The Adventure Begins

It’s been too long since I’ve written, and the words feel jammed inside somewhere. As if I need to get a few cleared out, and thoughts might flow a little better.

Changes. Changes full of beauty and a deeper love than I could imagine.  Terrifying changes. Changes that drive me to Jesus in utter dependency and a fresh realization that there is nowhere safer to be than in Him.

Since my last post here, a lot has happened.

The Adventure Begins

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the morning and headed into what seemed would be a normal day. A bit later, I got a terse text that said “Come to the chapel right now.” I’m sure tires were screeching as I careened through the neighborhood. An hour later I was purchasing airplane tickets for my Dad and two other men to go international on a mission to protect the innocent. 7 hours later they were headed to the airport and embarking on a journey which no one really knew what it might involve. I prayed I would see my Dad alive again.

During the week he was gone, we prayed, we stood strong, we excitedly waited for any and every little update we could find.

And, unrelated to anything else going on, we received an email from someone about a little girl here in the States who needed someone to care for her.

A week after he left, I hugged Dad tightly in our living room, so thankful for the Lord’s protection.

The next day, I got another brief text: “It looks like she’s going to be ours.” So fast. What was happening? I wasn’t sure, but I already loved this little girl whose name I still didn’t know, and I was ready to do whatever God asked.

Two and a half days later, I looked for the first time at the beautiful girl who was to be my little sister.

As I looked in her eyes, tears filled mine and I had to turn away before they spilled over. Desperation. Hope. Terror. Emptiness. Trauma. Excitement. Desperate hope. I saw her story written on her face as she turned away from all she had ever known and got into our car. She pressed her face against the window and waved one last time as we drove away before turning forward and allowing a deep sob to escape her chest. There was no stopping the tears in each of our eyes and hearts.

So young, so vulnerable. And ours.

I helped her make cookies this morning. I posed for her as she drew a picture of me. I watched the Sound of Music with her. I sat with my arms around her, her sweet head in my lap. I went shopping with her. I laid on my bed and ate pretzels with her. I whispered “I love you” over and over. I hugged her goodnight. I promised to be right there with her first thing in the morning. I watched my parents fall in love with their new daughter. Tears spilled over again as she excitedly yelled “Daddy!” as soon as he walked back in the front door from the gym.

For nearly 25 years I have been the youngest child, and paradigms are shifting in our family.

This little one looks up to me like no one ever has before in my life. We love each other deeply, and every time she snuggles up to me and wraps her arms around my waist and doesn’t let go, my heart aches a little more. Ever since this little girl stepped into our lives just a short while ago, tears have either been running down my cheeks constantly or hiding just around the corner ready to show up without warning.  How can I already love her this much? How can I be a big sister to one so desperate for love and a rebuilding of trust? What do I do when I see the hurt well up and she closes down and acts in the only way she knows how based on the things she has experienced in her young little life–experiences I can’t even imagine. How can I show her the love of her Heavenly Father?

Jesus. HE is how. Jesus is Who I must turn to. His heart is the only one that can handle such love and such sorrow.

This past several weeks has been life-altering in ways I could never have fathomed when I got up that Friday morning. It has been difficult. It has been heart-breaking. It has been exhausting…

…and it has been filled with JOY. It has been filled with JESUS. I can’t deny the beauty in seeing my own weakness and His utter strength. I’m enraptured.

Seeing the heart of God in my parents through these past few weeks has touched something in me that hasn’t ever really been touched on before. I can’t express how honored and humbled I am to be part of their lives and learning from them the way I have for my whole life–but especially the past few weeks. Their given-ness; their endless love; their pre-decided “YES!” to anything the Lord may ask of them; allowing the door of their life–physically and emotionally–to be flung open to the most vulnerable. Thank You, Jesus. You had a beautiful plan when you scripted the lives of my parents.

And the proof that You know what You’re doing? It’s inescapable. I see it so clearly in the way this little sister of mine came into our family.

It is with great joy and expectancy that I can say my life has changed and it will never be the same. Oh! the adventures the Lord takes us on!

How can I love?

I boarded the plane for the last leg of my journey, excited to be done with a long day of traveling. Settling into my seat in the middle of the very last row of the plane, I eyed everyone coming down the aisle toward the back–which one was to be my seat-mate?

People trickled in and the seats filled up. Every seat on the plane was full. Before the doors of the airplane ever closed, I was already getting a little annoyed with a handful of the people in my general vicinity.

