Monday, December 29, 2008


This morning, I awoke to a tatting on my window, in the darkness it was a sharp reminder that the world continued to spin while I came in & out of sleep tangled with dreams. Stepping outside I stopped to savor the strong wind that circled around me, twirling my hair around itself & my chilled face. The wind, powerful & cold...refreshing & inviting. I stood there with my eyes closed, allowing the gusts to surround me, holding me tight, like a welcomed friend in the morning.

I don't know what it was about the wind this morning, something about the power & the brisk feeling that told me I was loved & that this next year would be different. The cold was not bitter, but an awakening that things will change & be renewed. It was an air that took my breath away in beauty & awe of the power that causes the wind...I was struck that yes, we are still here but that I am changing, just like the wind. God has put me in strong winds for a reason, to bring out his glory in my life...where the winds will blow I do not know, yet blow they must.

As I walked across the mostly barren lot towards a warm building, I waited, feeling once again the wind on my face, this time feeling it blow my hair back, away from my face & covering me with warmth that only a chill air can. Fresh air. Blunt awareness of the change coming. Clear skies that open to hope.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A life of Revelations

Recently, I felt a little guilty that I was gone for a week in a gorgeous country, with warm people & a very adventurous Mom, but had not had some “great revelation” about God or my relationship with Him. It was like…..why not? I should have at least heard SOMEthing, right? And to be honest, very little of my time was searching for a significant meaning or divine inspiration while enjoying the breathtaking beauty. This doubt & questioning in my mind was something I talked with my dad about, and as we spoke, it kinda nudged both of us that maybe God was simply allowing me to have a week of pure enjoyment & happiness. No deep thoughts to ponder, no hard truths to bear, no complex theologies to learn…just simply BE and enjoy. Simmer in the warmth of the country, soak up the dew filled air, stand up & feel the strong easterly wind blow across your face. Hear the goodness of nothing….no loud cars around, not many jabbering people, no looming buildings to hinder the view. Just BE. Enjoy the time with your mom, enjoy the time alone, enjoy the adventure of going into unadvertised locations to explore small rooms once in use for monks & kings alike. Laugh at the simplicity of life, and the castles you can see from a back door, or in a pasture. Be in awe of the vast space, left open for the imagination & unhindered beauty. Gaze down the cliffs to the crashing waves below & feel the spray of them on your face. Don’t do anything….don’t think anything….don’t try to analyze anything….just BE. Just enjoy. And don’t think of “just” being the same as the second or lesser option, but the first and most important choice…to JUST …..

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Get away, Get deep

'A vacation is what I need to get away, to escape, to heal.' At least that's what I unconsciously told myself, convincing my heart that this time away would bring me the peace that I so desperately sought. Naively I believed myself, and didn't think one thing about it not being even 1 percent truth.

It was just about two weeks ago that I remembered a deep truth in my heart...that my life situations are what they are, yet only I have the choice in whether I live in them or truly live because of them. Living not in depth of despair, but out of the depths into the light of our Heavenly Father. Taking those changes & seeing where God wants me to go with them. Joy has always been something that God has blessed me with, and it has been so obvious through past hardships, but in the last few months I viciously pushed it away...I really just didn't WANT to be joyful, or happy. 'I'll be happy when I go to Ireland, that'll make me happy. I'll change then, just not now.'

It was only a few days ago that I subtly realized this, and realized that my renewed joy was from the refreshing rediscovery of the fact that it is not a new land that will give me peace, not a new surrounding, not new pictures or meeting new people. Peace would not come from getting away, from writing for days or reading a new book in a far off place, far away from the troubles of this, peace came from the One who is the author & perfecter of our peace. It is the JOY that He alone can bring to my heart. Only through Him will I be able to find sustenance to bring me through another day, hopefully more after that too.

It was then that I pondered, 'Where IS my hope? is it in this "trip" that I'm heading out on, or is it in Christ?' I had to admit that most of my faith was that Ireland would be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow....the promise after the rain. However, it will not be that for me, for I have found my joy...the rainbow that God gave me when He adopted me.

Ireland will not be a place that will bring me peace, but a land that will hopefully give me space to feel & meet God in a new way that I wouldn't before. For it is ONLY in him that I can rest.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Defining Moments

The thought occurred to me today to think about those defining moments in my life, when something has shifted inside of me to make my view of life or of myself change. I immediately thought about the moments that huge surprises come upon us, and we are thrown into a time or moment of shock....or maybe awe. But is it really in that same moment that we change? You might argue with me (and not get too much fight from me) that it is in that moment that some things may change, or rather we may realize at that moment that things will be essentially different, but realizing situations or life will be different doesn't necessarily equal a defining moment.

For something to define you, I believe it takes insight, circumstantial change & inner rearranging both in thought & actions. Let's take Black Thursday for example. That was a horrible day & incidents that changed many people's lives. But....let's think. Was it in those moments that people were changed? Or was it in the weeks - months to follow that they were changed? I would argue that it is in the small moments, the ones we barely notice, where we grow the most & where the rest of our lives are defined. It is in the small, quiet moments that reality meets our dreams & the two collide to make a new vision.

It is in those moments where you realize you have to choose to either dwell in the shock of your circumstance of grasp the truth that you hold inside & move forward in a new or redefined direction. Using the knowledge you've gained to cast light on your path. You have to choose to look ahead, not forgetting the past but using it. What you do after those startling days, will define who you are. It will show who the real you is and what you're capable of. For it should not be the circumstances around us that shape who we are, but the change within us that defines our life.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I know...

"I do not know what lies ahead, the way I cannot see; Yet One stands near to be my guide, He'll show the way to me. I do not know how many days of life are mine to spend; But One who knows and cares for me will keep me to the end. I do not know the course ahead, what joys and griefs are there; But One is near who fully knows, I'll trust his loving care.

"I know who holds the future and I know He holds my hand. With God things don't just happen, everything by Him is planned; So as I face tomorrow with it's problems large and small, I'll trust the God of miracles, give to Him my all."

This is a song by Alfred B. Smith and E. C. titled "I Know Who Holds the Future," which I just found tonight while playing old old "Singspiration" music on the piano. The words & truth behind those words brought me comfort & I thought I might share that with you.

