Sunday, December 23, 2007
Brandy & Jason
We have some neighbors across the way that we have nicknamed the Griswolds...they have the most random decorations. And our most favorite is the Grinch. Well, he's had some rough times as seen below. We're thinking he might have a drinkin problem.
The morning after a wild night...oh the poor Grinch...
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I pray, today, that everyday will be lived fully.
Who says that one particular day in our past has to be the best day of our lives?
I have even more evidence to support the urgency of this request.
Last night, Jason was sharing that a friend at work passed away on Monday from kidney failure due to his battle with Diabetes. He was at work on Friday. He was 37. He was married with 2 children, 8 years and 1 year.
Instantly, life can change. And I hope that I do not leave this earth feeling like I left some work to do.
Of course, I thankfully acknowledge that death is not true death when Christ is in charge of your life. He gives us eternal life. And you know when that starts? RIGHT NOW!!! What is "ETERNAL"? It is forever. What is now? Part of forever!
Of course, Heaven will be one rockin' place. But the Lord put us on earth for a reason, and we should embrace that...
And as Michael W. sings below...
"EMBRACE THE MYSTERY OF ALL YOU CAN BE"
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
And yet, I am here amidst the Christmas season in all its splendor, feeling incomplete and lacking of joy. My expectations are indoubtedly unmet. 2008 cannot get here fast enough. It hurts, and I hate it.
But, enough with the pity party. Pain happens...it's part of life. With no sadness, there is no joy and no appreciation of joy. Without the necessity of waiting, there is no hope. And hope is exactly what Christ brought when He came to this earth.
This past weekend, Jason and I took our annual trip to St. Louis and St. Charles. It's always a special time for us, and even more so this year when we got to worship at my old church.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my old church. Christ Church literally changed my life, and I am incredibly thankful for a church body full of passion, joy, and love. This past weekend, they had the first Sunday in their new wonderful sanctuary, and we had the blessing of experiencing it with them.
Rev. Shane's sermon, as always, touched my heart in a special way. It highlighted the scripture from Luke:
For nothing is impossible with God. Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. ~Luke 1:37, 28
That is just incredible! First of all, NOTHING is impossible with God. He can do WHATEVER, WHENEVER and HOWEVER He wants to do it. And Mary, oh gosh, what a faithful follower. She accepted the Lord's will, knowing this journey she embarked on would be the hardest, yet most glorious journey ever.
I'm learning that our paths through life are more about giving glory to the Lord than an easy road. And you know what...I completely accept what's ahead if it is for God's glory. What an example Mary is...to not know the future, to know that her life will be hard, but to lay down her life and her will for God. Wow!
I will choose to celebrate THAT this Christmas! Knowing that the Lord did give me a baby...a baby Jesus who gives me more than I could ever imagine. Also, knowing the Lord gave us 2 babies who are in heaven. And we have so much to be thankful for.
Praise God. Thank you Lord for CHRISTmas!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
My confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"
In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Held by Natalie Grant
Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.
This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.
If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Well, on Sunday I experienced the mack truck. We were walking into church and struck up a conversation with a gentleman who we came to know after our pastor introduced us on the connection, we had both suffered a miscarriage in our family. We chit-chatted for a bit, and he asked us how were doing. You know the difference between the casual "How are you doing" you say to a complete stranger...where it is just polite to say, "Fine", and move on. Well, it wasn't one of those...it was a "How are you doing" in the sense that I've felt your pain, and I know that some days are good and some days are bad. Well, Jason and I confidantly and flippantly responed, "We're doing great!"
As we were sitting in the service, I reflected on the seemingly meaningless response we gave...and I thought, "Wow! We are doing great...praise God!" I even felt a little tinge of pride, like we had successfully endured another tragedy without it even leaving a bruise.
And then, I entered the busy interstate surrounded by mack trucks and there was no sidewalk for protection. Our pastor was preaching on sharing our lives with others and how it's important to share personal testimonies of God being there for us. He remarked on the strength and presence he felt from God when his parents divorced (ok, I can see that), after losing his grandfather (sure, God comforts), when he married his wife (oh, yeah...the Lord felt so present at our wedding too), and then when he heard his son's heartbeat last week at the doctor's office (what? huh?).