The seats directly in front of me were filled with two men who were buddies, and a girl who was merely assigned to the seat next to them.

The men were vulgar, crass, inappropriate to the girls around them, and generally just difficult to be around. A few exchanged glances with some of the people nearby confirmed that I was not the only one a little apprehensive about how this flight would be.

We taxied, took off, and headed for home. During the duration of the flight, these chaps drank a little too much and it only served enhanced their previous behaviour. I was getting more upset as time went by–specifically because of how they were treating the girl next to them, for the language that they were spilling all over plane, and just their general lack of dignity and manliness in general.

By the time we were descending, they were in full swing and one of them in particular had had enough to drink on the flight that he lost a good portion of it. All over the floor, himself, my bag, and the girl next to him.

I’ll just fast-forward here, and say that a good portion of the people who de-boarded that plane were pretty upset about everything that had happened on the whole flight. In an empty concourse on the way to the baggage claim, I had a run-in with the men which was of a nature that only made me (and them) more upset about the whole situation.

Tears spilled over as I called Dad and asked him to meet me at the top of the stairs rather than just waiting in the car–I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being alone at the baggage claim with these guys who were now drunk and specifically upset at me (because of the previous run-in).

I’ve left out some details, but I wanted to give enough information for the rest of my post to make sense.

That night as I lay in bed, I was still crying and shaking with indignation at all that had happened. I was so upset, I couldn’t even think straight. I didn’t know what to think. I knew I needed to pray and take it to the Lord, but I didn’t even know how.

In the quietness of the middle of the night, the Lord spoke to me. Not verbally with words that I could hear, but softly to the deepest places of my heart.

“Oh, Jesus. I can’t. How do I love people like that? I know You do, but . . . they were so revolting! I can’t. I don’t want to.” The last words are a stab to my heart to even remember.

Then it struck me as never before. Their sin is not any more revolting in the eyes of the Lord than mine.

Oh, Jesus!

Somehow, I have had a gradient for sin. I didn’t think I did. I thought I loved people. I thought I desired for even the worst of the worst to know Jesus. But, then I was faced with a situation which made my flesh rise up so strongly–I did not love with the heart of Christ. I did not want to love.

Jesus loves. He is love. When we bear the name of Christ and live in Him and He in us, how can we not love?

The behaviour of such men is not to be loved or commended, but how can I despise a living soul who must one day face the judgement seat of Christ–possibly to be damned to everlasting hellfire? It was once I who was in such a position before the Lord–loved but lost. Participating in revolting sin. Dead even while I lived.

Jesus, forgive me! I, in my sin, am not somehow better or less despicable than those men because of so-called “lesser sins”. There is no such thing.

Grip the hearts of those men, Lord. Teach me to love. To forgive. Fill me with the fullness of who You are!

Jesus, I my cross have taken.

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

-Henry Lyte

Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God. – Jim Elliot

Oh, how much this quote describes my life. I have fallen willingly into the “easy life” of just being “normal”. But I claim to be hidden in the very life of Christ, and to have Him dwelling in me…how can I be “normal” while truly living that?

I was reading in Katie Davis’ book and this cute interlude between her and one of her children popped out at me (this is slightly paraphrased because I don’t have the book right here with me)–

‘One of my girls asked me: “If I ask Jesus into my heart, will I explode?” I laughingly replied with “No, of course not!” and then I rethought my answer: “Yes, if Jesus comes into your heart, you will explode.” That is exactly what we should do if Jesus comes to live inside our hearts. We will explode with love, with compassion, with hurt for those who are hurting, and with joy for those who rejoice. We will explode with a desire to be more, to be better, to be close to the one who made us.’ -Katie Davis

When we enter into Christ and He enters into us, it is an exchange–His life for ours. Our life for HIS. It is not a joining of two lives. God is not coming in and joining up with our old life. He comes in and ravishes our life and completely overtakes us….this is how it should be, anyway. We are to be dead to self–our old man absolutely eradicated. Exchanged for the life of CHRIST.

“But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto Him.” Psalm 4:3

Set apart: to be distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished
to be wonderful
to make separate, set apart

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

There are areas of life where in this world we are to be extraordinary–but in the heavenly realms, these things are to be the norm.