"This week has brought me down a path of darkness & decay. But lately I've been feeling that it might just go away. This evening I laughed, I cried & I prayed, all for different things. And then I thought a simple minded joyful heart also prays & sings! The joy tonight I feel inside, deep deep within. And laughter fills my every thought, knowing I'm cleansed of sin." ---me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Positive Memory

Okay, so here's something that is good! Some of you know that I work with an 8th grade class at my church, teaching them & questioning them about what they believe about Christianity & the theology in their hearts. Basically, here's what our church believes, and why....and then asking them to look into the Bible & to discover for themselves what they believe. So two Wednesdays ago, my friend Ellen & I took this group to a memory loss home. We paired off each of the kids with a resident to do a "thanksgiving" craft. For each pair, we had a sketch of a bare tree...then we had the kids ask the residents what they were thankful for & write it on printed colored leaves & paste them on the tree. It was so cool. Afterwards, we took the kids to culvers to talk about the experience. It was interesting to have them open up about how they were intimidated right away & nervous because they didn't know what to expect. They noted how many of the residents kept repeating questions "like 50 times!" The kids thought it was neat to meet people who others sometimes think is less important or worthy. And they were excited at the possibility to go back again! Then last week, due to outside circumstances, we only had 1/2 hour to brief the kids on the lesson for next week on how we are created in God's image. I took 8 of them out for pizza and discussion...we talked about which was more important between a puppy, baby, horse or old person. They almost all chose the baby, but then I gave them other questions like...if you were a pregnant teen & your fiance wasn't the dad of the baby & your parents might disown you, would you have an abortion? Then I asked what if you had twins, one was disabled & the other born somewhat "normal" and you could only keep one alive....which would you choose? And then again, if there was an old person who couldn't remember anything, and didn't know any family anymore, would it be so bad if someone helped them to die? The whole point in asking these questions was to get the kids to wonder what it is about us as humans, that makes us special. Is it who we are physically? Mentally? Socially? or is it more than that? If we're created in the image of God, what does that mean? Why does that make us special & worth something? And if we're ALL created in the image of God, is it fair or right to judge one person worth more than another? We got into a good discussion, and I think they really "got it" that the Bible is clear about our value in life. At the end of the night, I had each of the kids write their name on the top of a red note card. Then they passed them around the table, and everyone wrote one thing that they thought was unique and special about that person. Then we read Psalm 139. (which when i told them psalm 139, they all wrote psalm 1:39.....thought that was funny!) “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”

What comfort, to know that God knows us inside & out, upside & down, good & bad, our worth & our sinfulness. He knows us & yet loves us. He chose us. He chose to die for us, to bring Glory to Himself. He alone is worth more than anything we can think of...He is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nothing to Say---

Do you ever have so much to say that you don't say anything? Can't say anything? Would rather shut up than say what you'd like to?

Are the thoughts so vivid & alarming that you shock yourself...or you think that no one would really understand? And you wonder if God is preparing you for yet one more thing while crying because you think that your last weekends memories were just that...preparing you for what happened yesterday?

Since I really have "nothing" to least not here anyway (I just need some deep conversations with God right now)...I'll give you some verses that I've been thinking on.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another --and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25)

"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult & persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded." (Hebrews 10:32-35)

This is the hope I hold onto. This is something I know to be true & evident in my life and in those around me. Let's encourage one another, though we suffer....let us remember Who Christ is...that is our hope.

Monday, November 03, 2008


This weekend was very trying on me. Saturday evening I took part in a Novembering service at Church of the Open Door. It was beautiful, every part…we lit candles, sang beautiful songs, remembered those who we have lost & grieved with each other as we sat & wept. Maybe not everyone wept, but I sure did. I slept deep that night & woke up crying. Not a hard cry, but just a solemn finality of life cry. Sunday morning I listened as my dad preached on suffering & hope. I did not want to hear about hope…don’t get me wrong, that’s the ONLY thing getting me through each day, but I didn’t want to hear it. I cried the ENTIRE service…from the first songs through the last prayer & beyond. I just would not hold myself back, which I know I should not do, but wow did I hurt. Now, as I write this, my eyes are refilling themselves with tears.

There are many reasons why I write to you my thoughts, emotions, feelings & frustrations. I want to be honest. I desire to share, yet am sometimes unwilling to vocalize. I yearn to heal. I need encouragement. I remind myself that “yes, there are things to hope for & people who care.” I pray that through my honesty & openness that you are able to be encouraged.

This morning, I was encouraged. An email I received referenced a verse I have never read (or at least didn’t remember). While the truth is something I hold onto with white knuckles, sometimes I forget. The verse was Malachi 3:6a, “I the LORD do not change.” Such confidence I can have here, and so can you…. It is interesting. The title “lord” means (in my terms) ruler over my life and death. And so I see that amidst the changes of both life and death, our LORD does not change. He is the same yesterday, today & forever.

My prayer for you & for me, is that together, while we seek out what our futures look like, and how our pasts influence how we grow into our future, that we would bind together as friends, brothers, sisters, encouragers, rejoicers & mourners….that we would come along side each other in prayer & support as we approach God in our weakness. In our brokenness, that we would share with each other realizing our inability as humans to recover from this alone. To see that God has given us each other to lean on while we are walking this earth together.

Here's a song that touched me this weekend. It's called "I will Rise" by Chris Tomlin.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Perspective through Prisms

On the road tonight, I was going back over my day. I was thinking about all my conversations, the interactions I had & the feelings I got from people. One conversation stuck out to me. We were talking about how some people aren't really who they have been or who they really are...trying to find that again.

Well, I pondered this as I drove. Because I feel like I am currently not who I am normally...which got me thinking the person I was, supposed to be the same as who I will be? If the person I am now, is not the same as last year, should the person I was last year be my goal? I don't think so....I hope actually that I am in some ways completely different than the person I was last year. So many things have happened, that it would be a shame if it didn't change the person I was into the person I should be. And we all know transition is odd & awkward....maybe that's why I don't feel like myself: it's because I'm turning into someone else...not necessarily a worse someone, but someone different. And because I don't know who that will be, it feels frightening.'s the positive thought that came through.

Light, when it comes through glass, makes a new, condensed light. Put a few different pieces of glass in front of a light & it will make a few different lights. Okay, stay with me...this will get cool. Imagine that you are like a light, the sun perhaps, that will shine until the end. Now imagine that trials are like glass. They're hard & you have to somehow make it through. Imagine a prism....there's lots of facets, lots of hard things to go through...twists & turns that you can't always see but they're there none the less. When your light goes through it, does it come out the same or unchanged? Absolutely not. It comes out better....brighter, colorful & magnificent. Without the obstacle of a prism in the light's way, you would never know how many colors you light held. And think of how prisms make light dance. Rainbows shine all over a room, just like the people you'll touch when you go through these "prisms". If you didn't have that to change you, you'd only shine in one spot....but because of the facets, you can shine to many many many people & show a brighter picture.

