pile of good books and magazines, and, of course, plenty of room for my darling husband.

What's on your planet?

Micah Girl

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

God's still small voice this morning

A portion of this morning's One Year Bible reading:
Luke 5:12-28
The Man With Leprosy
12While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[a] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

14Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Lord, if you are willing...
What a powerful way to begin a prayer. Total dependence. 100% trust. Complete submission. Lord, if you are willing...

And then, what joy!, a touch from Jesus Himself and his voice in your ears--"I am willing!"

I have been praying this way this morning and am listening for His still small voice in my heart and anticipating his touch on my life.

I am also reminded that this early morning time is so precious because Jesus himself often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. When I am up with Him, I am in good company.

Micah Girl

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Highlights of a conversation I just had...

Psalm 62

1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

11 One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.

Micah Girl

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fear and trembling in marriage

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

If marriage is a picture of Jesus and the church (the bridegroom and his bride) and if once we are saved it is secure and yet at the same time we must work out the day-to-day salvation with fear and trembling, why should marriage be different?

Once we commit ourselves to one another--we are married--it is decided. To stay married, however, and to grow in oneness requires working at it on a daily basis, with intensity, intimacy and intentionality. A little fear and trembling works well for both our relationship with God and our relationship with our spouse. This commitment is important; it must succeed--I will make it my priority so that it will become all that it is meant to be.

Micah Girl

Friday, March 17, 2006

Spring Break of my dreams

Friday Five: My dream Spring Break

2nd honeymoon with my husband

Somewhere tropical with fresh mangoes falling off the trees at our feet

Swimming in the ocean

Napping in hammocks

Plenty of time to sleep, to enjoy and to be alone with my one true love.

Maybe next year for our 10th anniversary???

(Are you reading this my love?)

Micah Girl

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

One More Reason To Keep Waking Up Early

"In the calmness of the morning before the mind is hearted and wearied by the turmoil of the day, you have a season of unusual importance for communion with God and with yourself."

William Wilberforce

(Thanks to Gordon MacDonald in the Leadership Journal Newsletter.)

Micah Girl

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pep Talk To Self

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:7-8

Spiritual disciplines are all about training myself to be godly, just like weight training and cardio workouts are training my body to be lean and healthy. Fitness, whether spiritual or physical, is a daily commitment to faithfulness, a series of small right decisions, whether or not I have an immediate payback. I choose to get up early, pray, read through the One Year Bible and meditate on what God has done, even if I would rather roll over and go to sleep. I stretch out my muscles, do repetitions with free weights, and move to get my heart rate increased, even if it would be easier to go blog-surfing and drink another cup of coffee. And afterwards my heart is stronger, my day is more purposeful, and my outlook is brighter because of both of the valuable training exercises.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Micah Girl

Friday, March 10, 2006

Never, never, never give up

The night before last, my 4 year old was up in the night, and I ended up sleeping in her bed to quiet her so that my husband could sleep. The next morning, I overslept, missed my workout, and felt sluggish and had a headache all day. It was a gray and rainy day.

Today, after a good night's rest I put in a 25 minute strength training workout this morning with my exercise ball and free weights and figured I'd call it a day. Then at noon time while taking a break from school with the kids, I decided to do a cardio workout for 35 minutes. I feel SO much better. I never realized that I could actually get addicted to exercise.

My workouts have been daily since the beginning of the year. People have noticed I look thinner. I still have not dropped a pound. I found this reassuring article which I have excerpted below:
The goal is to consume as many calories as you can while still losing body fat and maintaining or gaining lean muscle. If your calories are already below normal, don’t restrict them further. Instead stick with your current amount and focus on becoming stronger and more active, so you can gradually increase your calories to a normal healthy level. If your calorie intake is already in a healthy range, decrease it only slightly, and only if necessary. A small reduction of about 250 calories a day, or 10-15 percent less than usual, is more likely to protect your lean muscle and less likely to trigger a slow-down in your metabolism.