In our world, it is normal to worry about things that aren’t looking so great. But as a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be anxious for nothing.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do live a “good life” and just not do “bad things”. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to continually “examine [ourselves], whether [we] be in the faith” and to “be perfect as [HE] is perfect.” In our earthly terms, to truly live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do get upset about things, wish our circumstances were different than they really are, to get discouraged at our situations in life, to shy away from pain and persecutions. As a new creation in Christ, set apart for Him, we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say, REJOICE!” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is normal and even wise to have a backup plan, in case God doesn’t come through (although we wouldn’t actually put it in those terms). We specifically plan for “plan B” to kick in. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are to have Christ as our all in all–and once we put our hand to the plow, we are not to even glance back. We are called to extreme faith (“without wavering!”) in the One who has called us–“for He is faithful that promised.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do hold a grievance against another when they have specifically wronged you, we feel justified in holding onto our offenses. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to forgive, even as the Heavenly Father has forgiven us–completely and utterly, without even a remembrance of any wrong done. In our earthly terms, to live this way is beyond extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to become panicked in a time of crisis. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be still and know that [He] is God.” The disciples, when panicking over looking death right in the face, are rebuked: “…why are you fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to depend on ourselves and our own strength–we are so often specifically even raised this way in our culture. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to have complete and utter dependence on God, in absolutely every single aspect of our lives. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary (and is usually seen as stupid!).

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to take time for ourselves, to make our own self feel better, to have “down time”, to pat ourselves on the back for all the good we’ve done and reward ourselves with some time for ourselves. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to live as if our lives are not our own–because, indeed, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are not our own. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary.

There are so many more such examples.

The point is that these things should not be extraordinary in the life of Christ–living as the life of God requires of us should be the normal for a life surrendered fully to God. But if the world looks at us as “normal”, we have much to be concerned about!

We are to be showcasing a new creation. A creation made exquisitely by the Master Creator Himself!

True godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the only explanation for you, is Jesus Christ to whose eternally unchanging and altogether adequate “I AM!” your heart has learned to say with unshatterable faith, “Thou art!” – Major Ian Thomas

If we are holding onto parts and pieces of our life for any reason, then we have not yet grasped the fullness of the Gospel. When we’ve truly seen Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there is no holding back from giving Him our all…but it should be completely outside of anything we or anyone else may personally receive–it is because this is what the life and death of Christ requires of those claiming His name: abandonment of self and all you once held dear.

And it is with great excitement and willingness that this takes place, because we have seen that He is worthy!

If there are still parts of us that are living “to and for ourselves”, where does full surrender then come into the picture?

Full surrender doesn’t come into the picture . . . it is the picture.

It is not ordinary to desire to be spilled out for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to be willing to be looked on as being a fool for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to get excited at the thought of dying for Christ’s sake. It is not ordinary to love Jesus more than life itself.

But this is what a life surrendered to an extraordinary God compels us to.

So, I say again with Jim Elliot:

“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.”

When one is captivated by and allows their life to be ravished and overtaken by so extraordinary a God, they become a “one-note wonder”. JESUS.

JESUS.

JESUS.

That is the cry of my heart. The refrain of my life. And I want that to be the only cry of my heart for the rest of my days–that every breath I breathe would proclaim

JESUS.

Make me ever more dependent on you, Lord. I need you desperately.

We are commissioned to represent Christ! To bear the very name, to bear the very image and reputation of God Almighty!

Don’t pray that God would teach you how to love like He loves; pray that He would fill you with Himself and that He would love in and through you. Don’t pray that He would teach you to have joy; pray that the living God full of joy would enter into you. Don’t pray that He would teach you how to be peaceful; ask for the God of peace, the Prince of peace to infill you. Because if you try to imitate in your own strength, you will be a miserable replica. But if you allow the impartation of Jesus Christ to overtake you, suddenly it all works because it is Him imitating Himself, and He is very good at being God. -Eric Ludy

Tonight’s Thoughts

Tonight is a night where everything is so still that I can almost palpably feel the nearness of my Jesus.

Tonight He is whispering to my heart with words of love and truth.

Tonight I am grieving over my own hardness of heart.

Tonight I am thankful for weakness and pain.

Tonight I am unable to sleep because of the aching in my heart.

Tonight is a night of peace and contentment; a night of longing and searching.

Tonight is a night of sweet worship in adoration of my beloved King.

Tonight is the sort of night I’d love to be taking a ramble in the woods, peeking up into the stars above between the branches of the trees, reveling in the majesty of creation.