Collision! Mack truck has struck a pedestrian! I immediately felt my spirit crushed. I had to contain myself from just breaking down and running out of the service. I wanted to stand up and scream, "No! God was not with us through the hardest time of our lives! He left us to fend for ourselves, and now all I have left is the thought of what could've been!" Nothing else...a due date on Saturday that is now just filled with pain and emptiness. A body that cannot seem to figure out what it's doing. And a husband who doesn't understand this pain either.
I just sat there with my pain consuming me, saying, "God, where were you? You were with him, why not me? What did I do wrong?"
When it was time for communion, I walked up slowly, just hoping that the pastor's pregnant wife would not be the one serving me. Karma...oh yeah, she was. She handed me the bread, and said, "Brandy, accept God's love." And I thought, I'm trying to.
We sung this song after communion (dialogue in my head):
You are so Good to Me
You are so good to me (Oh really?)
You heal my broken heart (Hmm...my heart, it's still broken)
You are my Father in Heaven (Do you really love me, because sometimes I don't feel it)
You ride upon the clouds
You lead me to the truth
You are the Spirit inside me (Well give me some peace, would you?)
You poured out all Your blood (Ok...here it is, yes, you do...you love me, though I may not feel it, God you love me perfectly, completely, hugely)
You died upon the cross
You are my Jesus who loves me
In the midst of my pain and my questions to the Lord during this song, the sun started shining so warm on my face through the window, and there it was...the presence of the Lord when I so desperately needed Him. I know it came from Him, and I knew He was telling me, "Brandy, I've always been there, and I always will be. Rest in me." The Lord humbled me that morning and I knew that the journey I'm walking has ups and downs, but He's right there with me.
The last chapter talked about his views on death. Since Rich died before his time, though it seems he liked to think he lived beyond his time, it conveyed an amazing attitude of what it is to truly live life and also to accept death, and accept it with joy.
A few quotes from Rich on death:
(Rich learned quite a bit frm Saint Francis): Francis reminded himself daily that he would be dead...I think that while we live, the one sure thing about being alive is that we will die. Everything else is kind of "iffy." I mean, you may be rich, you may be poor. You may have a job tomorrow, you may not. Nothing is sure in life except that you will be dead. There's something really great about living in the awareness that we will someday die. For one thing, that makes all that is hard about life more endurable because we know it will pass. So I think that it teaches us to not hold on to things, to live with some sort of detachment. Not the sort of detachment where we are unmoved, but the sort of detachment where we allow ourselves to be moved easily and quickly, but we don't try to possess those things that move us.
Once you come to understand that life is unbelievably brief and that we really can't do anything that's gonna change anything, that we don't really amount to a hill of beans--then all of a sudden you go, "so it doesn't really matter if I'm not great. And if I don't have to be great, that means I can fail. And if I can fail, that means I can try. And if I can try, that means I'm gonna have a good time. "
Thursday, October 18, 2007
As I was flying home last night, I heard this song and it touched my heart. As we near November 3 (my first due date), I'm struck by the fact that we will not be welcoming our first child. I hope that Munchkin knows that nothing will take away our love for her.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Today is Infant Loss and Miscarriage Day and everyone who has lost a child is asked to light a candle for their lost children. Since I am away from home, I just wanted to light some candles for our precious children. I know we will hold them someday and I can't wait. So Munchkin and Sweet Pea, I love you!
Friday, October 12, 2007
So the other morning we were working out at the YMCA when the song, "Who let the Dogs Out?" came on. I just had to chuckle. I remember the days in college with the ARCHE boys would sing this to me, and of course, Who let the dogs out? Yes, that would be me. I don't even know what that song means...I hope there's no underlying profane theme! Even one time we were out at a bar and the song came on while I was in the bathroom. As I'm in the stall, I actually hear them singing it to me. Oh goodness, you gotta love 'em!
So I thought about it today and realized that the good Lord brings healing in so many different ways....from cleansing tears to laughter in recollections of "Who let the Dogs Out?". Thanks God!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
If you're having a bad day, take one of these and call me in the morning!