My life is changing & shining through a prism. It has to go through something before the new beauty can shine! I'm waiting.....trying to find my way, but can you imagine with me? If your life is going through a prism, what will you look like on the other side?

Thursday, October 16, 2008


This morning I was challenged that I need to be honest with my emotions. Both honest to myself and to those around me, so here I go.

I'm really in a lot of pain.....and I almost feel guilty for always having sad things to talk about. I'm trying to focus on you (friends) so that I can have something else to think about or feel....but I do realize that sometimes I might get "me" focused, and I'm sorry. I do ALSO realize that there is a time for that, where I need to focus on healing & working through all the stuff that has been happening around me.

Most days, I really don't want to hang out with anyone....because I just have to explain again what happened. And I need to, want to....kinda, but not all the time. So if I seem to not be calling for a while, know that it's nothing against YOU, it's more me. That said, I really do NEED to hang out & do some fun things where I don't have to think about my pain. I need to see that there is life beyond this current state. Coerce me, bribe me, kidnap me, whatever you have to do to not let me just waste away....ask me more than once....I'll probably cave in. ;-) If I don't, then just pray for me.

Here are some of the thoughts that were given me today: "When you are suffering, you may sometimes tend to withdraw, pull back, and pull away," says Anne Graham Lotz. "I do think there is a time for that, and each day you should spend time alone with the Lord. But don't forsake other people, because other people can give you comfort and encouragement and help you keep your focus. Sometimes you can get so preoccupied with the problem that it consumes you. Other people can help give you a balance."

God wants you to be truthful with yourself and with other people. He wants to free you from the debilitating effects of withdrawing and hiding your emotions. Jesus says in the book of John that "the truth will set you free."

Love you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Run in Freedom

This morning, I woke up to the beautiful rat-tat-tatting of rain on my windows, giving me a good reason to wake up & take my barefoot self outside on the deck to enjoy the morning. There is not much like the scent of rain in the early blue-dark morning. This morning, I brought with my Bible to read....before I put it away, I looked in my journal and found a Psalm that I had written about a year ago! As I read the section, something new splashed out...see if it does that for you too: "I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free." (Psalm 119: 32) I RUN....this caught my eye. So often I look at things that Christians do or how we feel our life should be lived, and I see it as stepping on eggshells, don't step too hard, too fast, to far away, too much of ANYTHING. Be careful when this happens, watch out when you see many warnings it feels like everything is under constant scrutiny. But this describes our "walk" as a RUN! When I read this, I pictured someone running with all their heart, not having an end, just endlessly running with passion. No where near eggshells.

Just a thought for your day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Change from Sluggish, I'm sluggish. I watched tv almost straight through from yesterday at 1:30 to this morning at 9am. Yep, my mom asked me if I was in denial and my answer was "no, i'm just not wanting to do anything." ....aka, yes. I KNOW that I cannot just sit here, but I really just want to try. There's nothing that really interests me today, except my really good haggen daz carmelized pear & toasted pecan ice cream that's alone in my freezer. I think literally, I could wear my pajamas until they fall off me....or I'm forced to take them off for the safety of the public.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."-John 16:33

I'm trying to remember this, but then another wave of blah comes closer & I have to remind myself what the heck i was trying to think about. oh yeah I, oh well.

Someday, maybe not today, I'll change. This too will make me into a stronger person, right? Sure. Sometime maybe. Not today though.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

There will be a day...!

My grandma's life just got a lot went into the beauty of eternity, a grace filled place that I have yet to discover personally. My God, has decided that he would like my spitfire of a grandma to visit Him and be reunited with my grandpa. What a wonderful knowledge I have, that someday she will be with me again, but what bittersweet peace this is today. Some of my favorite memories of my grandma were when she would wash my hair as a child...I'd cry because of my sensitive head, and she'd turn the brush over, bang the top of my head with it, and say "I'll give you something to cry about!" This sounds really harsh I'm sure, but really it is so funny now to think about it. Another thing that I remember is when my cousin & I would sing at the dinner table. She would always tell us not to sing, but since our hearts were overflowing with music, we'd always get punished. She would lock the two of us in a broom closet about the size of 1'x1.5'...with no way out. This was horrible, until we figured out that we could sing in the closet as loud as we'd like and there wasn't anything worse she could do to us! ha. A few summers ago, after my grandpa died, I moved in with her so that she would have someone around her to take care of her & keep her company. Early on in the summer, a thought came to mind that I should write notes to her that she would get when I was already gone for work. I would write a simple thought & verse for her everyday. One day, around lunch I got a phone call from my mom asking me why I hadn't written a note that day. I had forgotten or been late, I can't remember now, but until that point, my grandma had not said anything about those little notes....but that day, she told everyone in my family that I had forgotten...I didn't know just how much that meant to her. She was always so sweet, happy, abundantly joyful & brimming with the Spirit of God. Her faith was consuming & contagious. She was witty, a smart-alek and a great story teller. A few years ago I began asking her questions about her life, who she was, what it was like growing up in the 40's, what her family was like. I remember coming to visit one day and she had begun writing her story for me! She had about 12 pages handwritten notes about growing up on a farm, what her parents were like, all kinds of fun things to know about! She wrote it like a letter, it was one of the sweetest things she'd ever given me. After that, we'd talk about writing her story & we'd come up with questions all the time that I'd want to know...she'd always tell me something, even if she wasn't always positive about what she remembered. Something I'll always remember, was when she told me about meeting & falling in love with my grandpa. I asked her one day about when she knew she loved him. She answered "Well, I never really liked him!" I was shocked, utterly speechless. She went on to tell me that when he first asked her out, she really didn't want to go, but decided it was either go out with Ray or stay home...she decided to go out. She continued this for a while, not really caring how much HE cared for HER. Then one day, she said they were at a party and all she wanted was for him to hold her hand. She said she almost went CRAZY because she wanted to hold his hand so bad. That was when she knew that she loved him. She was one of the strongest women I knew. Whenever something would go wrong, she would see it, acknowledge the pain or trouble and then move on. She was never one to linger too long on the bad. Although, she would always want to know what was troubling you and then make sure you understood that she thought whatever was happening was terrible! She'd always say in her own way "Well! Can you believe it?" And she'd give a shocked face & raise her hand before slapping the table. She was so cute. One of the sweetest & craziest grandma's I've ever known....the only one I've ever known. I'm going to miss her like I don't even know.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