Tonight, the cry of my heart is “Desiderio Domini!” (“I dearly long to be with my Lord”)

Tonight I am thankful. So very thankful.

Tonight I am realizing afresh my own unworthiness, and the utter worthiness of my God.

Tonight the tears are falling as I pray for my brother who does not yet know the reality of a life lived for Christ.

Tonight my arms are aching for the hugs of my dear kiddos in Africa, and the ones I’ve not yet met all over the world.

Tonight I am hungering and thirsting for more of my Jesus.

Tonight is a sweet gift from God.

Do you remember?

Memory is a fascinating thing, and today I’m so thankful for memories.

Honestly, I’m thankful for the good memories and the bad. Somehow. I’m not sure how I’m thankful for bad memories, but I guess it’s because the things that come to mind when I think of “bad memories” are things that I can now look back on and see so visibly how God has taken those instances and worked them for great good in my life and my family’s life.

There are definitely memories that I’m very much not fond of, but . . . the good outweighs the bad, by far.

***

I remember the day I tried roller-skating down The 4th Street Hill when I was about 10. It definitely doesn’t stand out as the most brilliant decision I ever made, and I had scars to prove it for awhile, but . . . the adrenaline rush I got still brings a smile to my face.

***

I remember being so confused as to why Mom wouldn’t make me a Green Bean Birthday Cake when I was about 6 years old. People had carrot cake for their birthday. I loved green beans. Why not have a green bean birthday cake? My little brain just didn’t understand why my wish was being denied.

***

I remember many an enchanting hour spent on the white-wicker porch swing on the slate blue porch of The Little White House.

***

I remember the time I packed a real live mouse into my suitcase, and then realized it in the middle of the night.

***

I remember my first ride on an ambulance as a patient. I was headed to the hospital to volunteer when someone hit me from behind at a high-ish speed. I sure made it to the hospital a lot faster than I was originally intending…

***

I remember when I first realized what a fun thing it was to imagine things. Sure, I had imagined lots of things before, but . . . this was the moment when I was completely enraptured with the concept of imagination. What a wonderful moment that was, and oh! how I never want to leave that place of being enraptured.

***

I remember happy days spent down at the wharf catching crabs, touring the Alaska ferry, chatting with the gift shop ladies, throwing bread to the seagulls, and breathing deeply of the scent of salt water and the nearby fish warehouse.

***

I remember many excruciating hours spent trying to learn how to ride the unicycle . . . I was determined!

***

I remember the day Dad set me up with my very own email address.

***

I remember sitting in my brother’s room on his bed the day I first had any contact with the girl who was to instantly become my best friend. Remember that day, Bex?

***

I remember sitting in my little yellow kayak out in the middle of a lake in the Adirondacks of New York and being surrounded by dozens of speed boats. They sped past me, producing waves worthy of surfing on. My poor little kayak and I didn’t know what to do, but after floundering for awhile, we finally made it to shore and survived the whole incident with nothing worse than a strange desire to experience it again. Ah, adrenaline.

***

I remember my first late-night horseback ride, racing through fields drenched in moonlight, hair loose in the wind.

***

I remember writing my very first book. I’d love to go back and read it again (I think. But then again . . . .maybe I don’t want to read it again!) but unfortunately, it was lost in the Laptop Crash of . . . oh, probably ’08-ish? My second book was also lost the same day. And almost all of my short stories. *moment of silence*

***

I remember the very first day of the very first semester of Ellerslie. Oh, the many memories that Ellerslie has added to my repertoire!

***

I remember the day my life flashed in front of me as I headed under the semi-truck. I should’ve died that day, but God miraculously spared me, and I ended up with nothing worse than a stiff neck, a broken axle, a nearly totaled car, and a hysterical mother. She has since recovered. ;)

***

I remember the day I saw the miracle of a life coming into the world. Love you, Kipling Joel Anthony!

***

I remember the day I was excitedly sitting in my very first A&P class. That day ended with a trip to the ER, and within a few days I had made several more trips back to the ER, dropped out of college, and been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. That has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.

***

I remember the day I first realized what a relationship with the Lord truly was to be–a life of intimacy and victory. A daily dying to self and living for Christ. A lifetime of serving and glorifying my beloved King.

***

I remember the day I found out I was officially going to Africa. And then, of course, I remember the day I arrived, the day I first went to the village, the day I first went to the market, the day I ate roasted ants, the day I fell in love with the African culture, and the day I had to leave.