1. Falling in love.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
3. A hot shower.
6. Getting mail.
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer
11. Chocolate milkshake (vanilla or strawberry).
12. A bubble bath.
14. A good conversation.
15 The beach
16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.
17. Laughing at yourself.
18. Looking into their eyes and knowing they Love you
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
23. Laughing at an inside joke with FRIENDS
24. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
25. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
27. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
28. Playing with a new puppy
29. Having someone play with your hair.
31. Hot chocolate.
32. Road trips with friends.
33. Swinging on swings.
35. Making chocolate chip cookies.
37. Holding hands with someone you care about.
38. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
39. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a muchdesired present from you.
40. Watching the sunrise.
41. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for anotherbeautiful day.
42. Knowing that somebody misses you.
43. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.
44. Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people think.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
anytime that we focus on our performance, that in itself cuts us off from God-not successfully-because God's grace is greater than even our darkest sin. this is not about your righteousness. your righteousness is all in Jesus. so don't get so hung up about how important you are in the kingdom of God or how important you are to the growth of the church. it seems that God is always saying, "i'm not worried so much about how you're doing as much as i'm glad about who you are." the scripture also says don't get too hung up in your failures, your weaknesses, or your addictions--it doesn't make you separate from God because He still loves you. ~Rich Mullins
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
But in the area of reaching out to homosexuals, I believe we have shown the wrath of God, while neglecting the love of God. I must divide, though, the regular churches from the extreme churches. Sure there are those crazy ones, who I refuse to give any credence to, who spew complete hatred on everyone around them. They need more help than I care to write about. It's the normal churches who tend to chastise homosexuals as being sinners that they seemingly know nothing about. Bull-honky! We all are sinners. You go to church...because you're a sinner, not because you're perfect. We go to church because we acknowledge we need the grace of a loving savior. We go to church because we draw strength from other sinners who walk this journey with us.
This excerpt from a biography on Rich Mullins sums up my thoughts exactly:
I remember one time my friend and I were hiking on the Appalachian trail, and he met some friends of his, so I walked in town. It was about a five-mile walk from the campsite down the trail, down into town. And when I got there I went into a restaurant and I was having a steak, and this guy started talking to me and we had this great conversation. We were having a good time, and he said, "Hey look, it's dark and it's five miles up the road to your campground. Why don't I drive you up there?"
And I said, "Hey, great!"
And so we got in his car, and just as we pulled out from under the last light in town, the guy said, "You know what, I should probably tell you I'm gay."
And I said, "Oh! I should probably tell you I'm Christian."
And he said, "Well, if you want out of the car..."
I said, "Why?"
And he said, "Well, I'm gay and you're Christian."
I said, "It's still five miles and it's still dark."
Then he said, "I thought Christians hated gays."
I said, "That's funny, I thought Christians were supposed to love. I thought that was our first command."
He said, "Well, I thought God hated gays."
And I said, "That's really funny, because I thought God was love."
And then he asked me the big one. He said, "Do you think I will go to hell for being a gay?"
Well, I'm a good Hoosier, and I puckered up to say, "Yes of course you'll go to hell for being gay." I got ready to say that, but when I opened my mouth it came out, "No, of course you won't go to hell for being gay." And I thought to myself, Oh my God, I've only been in New Hampshire for one week and I've already turned into a liberal! What am I going to tell this guy now?"
Then I said to him, "No, you won't go to hell for being gay, any more than I would go to hell for being a liar. Nobody goes to hell because of what they do. We go to hell because we reject the grace that God so longs to give to us, regardless of what we do."
~Rich Mullins, His Life and Legacy by James Bryan Smith
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can 't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
As I was sorting through the pictures, I came across a writeup that a friend of my great grandmother Regina wrote for her eulogy. It really touched my heart today.
Regina's life expressed so clearly that our relationship with God is intimately connected with our relationships with other people. "You know," she said to me recently, "I used to always say I liked people. But I really loved them...though people would've looked at me funny years ago if I had said I loved my neighbor so and so." She continued, "When you read the bible, it is full of love, it is full of God saying, 'I love you.' " "And I love my family and friends. I love people...and there's not one person who I've met in my life that I won't be happy to meet up with again!"