So today, I being "thoughtful." No, I don't mean to be praising myself for being so nice to people around me, I'm probably being really bad at that today. But I mean I'm thinking about a lot of things. And when that happens, the smallest of those things can send me into a thought clear across the universe, with emotions that can feel out of this world. I was writing on Julie's wall today, and I saw on "wall-to-wall" that I had laughed about how we knew each other. I couldn't find where that information was, and so I thought....maybe if I search for her like a random friend search, it'll say that! Well, when I tried to do that, it said there was no Julie Steiskal. I tried again, spelled it different, it wouldn't let me find her. Even in MY friends, I couldn't pull up her name! I got a little panicked....and yes, i still can't find her that way, but I'm not panicked anymore.

So it got me thinking about searching for God. I really need Him now more than ever. Particularly today. Something is working in me, and I feel so close to the edge. You know when you're driving on a road where the tar is about 6" higher than the gravel curb, and when you get close to the edge you can feel your car being pulled over. You struggle to keep it on, and when you're right on the edge it's like "come on, come on...don't go over." Well, I feel like that. I feel like I'm right on the edge & I could go over, but I'm still holding God's grace, I'm still holding on.

God says "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13) I am trying to seek with my heart, but some days I don't know how. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26) This is what I'm trusting in....that the Spirit will take my unconscious prayers to the throne of God. "You said, 'Woe to me! The LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.' " (Jeremiah 45:3) Sometimes this is how I think, and I don't want to think this way, so I pray "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you." (Psalm 33:22)

Just a few things to search for...a renewed strength, a fresh mind, a conscious faith & passionate soul.

The Ultimate

Things to dwell on:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Romans 12:9-21
16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

19Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20do not treat prophecies with contempt.

11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

21Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22Avoid every kind of evil.

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Seeing"--a Miracle

Last night, I was blessed to be able to see & hear from missionary friends who are visiting the States to share their ministry! I was so inspired by one of their stories that I wanted to share it here in the hopes that you too will be inspired to see how BIG God is, and how he pulls out all stops when He wants to show His power. Okay, so enough pre-story, here is the meat of it! Alright, so Doug & Roberta Moore, live with the thought "There will never be enough time, money, staff, etc. So we just have to do what we can with what we have & the Lord will provide more when we need it." (So humbling & inspiring.) One night, visiting a small Romanian church, a lady got up to share a scripture with the church (this is a normal part of the service where attenders are able to share a song or scripture or thought to the congregation, without any notice)...the older lady borrowed her friend's glasses, read the scripture, sat back down & gave back the glasses. Roberta sees this & happens to have a donated pair of glasses in her purse! She passed the pair down to the lady & by God's grace, it matched the lady's vision needs! Of course after the service, Roberta was surrounded by people asking if they had a pair for them too! She & Doug immediately "saw" the need for more glasses & went about collecting donations. They setup a day at this church when people could come & find glasses from the almost 300 that were donated. Doug & Roberta know nothing about prescriptions, so for all the people that came, they simply handed them pair after pair of glasses, asking "does this help? how about this one?" until they found a pair that worked for them! At the end of the day, ALL the people who had stopped by had left with glasses! All that was left were two pairs of glasses & a bag of "spare parts." Doug & Roberta praised God that all those people had been blessed with sight & that God has so miraculously provided it to ALL the people! They began packing up when suddenly, the front door opened & two more ladies walked in looking for glasses. Doug said "well, we only have two pairs left" but the ladies wanted to try. They put the first pair on one of the ladies, and it amazingly was just the right prescription!! To the second lady, they said..."I'm sorry, but this second pair only has one lens," and after trying it on, even the one lens didn't seem to help. They felt terrible to see this lady walk away, the only one without glasses! Then they remembered the bag of spare parts. They called the woman back and after some crafty work & piecing together, they were able to make a pair of glasses that not only fit, but helped her see!! PRAISE GOD! Again, Doug & Roberta were amazed that God was able to help ALL the people & have just a little left over. Again, as they were packing up, the door opened. This time, a man walked through, apologizing for being late, but that he couldn't come sooner because of work. They told him "I'm sorry, the only pair we have left is this pair with only one lens!" To that, he responded ----"THAT'S OKAY, I ONLY HAVE ONE EYE!"----God is amazing, not only did he provide for all the people, but he provided WELL for them, knowing just what prescriptions to be brought in to Doug & Roberta, for the exact people who would walk through that church door. If you don't believe in this God, it's sad, because of how much Joy he brings & how powerful He is. This is simply breathtaking....don't you want to love this God?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In the Quiet Moments, He is There

Life giving has come to me through the quiet moments I'm able to enjoy God's creation--alone, yet not by myself. Christ meets me there to speak to me, call me, comfort me & hold me. His joy is ever present--in the breeze, the warm sun, the wet rain, the color of the leaves, the stillness of the afternoon. Those moments He captures your undivided attention to remind you that He is. That He's been there all along--He sees you and knows you, loves you and rejoices over you.God is digging in my heart, finding the pain, frustration and sadness that is longing to be healed. "Soon," He says "soon you will be free." But when? Can I take my pain away? "No, but you can give it over, into the Hands that take hold of your life. The Ones that molded you, formed you & direct you. You'll make it someday! Just trust in Me--I'll take you down the road. I'll show you where to go." I don't know how long it'll take, but with God I'll make it.

"Til Kingdom Come"
Steal my heart and hold my tongue.
I feel my time, my time has come.
Let me in, unlock the door.
I've never felt this way before.

The wheels just keep on turning,
The drummer begins to drum,
I don't know which way I'm going,
I don't know which way I've come.

Hold my head inside your hands,
I need someone who understands.
I need someone, someone who hears,
For you, I've waited all these years.

For you, I'd wait 'til kingdom come.
Until my day, my day is done.
And say you'll come, and set me free,
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.

In your tears and in your blood,
In your fire and in your flood,
I hear you laugh, I heard you sing,
"I wouldn't change a single thing."

