Wednesday, January 26, 2011

‘member that time?

Here I go copying Paige again.  I hope she doesn’t beat me up.


‘member that time when Dad came home from a trip and brought us all canes and member how we played right by the stairway with them, but Tanya and I cheated so we wouldn’t fall down the stairs and member how Teri never cheated and she fell all the way down to the landing and got mad at us? Member that? I always thought that was weird.

*explanation for those of you who asked: Ok, Ok, so if you are not a Twedt sister, you probably don’t know what were playing with our canes and so you are confused as to why Teri fell down the stairs.  Well, we were playing BLIND.  I mean what else do you play with canes? I think it is pretty logical, but I am sorry for any confusion this may have caused all of you non-Twedt siblings.

(link up to Paige’s ‘member that time at

Monday, January 24, 2011


“Satan tries to lull us with the sweet smell and steady thrum of worldliness.” 

-from Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild  by Mary Kassian

Like the constant dripping of a leaky faucet, we are steadily inundated with the images, the suggestions, the lies of this world. 


Over and over, we expose ourselves to selfish thinking, greed, pride and immorality. 


Again and again, images that offend our Father come before our eyes. Because we have not intentionally chosen the way of the Holy, the way of the world becomes our default.


Because we are undisciplined, lazy, and satisfied with just existing, we neglect the Glory of God by our forgetfulness.


With our unfocused eyes and desire for ease, we think it too hard to pursue our Creator.


We use the health, the money, the power He gives to esteem ourselves.


The charms of this world dangle in front of our eyes, hypnotizing, mesmerizing, numbing, convincing.




And we sit content. We have forgotten our First Love who shed his blood for us.


“My son, pay attention to what I say;
   listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
   keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
   and health to a man’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
   for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
   keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
   fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
   and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
   keep your foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:20-27


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wanna Race?

Why is it that we can work so much harder when we compete with someone?  What is it about competition that allows our mind to free the body to go further and faster than we thought possible?

This morning in boot camp, we had a little competition.  If the person in back of you passed you by, they got a point, and if you did the same, you got a point.  We did all sorts of weird things like shuffle through tires , hopscotch through a ladder, step up and down from a platform, and hop on our hands and one leg.  It was grueling.  And doable, I found, because of the competition.  I shuffled harder, hopscotched faster, and stepped and hopped longer because I didn’t want the guy behind me to get a point.

I wanted to win.  And this desire to win allowed my mind to bypass the pain and exhaustion my body was experiencing.  For a few short moments in time, my sweaty self was free of the demands my mind normally placed upon it.  The boundaries of how much I could do and how much pain I could tolerate were temporarily suspended by my desire for success. 

I have experienced this phenomena before when challenged and it always amazes me how much more I have to give—even when I feel like I am empty.  That sudden surge of ability is directly correlated to how much I desire to be excellent.  And I am equally amazed at how much my mind limits me in the name of “protection”.  My mind tries to convince me that I have done enough and I need to stop or I might experience pain or uncomfortableness or inconvenience. 

Isn’t that exactly how we are when God asks us to step out of our comfy little lives and get involved in this scary world?  Instead of jumping into God’s will with both feet, we give him excuses of why this is too hard, and why that is uncomfortable, and how this makes us feel like we can’t breath. 

Shouldn’t we be spurring each other on, by our love and our good deeds?  Shouldn’t this little bit of “competition” of outdoing each other in kindness make us be able to bypass our faulty perceptions of our own comfort?  Shouldn’t our desire to be a good and faithful servant allow us to go faster and farther and harder—beyond where we could ever ask or imagine? 

I think so.  Let’s do it!

Wanna race?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

‘member that time?

I totally copied this idea from my good friend, Paige, since she has a regular ‘member that time’ feature on her blog.  Anyway, I liked it so much I decided to shake things up a bit on the blog front and do somethin’ a little different.  Once a week, I will try to post something that’s been sittin’ in brain awhile—somethin’ I’ve thinkin’ about for a looooong time… 

Here goes:

'member that time when the gerbil died in the winter and our foster brother Bruce,was babysitting us? And member how he didn't know what to do with it when it was dead and he put it down the garbage disposal and it sounded really crunchy for a long time? Member that? It made me have bad dreams. I miss my crunched up gerbil.


See my inspiration here and link to add your own ‘member when’ :

Thanks, Paige!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Beginning

Hey Y’all ! (That’s for you, Bruce)

Well, we didn’t have snow day on Tuesday, but we did have a late start, which is kind of a treat—not quite as luscious as a full day off, but still yummy.