What a legacy that my great grandmother left me! I always knew her to be so in tune with God's word...if it did not coincide with God's word, then she wanted no part of it. She even made a stance against the notion within Catholocism that only priests were able to interpret the bible. She was a revolutionary in her own right, holding bible studies for her friends so that they too may unlock the treasures in the word.
Thank you Grandma for your legacy of love and faith.
When I got home from my walk, I opened up my bible. I've been reading extensively in Jeremiah and it's God's grace that has put me there. These were the words I read:
...weeping for her children, refusing all solace. Her children are gone, gone - long gone into exile. But God says, "Stop your incessant weeping, hold back your tears. They'll be coming back home! There's hope for your children."
...You broke me. Now put me, trained and obedient, to use. You are my God. God will create a new thing in this land. A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!
...I'll refresh tired bodies, I'll restore tired souls. ~Jeremiah 31
And yet even when I read these words, a part of me says, "Oh, what a cool coincidence." But that is no coincidence. The Lord gave me these words to encourage my soul. To know that He is with me, restoring me, and telling me not to cry. It also calls me to be obedient to Him and allow Him to use me in the way He would like.
A life in Christ is bigger than we can ever imagine. It forces us to demolish our feeble human expectations and to release our dreams into the hands of Mighty God. That's where BIG, BIG things happen. It's a RENEWED and TRANSFORMED life, and how I long for that.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
The crazy thing about miscarriage is the loss of something unknown. All we know is that this is the precious child the Lord gave us, and the child He took away. Am I mad at Him? Well, for the past few weeks, I have been. I still find myself getting mad. It's a heart wrenching pain, a pain that I think no one can understand unless they experience it themselves. You hear the worst comments...everything from, "It's better this way." to "Well, at least you can get pregnant." I completely submit that these comments come from well meaning people who care about us. But they do no good for healing my heart.
I never thought that this pregnancy would end this way. When we found out I was pregnant, it was a complete surprise to me. I truly felt this was the Lord's special gift to us after the miscarriage we went through just a few months before. There was an incredible peace that surrounded this pregnancy...I just knew in the upcoming spring, I would be taking our precious child for a walk through the greening trees.
Well, the Lord, in all His wisdom (I must emphasize His wisdom, because I doubt in this lifetime I'll ever understand) decided to take our child a little earlier. Jason was in South Africa when it happened. The only person I wanted by my side was 10,000 miles away. And my thought was, "How could God hurt me so much?" I did not want any part of this God that would allow so much pain in my life.
I remember the following Sunday at church, we had a worship song about God's love...I could not even mouth the words. I could not believe that God could love me so much and yet allow so much pain in my life. I say "allow" because I don't feel that God caused this miscarriage, though I do believe He allowed it.
I realize more and more there is a battle in this world between good and evil (God and Satan). You can agree with me or not. But I know that we have a choice everyday of our lives to serve God or serve the world. At that time and admittedly, sometimes even now, I closed the book on God. I did not feel His love, nor His comfort. I felt nothing. I questioned constantly.
Just recently though I've learned that feelings should never been an indicator of reality. For example, there are some days you may not feel love for someone, yet you know you love them. And the reality is that God heals, God loves, God saves, and God restores...whether we feel anything or not. Those are the truths I want in my heart, and I am beginning to feel God's warmth surround me again.
Circumstances never control the reality of God...in a broken world, He's there. When life is perfect, He is there. When I miscarried in the wee hours that Friday, He was there. When I sat crying in the waiting room for an hour among pregnant bellies and newborn babies, He was there. When my heart broke because Jason was so far away and so out of reach, He was there. And I will choose to take comfort in knowing and believing that.
So what I'm left with is a new journey in front of me. Regardless of what's ahead, I'm to trust and know He'll be with me through all of it. He is my protector, my comfort, my healer, my savior, and my king. Lord, I'm back, please take away my will and replace it with yours.