The wheels just keep on turning,
The drummers begin to drum,
I don't know which way I'm going,
I don't know what I've become.

For you, I'd wait 'til kingdom come,
Until my days, my days are done.
Say you'll come and set me free,
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.---Coldplay

Monday, September 22, 2008

Who are Those People?

Who are those people who have driven you to grow deeper in your life? This question was posed to me twice this week. It’s something I don’t think about, yet their mark is heavily ingrained on my life. A part of who I am is clearly because of who they were or continue to be. These people hold a special place in my soul, whether they realize it or not. They each have projected a distinct facet of Christ’s glory & purpose to me in many different situations. Below, I have written a short description of a few of these people, but have not listed names…you’ll know who you are I hope. You deserve blessings beyond what I could give you or thank you for. You are what Christ meant when he sent us out: living vessels that proclaim the gospel in & throughout your life. For this, I say thank you.

Wonder Woman--She is a friend who is always encouraging other people, always leaving messages of hope & love. Her bright spirit & happy smile is contagious. Though we do not live close, I know her friendship is just as true now as ever. She’s given me such a vision of a great, fun, exciting mom & wife can be.

Papermaker—Her friendship is irreplaceable. Her fun & energetic life is inspiring. I know that conversations with her can easily go from funny stories to deep conversations about life & what it means. Sharing my thoughts with her is so easy because she is the kindest person that I may have ever met. When I see Carnations I think of her, though I know she thinks of gas stations when she sees them.

Longhorn Lovers—This couple could not be a better example of a vibrant couple living their life & faith together. When I’m around them, I feel such acceptance & love. Real, genuine care comes from them and they never make people feel like a third wheel. Encouragement & strength is abundant here.

Boulevardier—He is a leader & an example of family vs. visitors. He is a bold, straightforward speaker of Truth in Christ. The way his family has accepted me into their home & life has been life changing. Seeing him live out ministry among many cultures gives me a vision of heaven on earth.

Messianic Heroine—She has been a friend for so long that I cannot imagine life without her. Though we’ve never lived closer than 1442.10 miles, our friendship has grown very close. Her stories make me laugh & sometimes cry. Her bold thoughts have helped me embrace my own thoughts & not keep them hidden. I live though her soap opera drama lifestyle, and appreciate her insight into my REAL life.

Memory Keeper—This woman showed me what it was like to love people. She genuinely loved everyone from the UPS guy to the person behind the register. She proclaimed Christ in a humble way that not many people do, simply through caring deeply for those around her. Her life cannot be replaced with memories but will never be forgotten.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Okay, so the following is not something that I've written, but I think I've found my new life theme least for today! It is amazing. Sanctus Real has got it going on for REAL! Aight, here it is:

"Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly)"

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...To...

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This is something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last night, while driving around Minneapolis, my radio was tuned into 91.5fm, a great Christian rock station which also plays clean secular music too! (It’s great!) I asked my friend if she’d heard of it before, she said no & I then told her just HOW great it was, and encouraged her to try it sometime! Well, it really didn’t occur to me WHY I was so excited to tell her about it until this morning. I thought...why did I mention it specifically to her & not to my other friend in the car? Well, the one lives downtown Minneapolis, where the station comes in really great! ...and the other friend doesn’ me, so we can’t tune in the station at all. :-( I thought it out further and thought it’s like...I really appreciate that station, what it says, who they are, what they do, etc...but because of where I live, I don’t have the opportunity to enjoy or listen to it! Therefore, when I find out someone I care about DOES live in an area where you can hear the station, I feel compelled to tell them about it. Since I can’t hear it, but they can, it’s like aHHHH! Listen for goodness sakes!

This is not just a bunch of ramblings...I do have a point. How many of us live in an area where Christianity is suppressed or banned? I doubt if any of us do. (Maybe suppressed a little, but more by ourselves.) What a great opportunity then, seeing that we HAVE the signal, we can hear the gospel, we can talk about it….but why don’t we? People in other countries or under other governments don’t have the freedoms we do when it comes to our faith. It feels like I hear things from those oppressed people like “don’t take your faith for granted,” or “you don’t understand how good you have it,” or “if I had the life you do, I would be telling all sorts of people about Jesus.” It makes me wonder...why don’t I head that thought, or act on it?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Vintage Thoughts

So this is really random, but last night I was thinking about all these fun things I used to any of you remember the little jelly packets that used to come with oatmeal? You could make fun designs on them....or just eat it plain. mmm Okay, yep, and how about when we would seriously spray paint our hair a rediculous green color for HS homecoming games? Or LisaFrank notebooks....seriously, how cool were they! Okay, a little bit more recently, I loved random people meeting in college...baking cookies or oreo truffles with Mandy & then bringing them to the "stud" and inviting people over! Fun. And what about seeing dark shadowy people staring into our windows....and then realizing their just cardboard cutouts of Michael W. Smith? Going to Perkins until ungodly hours in the morning to do "homework" when we really knew there would be absolutely NOTHING accomplished, and who cared? ...then coming home to a haunted house...ah! Or taking spur of the moment roadtrips to....IOWA....of all the places we could have gone! ha.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pure Joy!

Something caught my attention this week, causing me to ponder about happiness & joy. I thought...does happiness equal joy? No...but then what is the difference? Because I have joy, but not always happiness. Made me wonder. So I looked into our real joy...simply, it is a fruit that is grown by the Spirit inside of us. Among the other things that should grow abundantly: love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) For me, I think happiness is something that's a "perk" if you will...not a given. Joy however, is something we can find & maintain through sorrow or pain. Joy is that inner calm that connects the hope of our future with the desire for sustinence, which brings us the reminder of joy. Although "stuff" happens, there's something inside that keeps finding little things to delight in...and I can't take any of the credit, because it's not ME that brings those little things into my path. **Interjection, I read a quote this week "If you can't find joy along the path, don't expect to find it when you reach the end of the path."**"When my anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." (Psalm 94:19) Christ is my consolation. He is my comforter & has provided me with a joy that will not be shaken. If I cling to this, Job's words in 6:10 will be my words as well..."Then I would still have this consolation--my joy in unrelenting pain--that I had not denied the words of the Holy One." I cannot say that I am always pure in my thoughts, or that I'm never angry or upset, but deep down I hold on to God as my anchor. Through this, my joy fuels my hope & my hope is enhanced by joy because I can trust that " They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." (Isaiah 35:10) Yay for Joy!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Love-Hate Relationship