So, I’ve been kind of stressing about my blog lately.  If you haven’t noticed, new posts—written by me—have been lacking. I don’t know why my creativity is hiding, but I have some ideas:

It could be that I don’t stay up late in those creative, quiet night time hours anymore-- And the reason for my early bedtime is my early arising (4:20 am) for boot camp at 5 in the morning.  Boot camp is great, but it makes me eat like a man.

It could be that my quiet times in the Word have not been very quiet or introspective lately. Luke is still on break and the girls have been home at odd times because of finals at AHS.  Only Cole has attending school regularly.  My routine has not become routine yet in 2011.

It could be because I haven’t been reading very many good books lately.  Sometimes good books really help me to put meat on the things that God is teaching me in the Bible.  I have read The Wind the Willows and Of Mice and Men in the last few weeks, but those don’t count because they were just for fun.

I don’t know.

Regardless of the reason, my desert (not dessert—that would probably make me feel better) is kinda bringing me down.  And I was thinking, “God, I started this blog as a way to teach others what you have taught me, and now I’m not helping anyone.” 

And then, just after I was lamenting these very things to a friend, God prompted my cousin to call me. And encourage me. And to say that the blog was ministering to him.  He said that his word for 2011 was “REACT”.  When he heard God telling him something, he said he was going to react by doing it right away.  Well, he reacted when prompted…and I was blessed—so blessed.  Thanks, Bruce.

Now, that, my friends, is the sweetness of God.  God chose to encourage me when I was feeling down just because HE loves me.  He chose to show me that He could teach and minister to people through my blog when I wasn’t especially purposeful or even present.  He can work when I cannot .  He wants to love me up just ‘cause I’m His child.  So cool.  So sweet.  So God.

So there it is—a blog post—written and completed.  Maybe not my most beautiful, but it’s a start—a new beginning.  And it feels good.

Praise God.

 He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Revelation 22:13

Monday, January 10, 2011


You know that kind of happy feeling you get when you open the dryer to check on your clothes and they're not quite dry yet?  It's kind of a reprieve--like you don't have to be responsible and fold those clothes just yet--you have a little bit of freedom left.  You know that you WILL have to fold those clothes eventually, but for right now, you can't 'cause they're still too wet.  Doesn't that just make you feel happy sometimes--and kind of sneaky too since you got a few extra minutes to do whatever you want?

Anyway, that's kind of how I feel about snow days.  They are a kind of reprieve.  They are an "I just can't make it today because I am snowed in" kind of day.  They just make me feel kind of all happy and smug inside. A snow day is a legal "I shirked my responsibilities today, but that's OK" kind of day.  

What a gift!  Kind of like not quite dry laundry.

I hope tomorrow is a snow day.

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

Psalm 118:24

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Beginning (by Luke)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

The beginning of college was really interesting for me. While I was still in Ames and working, in the weeks leading up to me leaving, I couldn’t sleep. Those were the nights I sent out mass emails at three in the morning. I don’t know exactly what it was, some implicit excitement, constant anticipation.

I don’t know really what I was expecting, but college sure wasn’t it. I felt disappointed, and for the first few days basically just holed up in my room. I forced myself to go outside and pick up my textbooks from the university book store. I rode my bike, it was raining. Afterward I got lost, really lost. I eventually made it back, but I faced the thought of eating supper alone or with people I didn’t know. When I got through Burge, I looked around for a corner to sit down by myself and hide, but instead I overcame my great introversion and sat down with three Chinese guys. We talked and it really reminded me of China. This became a habit, sitting down with random Chinese people, and though it did not become any easier, I found myself doing it more and more. It yielded 20 new Facebook friends, a database of 13 friends, with info (so I could remember who they were) and I got to personally invite probably one third of all English Club students.

The first 7am Monday prayer was amazing. We started at the Pentacrest. We prayer walked around campus, by the Blue Moose and ended up at the Danforth Chapel. Almost as if interrupted, James  promptly sat down and started playing the piano. He played Always by Switchfoot with a passion that can scarcely be portrayed more beautifully. “Always, I am always, I am always yours.” It rang from the song. We got down on our knees and prayed the Lord’s Prayer. I can tell you, there is no better way to start a day.