God is good.....ALL the time
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
It’s cold in here, feels like everything’s upside down
I can feel you talking, but I can barely make out the sound
I've been kicking around these parts, feels like a year
I’m gonna change this world if I ever get out of here
She wants to dress me in pink, paints my bedroom blue
And I just laugh to myself, cause only I know the truth
This love is my only emotion
Haven’t learned any fear, any pain
It’s kind of funny with all this commotion
I guess they’ve got me to blame
They don’t even know my name
They don’t even know my name
Well I’ve never felt so ready, think it’s finally time
Cause that big old world is waiting, and it’s mine all mine
Just then everything got real quiet, it got real bright
And a man took my hand said, don’t worry, Momma's gonna be alright
Then he opened the gate, and I followed him in
Said you can wait right here till it’s your turn again
And his love is the one true emotion
Heaven knows no fear, no pain
I never got to set my wheels in motion
They loved me just the same
And they didn't even know my name
Didn’t even know my name
You loved me just the same
And you didn’t even know my name
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Good Point #1: I realize how incredibly wonderful my husband is. He is! I adore him. God could not have picked a more perfect man, and I get to be married to him. Wow!!!! It definitely makes me appreciate the time we get to spend together.
Bad Point #1: I miss him like heck!!!! Hurry home sweetie!
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
What I have noticed are some strange cravings so far! So this weekend I kept smelling hot dogs...everywhere I went. Jason came to bed Sunday night, and I said, "Did you eat a hot dog with ketchup?" He looked at me strangely and didn't say much.
And then Monday night, I got a scent of sushi, and boy, that would've tasted good. Guess I'll have to make do with something else!
Monday, July 23, 2007
This was a complete shock to both of us. Since Jason was in Bermuda for a big chunk of this last month, I thought there was no way we would be getting pregnant this month. Well, God proved me wrong and I found out today that I am pregnant!!!
We are so incredibly thankful to be pregnant again. It's such a bittersweet thanksgiving after having a miscarriage. I am determined this time around to have complete trust in God and know He's in control, not me!
Since I was completely shocked, I did not put the time and creativity in the revelation to Jason. I couldn't even wait until he got home...so I asked him if he wanted any Starbucks for the afternoon. He, of course, said yes. So I picked up a coffee for him and wrote "Bun in Oven" on the cup. It took him awhile, but after I showed him the pregnancy test, he believed me!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I thought that was pretty cute and the drink looks pretty yummy so if you're interested, check it out!
Abstinence On The Beach
1 can (12 oz. size) frozen grapefruit juice concentrate
1 can (12 oz. size) frozen cranberry juice concentrate
1/4 cup coconut milk
9 cups cold water
In a 6 quart container combine concentrated grapefruit juice, concentrated cranberry juice and water. Put 1 cup of juice and the coconut milk in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and pour back into main juice mixture. Stir to incorporate. Chill at least 2 hours. Serve in punch bowl or pitcher.
Monday, July 16, 2007
By Mark Schultz
Lord, I came to the mountaintop
To be with You
I felt Your grace falling down like rain
And I was made new
But there are times like now when I'm all dried out
And it's like 40 days out in the desert
Feeling like I'm lost forever
And crying out for You
But in these 40 days I'm going to seek You
With my heart because I believe You
Have brought me to this place
These 40 days
Lord, Your ways are not my own
But I trust You
Lord, You say, "You are not alone,
For I am with you"
But there are times like now when You can't be found
'Cause You are with me
You never leave me
Even when my world turns upside down
'Cause there are times like now when I will
Well, there is a light at the end of the tunnel...I know
Yes, there is a light at then end of the tunnel...Thank You Lord!
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
We decided to take the 6 mile route. We've run 13 miles, I think we can handle 6, right? Well the beginning of the trail was wonderful. We saw lots of deer, beautiful prairie land, peaceful streams. The bummer was that I had to use the restroom, like I have to do every 30 minutes. We came upon a restroom, and I thought we hit gold. I had Jason check it out for me, and there was a toilet...lacking a flushing valve though. Poot. So I thought I can hold it.
We continue walking and it was really beautiful and peaceful. The Lord's creation is so vast and peaceful. We came into a valley area covered with trees. Jason suggested this might be a good place for me to relieve myself. After some deliberation, I thought, I can't do this. This is not me...I'm a Marriott kinda girl, not a camper! So we moved on. Of course, 30 seconds later, here comes a runner through the trail. That made me really happy I didn't try, because he would've gotten an eye-full...that is for certain.