So again, I'm still pondering the big things that happen in our lives, why they happen & when the heck it will stop! I've had a great week....truly, honestly it was a hard week, but I can also say that it has brought me some peace & clarity to my other days that weren't so great. I'm sure you're wondering now too, what is this love-hate relationship that this post is titled after...well, it's a love-hate relationship I have with death & dying. Odd eh? I'll come to accept me as I am. On one hand, death really sucks. It does! For those of us who have to endure the after effects of someone close dying, it's something you don't want to face, let alone feel. Jesus felt the pain of friends dying, listen to this: "When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 'Where have you laid him?' he asked. 'Come and see, Lord,' they replied. Jesus wept." (John 11:32-35) I know he knows our pain, our tears & the heartache one feels when someone leaves us here… Also, on the same thought, death is so uncertain. "Isaac said, 'I am now an old man and don't know the day of my death.'" (Genesis 27:2) Part of me likes to think that God knows I'm having a hard time, and wouldn't take my Grandma away right now, because it would basically kill me. But really, is that how death works? Can we control it? Can we find a "good time" for someone to die? Isaac knew this wasn't true, and even Solomon did when he writes..."In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) We cannot know what God's plan for us is...when we'll die or how. Alright, onto the Love this is why I love death: That is when we will be joined together with our Heavenly Father, to eternally praise & worship together as a family of Christ. We will walk alongside the river of life & bask in the light of God's glory. We will taste the fruits that were unknown to us & rejoice in the blessings God had poured on us during this earthly life. We will experience something not known to man, something so beautiful it is beyond our comprehension! My Grandpa is there, my friend Julie is there, the siblings I've never met are there, I believe my other friends & family too shall be there. In a sick & rather twisted way, I know that my Grandma would like to be finished with this torment, the pain and agony of each day passing without holding onto my Grandpa's hand...I do not want to be selfish & pray for her to stay here for me, because I know she's in pain....and wants to go.'s a love-hate relationship....while I hate the effects of death here on earth, I know that for those who have put their whole faith & trust in Christ Jesus as their Savior will rejoice the second they have departed us. For that, I say bring it on. (But Christ, I'm trusting in you to be there when it comes....for I will need you.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Frustrations & Faith

I can't speak, so I will let the thoughts in my head come out through the only truth I can grasp at this point. "Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say."--Job 23 (excerpts)I'm doing this today....feeling like "God, what is going on here?" You know me, and you know I'm a fixer, a thinker, an analyzing maniac .....what am I supposed to be learning through this? There is hope, I know that...I don't feel it right now, but I know there is....but where? What am I supposed to think, feel, grasp, say, etc.? "Lord, you have searched me and you know perceive my thoughts from hem me in--behind and before; Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."--Psalm 139:1-10 (excerpts) This gives me hope in knowing that no matter how frustrating or far I feel that I've gone, how deep my despair, He is still with me.....if I don't have words or emotions to express the way I feel or the things I'm thinking, He knows them & it's okay. When I don't even comprehend the thoughts & feelings flooding my eyes, He sees clearer than I ever will & understands."Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." --Romans 12:21Remembering the goodness of Christ, the grace He has given, gives me hope for tomorrow and peace for today. Despite the storms that rage against me, He alone is my rock & my salvation. With Him, what can come against me? Though I may stumble & fall, He will lift me up with his righteous right hand & guide me in the paths of righteousness. He will provide for me & comfort me. Say what you need to say

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just a Little Thing

Just thought I'd share today. This weekend, I went & visited a friend. I was all alone when I got there. It was peaceful, the breeze was slightly blowing & the smell of the sun drifted around me. As I sat down on the grass beside her, I started to cry. Not harsh tears, but silent & slow raindrops from within my soul. You see, my friend wasn't really there....just the shell, but I had a conversation despite the fact I was physically alone. It was one of the best conversations I had...and I joked that I probably spoke more in that conversation than I ever had with her! ;-) It's just a little thing, but sometimes voicing things out loud, saying what you need to say and doing it in the stillness of the setting afternoon, can cause you to release some of your loneliness, some of your grief. It's not like I'll hear a response, it's not like I'll get any opinions or feedback, but just saying stuff really felt good. I wish I could have this freedom with all of my friends, when they're still alive.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Craziest Thing

It's a funny thing when people or situations around you just happen to turn out funny. It's nothing you can plan on or hope for....but somewhere deep down you always do! You can't plan on those things like choking on falafel cause you're laughing so hard and at that exact moment a Jewish midget happens to walk past your window! Or like when you're playing a game of Mexican Train with your grandpa who just had a stroke & as he's moving the train forward he says "tweet tweet"! These moments are priceless....funny, hysterical and worth so much in memories. Then there are those moments where you're laughing at this lady dancing her heart out to some crazy music and realize that she doesn't have a care in the world right now and you would LOVE to be in her shoes. Or moments when people you've never met come to you with a message they believe is from God...and they speak into what you'd been praying about all day but hadn't told a soul! But the craziest thing, is that tonight, after a day of secluding myself in silence (pretty much), I went home to watch the Bucket List. As I cried through the end of "The Bucket List," all I wanted was some water & maybe something sweet. SO I went to my kitchen, got a big glass of water & reached into my "stash" to get a piece of Dove chocolate. As is my custom, I always fully unwrap the chocolate before looking at the phrase beneath. And what was the message I found? "Make a list of your dreams." I laughed, I stared and then cried because somewhere deep inside I just needed to hear someone, something, anything encouraging at that moment. I just wanted to know someone was there & there He was....providing a little comfort & humor in the moment I needed it. A little reminder that God is in every moment of our lives....directing & navigating our path to His good will...and through His good sense of humor!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Be Still

Getting on with life is hard to do if you keep yourself busy. This is something I am very good at...keeping busy. Sometimes it is an effect of too much caffeine. Sometimes it is the effect of being a perfectionist. Sometimes it is an effect of too much grief.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

But I can’t be still, I keep moving, keep turning, keep looking, keep mourning, keep doing WHATEVER it is that puts itself in front of me to do, so that I don’t have to look to my right or left & watch my life unfold before my eyes.

But I don’t want to be still, I don’t want to sit down, stop talking, quit moving, leave my work unfinished so that I can take time to ponder what is happening around me.