***

I remember the day I first met my chiropractor–one of the first people in the “medical field” (which, I don’t really think chiropractors technically are…) who gave me hope–and I remember the day he officially made it onto my “close friends” list. What a blessing to have a Christian chiropractor who understands and cares and continually directs my attention back to the Lord.

***

I remember the day I told myself I’d one day be a famous singer. Ha.

***

I remember the day I won a sibling-wide contest as to who could fit the largest kitchen utensil into their mouth. It’s not something I often boast about, but I still hold it over my siblings here and there. Probably not the smartest move, considering they have ample room to come back with some “big-mouthed” comment.

***

I remember the big, big swing-set Dad made when I was little. It was adult-sized, and my little 6 year old self absolutely loved swinging as high as possible on it. I told secrets to the clouds as I rose above the tree tops of our little orchard. I wanted to spend the rest of my days on that swing-set.

***

I remember many afternoons of Cops and Robbers with my brothers in the driveway on our bicycles, Cowboys and Indians in the orchard next door–complete with teepees(!), Salvation Army in the back yard, and House/Secret Club/etc behind the chicken house.

***

I could go on and on and on and on and on . . . .

But I think I shall wrap this up, and perhaps sometime do a Part II installment because I had such a fun time reminiscing about all this things.

Oh, the joys of memories!

What are some of your favorite memories?

Dear Sir

Dear Sir,

Thank you so much for coming to my rescue in Wal-Mart the other day.

And thank thank you so much for coming to my rescue outside of Wal-Mart the other day.

There I was, blissfully driving down the back country roads trying to get to my chiropractor before he leaves for a week, enjoying the beautiful snow-laden scenery, and then WHAM, my driver’s-side windshield wiper FLEW OFF the car into oblivion, never to be seen again on this earth.

This, as you agreed so readily when we were standing in Wal-Mart, was not ok. One should not be driving in blowing snow behind other vehicles who are spewing slush up onto your windshield without properly functioning windshield wipers.

I peered blindly through my windshield, praying desperately for supernatural vision, someone to help me, that I could somehow still make it to my appointment on time, and for my memory of how to get to Wal-Mart by memory without the added aid of sight to not fail me.

I made it to Wal-Mart and there I stood in front of the windshield wipers, biting my lip. Whhaaaa? There are how many different kinds and sizes of windshield wipers? My eyes glazed over, and all my thoughts of how well I could function around cars because of my auto-mechanic genius of a Dad left me.

I made a desperate call to the only person I could think of who could help me (who I knew wasn’t currently at work), and they couldn’t help me. While I was on the phone, spilling non-stop at the mouth about my whole predicament, you came around the corner and said:

“Uh, ma’am? I can help you.”

I hung up on the person I was on the phone with and gushed some exuberant thank-yous while intermittently answering your questions about the make/model/year of my car.

You then handed me a windshield wiper and told me it was the one I needed.

I don’t know that I’ll know for sure what inspired you to draw me a diagram on the back of the wiper packaging about how to change the blade out, but I have little doubt that it was the blank look on my face which inspired such a charitable act.

I nodded and continued looking blank throughout your whole explanation of how to change out the wiper blade, and then marched confidently to the front of the store, purchased the blade, and headed out to the windy, snowy, cold parking lot with great trepidation . . . but with my most confident of confident gaits.

There I was, getting colder by the minute, and definitely not succeeding at changing out the blade. I was getting a little desperate, because I really needed to make this appointment, and I really, really, needed a windshield wiper blade in order to make this happen safely.

“Ma’am? How’s that working out for ya?”

“Not well at all!” I thrust the wiper blade at you, and started in on my avalanche of profuse thanks again.

I take a slight bit of satisfaction in the fact that you had a bit of a fight with getting the thing changed out, too, but really I mostly am just eternally grateful that you scanned the parking lot and saw me flailing around trying to get the crazy thing changed and took pity on me. And you aren’t even a Wal-Mart employee!

So, all that to say, thank you for rescuing me in Wal-Mart. And, thank you for rescuing me outside of Wal-Mart a short while later.

And my last remark to you? It was true. You were a life-saver.

Forever grateful,

Grace

 

A little smattering of unrelated things

1. There are some days where I miss this little girl more than words can express. I never thought I’d be one to fall in love with a specific child who I had previously never laid eyes on and have no prior claim to. But, when I walked through the door that day and planted a kiss on this little girl’s cheek, my life changed. I don’t talk about her very much, but there is literally not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about her and pray for her and remember that last day when she clung to me and I clung to her. Tears from my eyes dropped into her pile of little dark curls which were free to the air that day, because I’d stolen her in the middle of the weekly hair-do schedule. I couldn’t imagine leaving her, but I knew I had to.