We continued hiking and we reach the summit and it was just beautiful. Hot, but beautiful. We were descending the hill and were happy to see that we had more well traveled paths ahead of us. We had been walking on some rustic trails previously. We're walking along and then we see the trail hits a closed gate. On the other side of the gate, it says, "Restricted Area". Hmm... So, where do we go? We decide to backtrack thinking we may have missed the turnoff. We find another area that has a slight trail and we follow that. We come across this flowing stream which felt so good to walk through...we had sloshy shoes for awhile, but it was worth it! Then we saw another hill...no tracks. GOODNESS! So we decide to turn around. I am starting to break down....it's 90 degrees and we're both hot and wishing for shade and a water fountain...or maybe even a puddle.
We decided to climb over the gate and look for a main road, and maybe we'd be lucky and come across an ambulance. No such luck. We found the main road and thought which way do we go now? We both felt that going left was the right direction, but the landscape didn't look too familiar. The Lord was hearing a few prayers from me that day! We kept walking and walking and walking. Every time we'd see a bin in the horizon, we thought, it has to be around that corner. And nope, it wasn't! Jason suggested we need to turn around, but I couldn't imagine backtracking only to find we picked the wrong way. So we trudged on, and would try and run to get there faster. Of course though, we were exhausted and out of water. So we didn't last long.
Finally the surroundings were starting to look familiar and we saw the Konza sign. Hallelujer!!!!! After 3 miles on this main road, we were smoked! I have never been more happy to see the cemetary located near the park entrance! After 3-1/2 hours of hiking, we were so thankful for air conditioning and water!!! And that whole having to use the restroom, well, I think my body used that for reserves! So if Konza is interested, they can add our 12 mile route to their map now!
All in all, it was worth it!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I felt compelled to write in response to watching a video of Kelsey Smith's memorial service. I saw that our church's pastor was giving the sermon, as this was also the Smith's church, so I decided to watch it. Watching the service moved me in many ways. In ways that I hope I will always be affected.
It truly is such a tragic story...an 18 year old girl being robbed of her dreams, her hopes, and her life. And yet, I remind myself that her life is just beginning...in heaven with her savior. It's hard not to be sad at a time like this. I didn't even know this beautiful young lady, and yet watching the family speak about her life moved me to tears over and over again.
What I know to be true is that her life on earth, though short, will be touching lives for a long, long time. Her death is not an eternal tragedy. It is a temporal tragedy. Eternal tragedies occur everyday when we choose to put earthly items, desires, insecurities, and anything above our Lord. It is so easy to live for this earth...we have nice houses, pretty yards, good friends, but they can never give us what we need - LIFE...the Lord, through Jesus, gives us this. But the Lord being so gracious also gives us CHOICE. And many days I choose to put earthly items in front of Him. Those earthly items will not go with me when I die.
Things that will go with me when I die are: my love for the Lord, my love for His people, my trust in Him, my hope in Him, and the time I spent getting to know Him more. What a blessing to know that Kelsey understood this.
A few principles I'd like to adopt in memory of Kelsey:
**Live everyday with FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE
**Life is precious, don't wait until tomorrow to tell that person what they mean to you
**Focus on what truly matters
**Boycott violent tv shows and movies (Kelsey's killer was shaped largely by these)
**LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE!
One of Kelsey's favorite scriptures:
Friday, June 8, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
"Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In the midst of my struggle to understand why God could allow the miscarriage to happen after Jason and I prayed so fervently for a child, I came to a reality I had to adopt into my core. It was 2-fold.
1. Always be thankful for everything. You may not understand why, and that's ok. Just choose to be thankful.
2. Praise God through all circumstances. The Lord takes us to new levels when we praise Him.
During the tough times, these were not easy things to do. But in all aspects of life, God gives us choices, and I choose to do it. Sure, I still questioned God, and I still got mad. But my spirit, when focused on the Lord, chose to be obedient to those 2 principles.