I am afraid to be still, to quiet myself before His feet & weep uncontrollably for the anguish I feel. It scares me to become vulnerable and open, letting my true heart unravel in His hands so that He can restore it in a new way, a whole way, a complete way, that is mended by Him alone. Brokenness is not something I desire, not something I always strive for, but something my heart is aching for.

Can I be still & know that He is God? Listen to the words of a precious hymn that has given me perspective in other difficult times. Maybe it will touch you also.

Speak Lord in the stillness, While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen In expectancy.

Speak, O blessed Master, In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord, Feel Thy touch of power.

For the words Thou speakest, "They are life, indeed;
Living bread from heaven, Now my spirit feed."

All to Thee is yielded, I am not my own;
Blissful, glad surrender- I am Thine alone.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stand Forever

As I'm working today, the flowers on my desk are all withering away....when I brought back an empty vase, my friend said "Don't you wish they would last forever?" Then the verse from Isaiah came to me: "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8)

In life, there are things that leave us... beauty, wealth, strength, & power. God's word survives through it all. Flowers will die off, food will rot, clothes will wear, but God's word survives through it all. Tragedies happen, relationships fail, warriors are defeated, but God's word survives through it all.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) God's word will sustain us, guide us, redeem us and heal us. He alone will give us strength to press forward, wisdom to judge clearly, discernment in difficult situations, peace when we are restless, and comfort when fear comes close.

"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock." (Psalm 27:4-5) This is my prayer. May you join me in the beauty & love that is our God. He is the sustainer & creator of life. He will be our refuge & our hope. His love abounds to the edges of the earth & the depths of the sea.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction & faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12) Stay close to the father and unlike the flowers, you will not fade away.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One More Day

Life, as strange & bitter as it is, never ceases to surprise me with new & harsh feelings. The cruel end of world, life & death, beginnings & the end….they shock & rattle the depths of my soul. Searching for the light that guides me, the peace that only Christ can provide, the joy that is my hope, the comfort that I can only sometimes feel….God is here, in a new perspective. While I grieve, and cry, yearn & ache…..He watches me. The Lord is my hope; He is my strength when I have none. I am confident & comforted in knowing that when I do not understand the emotions of my heart or the ache of my heart, or how I am supposed to go on, He knows the depth of my soul. Christ has met me there; He is there right now, in my future, in our future….. Pain and life consume every waking movement, each moment that I am here. Knowing that there is a future for me, He is the one who gives purpose, who calls us each to our own end. Though the pain is present, the hope is healing. I’m trying not to be overrun by the grief, but encouraged to live my life in a new way, a better way, a more vibrant way….a way that Christ would ask from me. A life that will give, love, share, encourage, rejoice & LIVE to the fullest extent of Christ’s love as humanly possible.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


I wanted to post the lyrics to my recent fav song....
Sometimes it's alright to just be alone
Sometimes it's alright to just stay at home
Sometimes it's ok if we lose our minds
Sometimes it's the only way out of a fight
Maybe we'll fall before we take flight
Maybe you're all I've got to lose
They say it's gray, but we see it white
And if I'm lost, thank God I'm lost with you
Sometimes there's only so much we can take
By the time you arrived, we all needed a break
Sometimes it's ok if we lose our minds
Sometimes it's the only way out of a fight
It's ok to fight back, it's alright if you lose
It's ok to give up, we'll still love you if you do.

This song is "Sometimes" by Seabird. Check'm it.
BTW....i'm back from Mexico, give me a call to hang out!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Giving Back

Okay, so I want to share my newest endeavor with all of you! For every session we (Shadow Lake Portraits) book, whether that be wedding, senior, family, etc....10% of the profit will be given to Romania Reborn, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing "hope, help, and homes for children." Specifically, they sponsor relief and missionary work among orphans, abandoned babies, and other needy children in Romania.

This ministry is special to me because my brother was adopted from Romania shortly after the fall of communism. Through my life, I have been blessed beyond imagination & “when someone has been given much, much will be required in return.” This has inspired me to go forward & share this with you! It is an exciting thing to know that you can help a child have a home, get an education & make a life for him or herself! By choosing us, you are not only choosing a photographer, but you are choosing to give in a way that will keep giving forward! Thanks for partnering with us in this way!

Your memory of a lifetime, will give another a lifetime of memories.

Spread the word!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Alright, I know you're all, she's going deep with this, and I might by the end, but seriously, I'm just writing to say how incredibly odd my family is! (Though it's rather endearing!) My mom borrowed a "detox" contraption, where you stick your feet in salt water & add this electric thing in the water....and the color the water turns after 30 minutes, will show you what in your body is really needing theory, if you do this enough, it'll "clean you out." SO....what did we do tonight? Had my aunt, her two kids & all of my fam try it out....while the rest stood around and watched. AH! what a great past time eh? I can't believe this....we're serious crazies some nights.

But bringing this around, don't you wish we had a test like that, where we could stick our feet in the water of life, and depending on the color, we'd know if we needed to really work on pride, lust, envy, greed, or any other thing we are holding above God? It'd be great too if there was something we could do for 30 min. a day, and eventually it'd just be gone! Well, I can say from experience, that God Himself WILL tell you what you need to be growing in or working on, and if you purposefully spend time with Him and His Word, you will see those things working their way out of your life & being replaced with the goodness & purity of Christ himself....AH detox.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, "Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole and against a wide sky!" Just heard this & I love it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


So today I've just been going through stuff... if you know me much at all, you know that when people close to me hurt, I hurt with's hard for me to not feel pain of my friends or family. I can't give you details, but would ask for your prayer. Strength, courage & humble honesty is what I need right now. Also, for the others involved who need peace, wisdom & faith beyond understanding. I was reminded tonight of my favorite Bible passage...Romans 12:9-12 which starts off with "Love must be sincere."


even typing that makes me go blank. Am I sincere in my love? How does that play out in my life? Who do I need to love more? How is God using me? Am I honest in my love for God & where am I in my journey with Him? "Love must be sincere."

wow....can we say that when we think of how we treat our brothers? neighbors? friends? our bosses? our co-workers? the people we see on the street? in the check out line? "Love must be sincere."

Do everything in Love.....sincerely & with a pure heart. only by the grace of God can this be done.....only by his Mercy can we be freed of the bondage that looks to hold us back from loving others unconditionally, from loving God as much as we should....He's freed us & because of His love, we love. I'm praying for your love & hope you'll pray for mine.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Just a note...