And today is one of those days where my arms are aching to hold her, my heart is overflowing with love, my eyes can’t stay dry, and I just want to know where she is at this very moment and know if she’s being taken care of. Jesus, be with my little girl!

(this picture was not actually taken this morning)

2. I got up this morning while it was still dark outside and sat on the porch overlooking the little lake across the fence. A little mist rose up from the surface and I watched as the reflections in the water grew more visible as the sun began to peek over the far horizon. It was a beautiful time just sitting in awe of the Creator of the universe. I love Him, so much.

And then I went and crawled back into bed (actually, I crawled back onto the couch, since that’s where I’ve been sleeping lately). And I woke awhile later with a smile on my face. The aching in my bones and the pain in my joints tried to erase the smile, but it stuck like glue!


(pictures taken the beginning of this year by Lauren)

3. I think I have the cutest parents out there. And they’re pretty much the best things that have ever happened to me on this earth. Or, did I happen to them? Huh…perhaps they’re the best thing I ever happened to? Either way, confusion aside, I love my parents so much. And I have decided that as soon as I raid enough couches and collect enough pennies, I’m going to take my Dad skydiving. I asked him if he wanted to and he got pretty excited and told me the exact prices–methinks he’d been looking into it himself!

4. Check out these pretty little girls and handsome little boys. I think the cute gene must run in the family because, if I’m not mistaken, these are some of the cutest kids out there. I say “some” because this is only 5 of my 13 nieces and nephews…. ;) Also, while I am biased, I can admit that there are a TON of cute kids in the world. I won’t deny the facts. But, I just have to brag on these ones because I’m related to them.

5. I don’t have a picture to go with this one, but I just want to announce that on this past Sunday, I rode a roller coaster for the first time ever in my life. And not only did I ride a roller coaster, I rode the craziest roller coaster in Colorado 8 times….and 7 of them were back-to-back. And I went on the other ones at Six Flags multiple times, too. I think it’s safe to say that I loved it. I’m totally a thrill junkie when it comes down to it, and “I like being scared!” This is why me and Avy-Rosie get along so well…I can relate to that child on so many levels.

6. Ellerslie Fall Semester 2012 arrives in just two days! I always get so excited when a new class arrives. And this time I’m doubly excited. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say why publicly yet, so I’ll just mention that much and keep you all in suspense. But, let’s just say that I’m so thrilled for this weekend.

7. I have a feeling Mr. Carpenter would twitch if he read my writing today. I’m so overdoing the italics. *high five if you know the reference I just made*

8. Don’t mind my blog layout or any random changes you may see throughout the next little while. I messed up my previous layout and this one is just a place-holder. A place-holder that I don’t even like, I might mention. I’m going to try to get something up pretty soon that I like well enough to leave alone for awhile again, and in the meantime….ooooh! Secrets happening behind this here blog. Again, I’ll just leave you in suspense on that one, but I’m excited at what happens when my Dad and I put our heads together and plot about my blogging.

9. On that note (the blogging note): I think my parents are now fully aware of me having a blog. It took long enough. I even talked about it fairly regularly, and invariably one would pipe up and say “Eh? You have a blog?” But now Dad is helping me plot exciting things for the future of this blog, and the other day while Mom was in Tennessee she called me up and said:

“Hi Grace, I just met this really neat girl. She wants to write just like you do and do creative things with her writing. I called to ask you what your blog address is because I think she’d enjoy reading your blog. You’ll really like this girl, her name is Jessica. Here, talk to her!”

And then I was on the phone with a girl who I’d never met before. I love my Mom. ;)

But it was a great phone call, regardless of my being put on the spot like that–Jessica is a great girl, and I do love her already. Just as Mom predicted I would. Hi, Jessica! I don’t know if you’re reading my blog yet, but . . . I’m still so excited to get to know you! And it was a new experience to know that Mom was out giving my blog address out to people. I still somehow have the idea in my head that only the people that I know personally and who comment on my blog actually read it.