Then, the first Salt Company. I invited Alan and Yichen. The music was loud, we were excited and Jeff spoke on “The Problem of God”. He laid out who God is and asked what we were going to do with that. Alan came up to me afterward and told me that he did not believe in what was said, but could he please come back? One of the last songs was “Oh How He Loves Us”. I cried that aloud to God for a whole bunch of people in my life. A well of emotion was released by that song, because it is true, and that is who God is.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Learning that I cannot, in fact, have it all (by Luke)

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 (NLT

As I arrived at college I was surrounded by a whole bunch of new people. I was surrounded by people like Bri and James, who could seemingly without effort sit down and play music that captivated my heart. I saw people when I went to lift at the rec center. They were literally bending the bars with the amount of weight they were lifting. I had others who were far past any mental capacity I could ever hope to achieve.

I was confused because I wanted all of this; I wanted the power of each person’s gift. I was overwhelmed and felt insecure. But gradually and through increments, God showed me that he had gifted me in my own special way and that it was ok for me to work toward learning and growing, but not ok to envy what he had given to other people. I knew this in my head, but this is the first time it really made sense to me in my heart.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

English Club (by Luke)

The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19:34

English Club

English club has been really fun to be a part of this year. We say it is teaching international students better English, and it is, but really, it is just me, Clint and Miranda hanging out with Chinese people. I have gotten to know a lot of the students really well. Maximus, Fan, Justin, Estelle, Sharon, Francis, Manson, Jeremy and many others.

We went on the retreat and we got a few Chinese students to sign up. Maximus was in my group, he was really quiet in all of our small group times. I asked him to just talk after our Saturday night group. I was frustrated with how our group was going, but I just asked Max a few questions, and he started talking to me. He told me about his family who said they were Buddhist, but really just believed in the betterment of themselves and a little about his own search for meaning in life. I then told my testimony, in a powerful and passionate way that I have always wanted to and never have been able. Max ultimately said no to the gospel, but as I have come to see with Chinese people, he really is actively searching and counting the costs.

Later, after a late night worship session, he came up to me and told me he wanted to talk. We talked some more, and I told him to read Ecclesiastes; he dog-eared the page in his bible.

Before the retreat ended, a guy stood up who had had Manson in his small group he said he almost cried when he prayed in Chinese because it was so apparent to him that God was working all around the world. Then someone stood up and said they did cry.

A Sunday in November, all of Veritas Church got up walked down the stairs and down the street to the community rec center. It was awesome to see two of the students that had been in English Club and then Family group that had given their lives to Christ on the retreat and recount what Christ had done in their lives, and then having Clint baptize them.

I remember sitting in English Club one Thursday night and we were talking about why we came to Iowa. I said that I wanted to be a part of Salt Company and be able to do things like English Club. He said “I think you are a very good person to do English Club.” It is comments like that that make it all worth it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Macro Men (by Luke)

Yes, it’s January 5, 2011, and this is my first post of the new year. I really wanted to write sooner, but writing takes inspiration, and lately, that inspiration has been missing. I look forward to its return.

Have you ever noticed when cartoonists want to take a little break, they either rerun old comic strips or they have their kids take over? Well, seeing as I already ran some old material (Lessons Taught by Neo), I decided that the kid method was the only way to complete the task. So, this week I will be posting some stories that Luke wrote for me (and the rest of the family) for Christmas. Since I am a word-lover, Luke’s words of insight and understanding delight me greatly. What an appropriate gift! Thanks Luke.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5

The Macro Men

There were two kids in my Macro class that I noticed come in every day. One had maybe cerebral palsy, or some disease that affected his movement. He always asked too many questions. There was another, from India, that tried to dress like a gangster. I don’t know why, but I didn’t really think I would like them, and I didn’t think they would really care for me either. I didn’t realize it, but I judged them.

For our first Macro test, I planned to study at the library with some of my Chinese friends. Maybe because of my lack of clarity, or because Chinese culture is just different, neither guy ended up showing up. I was wandering around the library and who do I see but Jeremy and Gupta. I walked up and asked if they were studying Macro, and they were, so I joined them. Although we studied, I learned more about these guys’ lives. Jeremy was from Florida, decided after high school that he didn’t want to go to college. But after four years of the work world, he was sick of delivering pizzas. He came to Iowa on some freak full-ride scholarship and is majoring in economics. He understood the material really well, but just wanted to help anyone he could. I talked to him at the end of the semester, and he probably has a higher grade in the class than me. Gupta was originally from India, but lived in the UAE most of his life; he was struggling to get the material. I talked over lunch and each of us just fed off of each other, and I got to ask him a few questions about the report I was writing.

God absolutely shattered my preconceptions of these two guys just by meeting them. I talked to each of them after this occasion multiple times and wondered why I had originally judged them harshly.