So this is not my thought, but took it off a comment of a friend's post & it really spoke to me....we all have difficult times, times where we think we wont make it through....and if we do we'll be charred or broken. If it speaks to you too, let me know!

"I looked at one of those Hawaiian "Sugar in the Raw" packets the other day at Starbucks... it says, "volcanic soil" on them... somehow through the havoc volcanic ash imposes, the soil nearby in its rarity is rich and in some ways purified (I guess that means the sugar grows sweeter there?). I like to believe that these moments we have that are 'uncomfortable and difficult' in some way make our heart's soil rich like that. No doubt, what God grows in your life will thrive because of times like the ones you mentioned." 

Friday, May 23, 2008

Boldness in the dark

Current mood: Courageous

Tonight, I watched "Kingdom of Heaven"...for those of you who have not seen it, I would recommend it, but not if you get queazy by bloody war films. The ideas...not really ideas, but more points that are put forward, are upright & seem to be true to God's character. The movie takes place during the crusades...Muslim's and Christendom, one against each other's purpose yet not against each other. It brings to the surface that men can be good despite the bad around them, that standing for a Godly purpose can bring Glory to God through all men.

Please read the quotes below to get a taste of the honest truth & beauty of the purpose behind this piece of art & mastery.

King: You see, none of us chose our end really. A king may move a man, a father may claim a son. But remember that, even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say "but I was told by others to do thus" or that "virtue was not convinient at the time." This will not suffice. Remember that.

Nasir: Your quality will be known among your enemies, before ever you meet them.

Hospitaller: I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is here
[points to head]
Hospitaller: and here
[points to heart]
Hospitaller: and what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man - or not.

Balian of Ibelin: What man is a man who does not make the world better.

Godfrey of Ibelin: Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.

Balian of Ibelin: God will understand, my lord. And if he doesn't, then he is not God and we need not worry.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Craziest Thing

It's a funny thing when people or situations around you just happen to turn out funny. It's nothing you can plan on or hope for....but somewhere deep down you always do! You can't plan on those things like choking on falafel cause you're laughing so hard and at that exact moment a Jewish midget happens to walk past your window! Or like when you're playing a game of Mexican Train with your grandpa who just had a stroke & as he's moving the train forward he says "tweet tweet"! These moments are priceless....funny, hysterical and worth so much in memories.

Then there are those moments where you're laughing at this lady dancing her heart out to some crazy music and realize that she doesn't have a care in the world right now and you would LOVE to be in her shoes. Or moments when people you've never met come to you with a message they believe is from God...and they speak into what you'd been praying about all day but hadn't told a soul!

But the craziest thing, is that tonight, after a day of secluding myself in silence (pretty much), I went home to watch the Bucket List. As I cried through the end of "The Bucket List," all I wanted was some water & maybe something sweet. SO I went to my kitchen, got a big glass of water & reached into my "stash" to get a piece of Dove chocolate. As is my custom, I always fully unwrap the chocolate before looking at the phrase beneath. And what was the message I found? "Make a list of your dreams." I laughed, I stared and then cried because somewhere deep inside I just needed to hear someone, something, anything encouraging at that moment. I just wanted to know someone was there & there He was....providing a little comfort & humor in the moment I needed it. A little reminder that God is in every moment of our lives....directing & navigating our path to His good will...and through His good sense of humor!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hope....and courage.

So today I visited an old (literally old, as in age) friend in the hospital. His whole being is an encouragement to each person that he knows. It is this kind of person that I hope to be someday...but seeing him in the hospital shook me back to the memories of my own grandfather in the hospital. Some of you didn't know me at that time, but it was a difficult time for me & my family. It was a deep time of uncertainty & disbelief. The quietness of the hospital room, being surrounded by a presence of peace & grace, yet shrouded with fear and pain. In the last few hours that I spent with my grandpa, I sang him some old hymns & read some scriptures...he was unresponsive for two weeks, yet when you held his hand he would squeeze so tight that you knew he understood my intentions were to show my love for him. Today, as I visited my friend, we prayed & he squeezed my hand the way my grandpa brought tears out of my eyes, silently releasing the longing I still have to see my grandpa again. As I remember what God has told us & look back on how I have seen Him work, I know that through this, God IS STILL WITH US. Last night, I watched Martian Child, and the father says to the little boy who has been hurt, abused, abandoned & left behind, "I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER, ever....leave you." As the child embraces the man who he knows truly loves him more than anything, you get a sense that this is how God reaches out & comforts us amidst our pain. In Romans 8:28 it says "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God." And Romans 8:38 says "So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Think on these things & be comforted knowing that though men & women die, leave us, move away or forget us, God will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER....leave us.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Relying on God

So tonight, a topic came up about support & doing things like the world or like a Christian...and I said how God can make things happen without us having to do things like the rest of the world. This hit me AFTER I said it, because I guess it's one of those things I took for granted in my beliefs. God really CAN make certain things work out without us having to do just like everyone else! The example was about Club 3 degrees, and how they've made it w/o selling alcohol. Well, yeah....just because the other clubs make their money from the alcohol, doesn't mean that this one does. Club 3 relies on God rather than man to support & sustain the ministry that has been put before it. Our God is a big God, the BIGGEST, the ONLY God who is alive and working, just as hard as He has from our beginning & long before that! How can we trust in our own doings when we are powerless without Him? How can we believe that we need to do as the world does in order to make things happen? We are not of the world, the things we produce should not be of the world, what we become should not look like the world. I don't know that there is an accurate comparison that I can give that would show just how different we are, or SHOULD be from the world. I'm reading this book about Ruth & Ruth was a Moabitess who married Naomi's son (a Hebrew) but how Naomi's sons & husband took on the appearance of a Moabite....dressing like them, talking like them, taking wives from that land...and they were accepted in Moab...but God was not pleased, and Ruth saw the difference in her mother in law. She saw enough difference that when given the choice to remain with what she knew, her home, her friends, her mom & dad, she gave it up willingly to follow after whatever that was that Naomi had and she didn't. She wanted to follow this God that had done marvelous things & made her mother in law the woman she was. I want to be like that, we should all be like noticeably different from our surroundings that people are magnetized to our God. So separate in being, so set apart, so "weird" if you will, that people wonder what it is that we have that they do not. Do you have a God that transforms you like this? I do....I just haven't always been open to Him. But a God like that has grace, and I'm open for Him to make me different, changed, renewed, transformed....whatever He has to do in order for me to look more like Him than the world.