If you’re out there and you’re reading along right now, I’d be ecstatic if you’d comment. Also, I’d be intrigued to know how you found my blog–if the answer isn’t something obvious like “Grace, you gave me the address and called me every 30 seconds until I looked up your blog”….that doesn’t intrigue me. It causes me to twitch… But if you found my blog in some other way, I’d be quite intrigued to know how!

10. I shall now be wrapping up this oh-so-random post and heading off to get about 1000 keys made at Wal-Mart. Ok, not 1000, really. But I had 51 made the other day, and I have at least that many more to get made today…and, in key-numbers, that’s pretty close to 1000.

the best news ever

The weather today is undeniably perfect in just about every way. At least, perfect in every way for a non-rainy, non-foggy day. Those are the best days. But for a sunny day, this is perfect.


It hasn’t gotten above 67 degrees today in the sweet little town I live in, the sun is slanting in through the tree across the yard at just the right angle to make me thrill with the knowledge that the earth is at just such a situation to proclaim “autumn!!” to this part of the world, I’m drinking Twining’s Earl Grey tea out of a lovely green mug that some dear girls gave me a week or two ago when I was really sick, I’ve gotten lots of things accomplished today in spite of feeling quite ill (I blame the crazy amounts of antibiotics I’m on–those things kill), and I got my camera out!

I’m one blessed girl.

Do you ever feel like you couldn’t love Jesus any more than you do at that very moment. And yet the very next moment you are filled with an even deeper adoration for Him. And you just want to fall down and worship at His feet, while simultaneously you are hardly able to contain yourself from shouting His name to anyone who might hear. And you feel like you’re about to burst, and you can’t stop yourself from talking about Him to everyone you lay eyes on?

That’s me today.

I wish I could say that that was me everyday. Why do I want to tell my curly hair secrets to every girl I see who has curly hair that could use some help, but I’m not willing to tell people I see who obviously don’t know Jesus about the One who loves them more than anyone could possibly love anyone? Why am I scared of what people will think of me? I look at myself sometimes and am ashamed that I’ll make a fool of myself for so many other reasons–I get the urge to sing loudly in the aisle of Wal-Mart, and you couldn’t stop me if you tried. I tell a random stranger at the drinking fountain “don’t drink all of it!” and they look at me like I’m crazy. I hug total strangers in the grocery store. I go weeks and months without shampooing my hair (curly hair secret alert!) and people think I’ve gone totally crunchy/granola. And I don’t care what anyone thinks of me in those situations. And yet I find myself unwilling to talk to the person in line behind me at the grocery store about the Love of my life. Why?

I refuse to continue on like this. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. If I am truly in love with Him, how could I help but tell everyone I know about the One whom my soul loves?

It’s been frustrating to me, because the desire is there to talk about Him freely to those who may not feel the same way about my King as I do, and yet I’ve allowed fear in this area to rule my life.

It cannot be.

I’m proclaiming to the world at large right now that I have found my soul-Husband. I have fallen deeply in love with the Creator of the universe. He is mine, and I am His. I want to be a fool for His sake. I want people to know that I’m completely captivated and have eyes only for Him. I don’t care what people think about me.

And I’m also here to proclaim to the world at large that the little town I live in better watch out. They’re going to hear about the One my heart is totally ravished by, because I can’t keep silent any longer! I want everyone around me to know without a doubt where my affections lie. I want them to personally know the One who holds the world in His hand. I want them to experience the love of a perfect Father. I want them to realize that there is victory! Oh, there is little doubt in my mind as to why the gospel is called the good news!

And yet I think there could be a better term for it.

The best, most exciting, awe-inspiring, beautiful, majestic, freeing, adoration-producing, life-changing news that ever fell upon human ear.

How could I not want to share that with every single person I come across? I have a treasure, and I want to share it.

This is what I need.

To be willing.

To be ready.

Prepared.

To be completely given.

Surrendered.

To never diminish the ache deep inside me that has been placed there by the heart of my Jesus.

To never live at peace with even one moment of apathy.

To look laziness in the face with a determination and a fight.

To fight.

To give up my hopes.

My dreams.

The things I think I deserve.

To love every single person I see.

To allow God to love through me.

Even those who are “un-loveable”.

The homeless man down the street.

The mom in the grocery store who can’t keep her kids under control.

The dad who ignores his family.

The man who threatened me last week.

And to love those who are easy to love.

To not be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of unloved people.

The children.

The girls.

The elderly.

The boys.

The men.

The babies.

The caregivers.

Oh, Jesus.

Your heart.

This is what I need.