If you haven't read Corrie Ten Boom's book, The Hiding Place, I highly recommend it. I read it in college and one major principle from it has been planted in my heart since then. Quick background: Corrie and her family have been placed in a concentration camp and struggle everyday to stay faithful and stay alive. When they were taken to the Ravensbruck concentration camp during WWII, Corrie and her older sister Betsy found that their barracks were infested with lice. Betsy insisted that they thank God for the lice, since we are enjoined to give thanks for all things. Corrie struggled with that, but was obedient. The book goes on to tell how the sisters had an unusual freedom to read the Bible and pray in the barracks at night with the other inmates, in spite of the repressive practices of their Nazi guards. Corrie said, ‘The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the word of God.’ Why were they given such freedom? After a while they understood -- the lice! Another blessing in disguise.
Wow! Isn't that incredible?! God uses EVERYTHING, even the bad things to take care of us!
So in retrospect I see how God used the tough times...first of all with the miscarriage, I still don't know why it happened, but what I know is that God has strengthened my faith and has strengthened my marriage. I am a changed person because of it and I would not take that back.
Secondly regarding the Bermuda job, it was a tough time to say no and also to have my heart hurt by a woman with harsh words. And yet, I praise God for those hurtful words...as recently Jason was offered a job promotion that he's wanted! Had that woman not hurt me, there is a huge possibility we would be heading to Bermuda. In which case, Jason would have missed the opportunity he had wanted.
Looking back over the 2 months, I am so thankful for having an open heart to God. He filled my heart with a joy that only comes from Him. It's an incredible miracle that I can look back at these 2 months and feel love and provision from Him. It is so true that:
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." ~Romans 8:28
Friday, May 25, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
A cool cemetary...this had some Revolutionary War soldiers buried here and also 2 signers of the Constitution
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
We officially said "no" to the Bermuda option last Friday. The time we were there proved one thing to me--God did not want us there. I don't understand why, but I've learned it's not my job to desire comprehensive understanding. I firmly believe in a greater plan, and this opportunity did not make the cut.
Bermuda is an amazing place to visit, not a place personally I would like to live
I saw the most amazing beaches I have ever seen. Coral green water, and salmon pink sand...oh I miss it! Wonderful green vegetation, hidden flowers, manicured buildings. Awesome. Is Bermuda a good place to run/walk...defintely no. Since this is a favorite pasttime for Jason and me, it would definitely be hard to adjust to their very narrow streets lacking sidewalks. You have mopeds and vans with horrible exhaust racing past you on the winding streets. Not my idea of a relaxing place to walk. However, the beaches are amazing places to walk, I must say. So coupled with drinking unfiltered rain water, the presence of rats and large frogs (yeah, I abhor frogs...I know I'm weird), concerns about their health care system, and the outrageous living costs, I must say Kansas looks better and better.
I experienced racism, something I've never felt before
This was a big sign, I felt, that this is not the place for us. I had noticed early on in the week that I would say hello to some people and they would just stare at me. However, that was nothing compared to the incident that happened the last full day of our trip. I was out exploring the island and I walked back to Jason's office to meet him for lunch. As I was approaching Seaboard's office, I greeted a lady, and she looked at me and said, "F***ing White Trash!" Hmm...I think she must have gotten kicked off the Bermuda welcoming committee and she decided to take it out on me. To say I was hurt and confused is an understatement. I know I'm a little delicate as of late, but regardless, to be told these words would not make many want to pack up all their possessions and move thousands of miles away from the comforts of home.
However, I did not walk away from this experience without absorbing something. Racism is absolutely disgusting and to think that minorities in this country encounter this on a day-to-day basis outrages me. There is never a time or a place for racism, EVER. This hurt a lot to have a complete stranger utter such disparaging words to me. Yeah, I know I'm not white trash (white trash does not exist by the way...unless you're throwing away white paper), but still to hear someone with such anger unleash on me, definitely hurt my heart. I think what hurt the most is that this lady is holding such pain in her soul and she wants someone else to feel her pain. I have to remind myself not to hate her, but to pray for her that she may know joy and love, not anger and hatred.
So we're moving on...I can't say I know why we were presented with this opportunity to only close the door on it. But I know we can be assured we made the right decision.
Ok, God...what's next???