Following this type of routine, it’s possible to gain about one pound of muscle per week and lose about one pound of fat per week. The end result is that the number on the scale might not move much at all, it may even go up. Your clothes will get loser and your self-esteem will sky-rocket. Yet the number on the scale won't budge!?!?! It's at this point that a lot of people will chuck the weight training because they don't understand the physiology of what's happening.

The truth is that when you're strength training it's possible to get smaller and heavier at the same time. Muscle is a much denser tissue than fat. A pound of muscle is like a little chunk of gold, while a pound of fat is like a big fluffy bunch of feathers. The fat takes up more space on your body. At this point, it's best to toss out the bathroom scale and rely on the way you look and the way your clothes fit. The scale can be misleading and discourage you when you're actually doing great.

So, since I feel better, look better and sleep better, I will not give up. I know this is getting repetitive, but I want to maintain this physical discipline. At this point it is actually an exercise in faith for me, because I am doing the work without immediately seeing the rewards on the scale. But faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things seen, and I trust that my leaner, healthier body is on her way.

Micah Girl

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I have been reminded of the simplest of spiritual principles in the past week. It is ask. And keep on asking...

Ask God for what I need.
Ask God for transformation.
Ask God to be with me.
Ask God to guide me right into the center of His will.
Ask God to reveal Himself to those who don't yet know Him.
Ask God to clean house in my heart.

I want to be where God wants me to be and faithful to fulfill what He asks of me.

Simple. A simple discipline. That is the theme of my year.

Micah Girl

Monday, March 06, 2006

Lorica of St. Patrick (much more Irish than green beer!)

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Working out with the Self Challenge

I love the Self Challenge. I have been charting my workouts and the calories burned. It is very encouraging! One of these weeks, I will start dropping pounds, but in the meantime, I am stronger and happier.

Total workout minutes last week: 260
Cardio minutes: 205
Strength minutes: 55

Total calories burned last week: 2220

So far this week with 2 more days to go...

Total workout minutes this week: 228
Cardio minutes this week: 148
Strength minutes this week: 80

Total calories burned this week: 2293

I need to burn 3500 calories a week to lose a pound a week. I will prevail.

Micah Girl

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Discipline of time

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He
has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the
hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I
know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while
they live.
Ecclesiastes 3:10-12

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Lowborn men are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie;
if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
Psalm 62:8-9

As I have been praying for God to give me a Lenten discipline, I have been receiving suggestions from some friends in the blogosphere including LutheranChik and Bald Man Blogging for which I am grateful. I have also been reading Karen Mains' book, Open Heart, Open Home, which I picked up on a whim last week. I have known Karen Mains' name for years, but have never read her work before. This is not fluffy Christian stuff--it is a surprisingly profound book on the the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and hospitality as a spiritual discipline.

She has been challenging me to look at my days in a fresh way. To remember that every moment of every day belongs to God. My home belongs to God. My every breath is God's. Inspired by her deep walk with Jesus, I want to take on a Lenten discipline of time. I don't exactly know how to articulate this, but I want to grow in the use of my minutes and my hours and start each day off giving them back to God. As I start each day, I will pray for God to order my day according to His plan, and I will meditate on scriptures that illuminate God's view of time.

As the day progresses, I will be mindful of how I am spending this precious gift. Instead of just letting things happen, I will seek to be sure that my priorities are in order and that I am not letting my minutes evaporate into nothing. This does not mean that every moment must be busy. On the contrary, I believe I will spend more time in silence, in meditation and in listening to God.

This Lent I want to reflect on my time and my place and hear from God what He would have me do.


Micah Girl

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blessed Ash Wednesday

From one of the bloggers I have read the longest since I entered the blogosphere: Tod Bolsinger's post Dirty Foreheads.

Repentance is literally to “change your mind.” In the famous words of Dallas Willard, “To reconsider your strategy for living based on the news of God’s Kingdom that is available in Jesus.” And that is what Lent is for, to reconsider your strategy for living. To begin a new process of deep consideration and reflection about your life. To reconsider what it means to follow Jesus, to plumb the mystery of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. To reconsider what your strategy for living should be, based on this good news.

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