Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ramblings from my heart

My heart and mind are pulled in so many directions each and everyday.  Some days and weeks they go into overtime.  This would be one of those weeks.

Ever since reading this post over at A Deeper Story my mind has gone into overtime on how I am using my time and money.  How do I find the balance between giving to the poor and needy, giving to the local church, donating items to those in need (i.e. food pantry), saving up money to be more financially sound and prepared for the future, give gifts to those I love, spend money on travel to see those I love, volunteer locally, consider spending money to go on mission trips, and finally, once in awhile buy things that I enjoy and are just fun?  How do I make financially wise and sound decisions and also live by faith and give generously to those in need? My heart aches to support a child through Compassion and/or World Vision: my savings account could really use some more money.  My mind and heart are at war on this one.  

Joy's post on her trip to Bolivia echoed so much of what is in my heart.  In our American culture it is so easy to complain about the things I don't have (even if it is just in my head: I hate complaining aloud!).  If only I had more or cuter or nicer clothes (when my closet is already full), a better vacuum, a working mixer in the kitchen, a car that I actually owned (so grateful for the Infiniti that has been provided for me to use until at least next year!), on the list goes throughout each week.  Slowly, God is helping me change my thinking.  I've been working on focusing on what I do have, not what I don't have.  

Orphaned children in Bolivia, Ariel, 12, (white jacket) and Erlinda, 11, (blue jacked) with their gift catalog ducks.
(Copyright 2011 Jon Warren/World Vision)

And then I see a photo like the one above over on Joy's blog or elsewhere.  Tears well up in my eyes and I am so convicted, so burdened.  The joy in their faces over receiving a single duck strikes me hard.  These children have so very, very little.  And I'm concerned about having one more cute skirt or getting a frappe at Starbucks?  There is nothing wrong with a cute skirt or Starbucks.  But I must have perspective, Christ's perspective.  He came to give everything He had to others.  He had no thought for Himself.  He came to minister to the poor and needy, the outcast of society.   My greatest heart's desire is to follow in His footsteps.  I look forward to where those footsteps lead in His time and His way.  Right now I don't have a clue where they'll take me.  But I know He does and that gives me excitement and peace.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

Sunday, June 26, 2011


This weekend's weather has been beyond gorgeous!  After lots of rain it's especially appreciated. :)  Yesterday we had two wedding receptions (way fun!) one of which was outdoors and it was just perfect outside!  Today my friend and I took advantage of the beautifulness and went canoeing.  It was a blast.  It was also a bit interesting since neither of us have gone much.  Picture zig-zagging canoe that is supposed to be going straight: that was us.  

Even thought it's been lacking in the sleep department, it's been a wonderfully relaxing weekend full of fun and laughter!  And since it's been awhile since I posted anything from my "gifts list", here are a few (or more than a few) samples from the past few months.

109. fruit loops
117. wonderful time of worship & hearing the Word
121. little bro's first basketball game!
128. spaghetti & meatballs dinner with family
129. sparkling clean car
136. comfort food (creamy potato soup)
142. snicker's ice cream, rolos, twizzlers, and mike & ike's
144. great girls' day shopping in Rockford
167. more supplements hiding in the cupboard - saves $$!
169. six Culver's frozen custard flavors - thanks Dad!
174. super orange Emergen-C
196. favorite comfy jeans, shirt, and sweatshirt to wear
197. awesome plaid socks!
198. fun baking with the little sis
206. 26 years of life given to my "biggest bro"
207. worshipping our amazing Savior as the body of Christ

Friday, June 24, 2011


My family and I had an amazingly FUN and relaxing time in the upper peninsula of Michigan last week.  My mom's whole side of the family was up there and we all just hung out in the nicest cabins around at the nicest resort around (thanks Grandma!).  Our week was filled with tons of laughter, food (!!), soccer and basketball games (even the "old" people played!), swimming, soaking in the hot tub, playing cards, fishing, kayaking, playing with the kiddos, talking up a storm, harassing each other to no end (wouldn't be a Van Gent gathering without it!), and just being family.  The time was beyond precious and I am so grateful for it.  We lived in a little bubble of heaven.  Thank you, Jesus.

Bubby!  My fav little guy!


All the adult cousins went to Mackinac Island for a day.  Way fun!
The lake was so blue!

Trying on funky hats in one of the shops! 

And we got Starbucks...cuz you can't get it just anywhere! ha! 
(We also got Mackinac fudge and Mackinac hoodies, just for the record.)







Sunday, June 5, 2011

black spiders

I am beginning to think I should have a page dedicated to black spiders.  They seem to have dedicated their lives to haunting me in and around my bed until I kill them one by one.  Today I have killed seven.  Right directly by my bed.  All BEFORE they crawled into my bed, crawled all over me, and woke me up with a bang (or a tickle as the case may be).  Who needs an alarm clock when one has black spiders?  Now I can handle spiders.  As long as they're NOT in my bed and as long as they're NOT too huge and fat.  I'm not the kind of girl who screams when she sees one on the ceiling, in the corner, or by the washing machine. I am the kind of girl who gets a bit ticked when they're in my bed.  

One of my guy friends has been calling me Spidergirl for years.  Maybe word finally got to the spiders that I'm Spidergirl.  Maybe that was his evil plot all along.   Maybe he's the one who gave them my address.  Heaven help me if that's the case and this is just the beginning.  Maybe I should say heaven help him.  He should be glad he lives in a different state.

The purpose of this post?  I have no idea.  It has even less of a point than my randomness post a few months ago.  If anyone wants some black spiders, just drop me a note.  I'll be nice and give them to you for FREE.  I'm generous like that.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Penny Film

I am currently sitting at a booth in Naperville, IL, surrounded by copies of The Penny, filling in for my brother Nathan while he is lecturing on filmmaking at a conference in Indiana.  I am so incredibly proud of him and all of Filmweavers and can't wait for the showing of the film tonight at 7:00!