What Can I Do But Praise You?

When I see the beauty of a sunset’s glory,
amazing artistry across the evening sky

When I feel the mystery of a distant galaxy
It awes and humbles me to be loved by a God so high

What can I do but thank You?
What can I do but give my life to You?
Hallelujah, hallelujah!
What can I do but praise You?
Everyday make everything I do a hallelujah!
A hallelujah, hallelujah!

When I hear the story of a God of mercy
Who shared humanity and suffered by our side

Of the cross they nailed You to, that could not hold You
Now You’re making all things new
by the power of Your risen life!

– Paul Baloche –

(originally posted on 8/23/10)

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.

One Year

A year and two days ago I was hugging my family and friends goodbye in the Denver airport.

One year ago today, I had flown across the ocean, spent 12 hours in Germany, and was now landing in Uganda.

I took a deep breath as the wheels touched down on the runway.

I was in Africa.

 

I still, a year later, haven’t yet found words to describe the emotions that were going on inside of me. The emotions that are still running rampant in my heart.

God gave me a lot that day.

A burden in my heart.

 

A depth of love that I had never experienced for people I didn’t even know.

 

A true peace, even in the face of huge “unknowns”.

 

Glimpses of joy in the face of desperation, poverty, and desertion.

 

Visions of God’s heart that I still haven’t yet comprehended.

 

A deeper desire to know my God.

 

The reality of what it would truly mean to spill ones life for the glory of God.

 

And lots and lots of memories that are still working in my heart and life to draw me ever closer to God.

 

(as an aside: I’m not allowed to post direct pictures of the kids that I worked with while in Africa, but, believe me, if I was, you’d be completely inundated. Completely. Inundated.)

365 a year.

Pictures, that is. I mean, days, of course, too, but . . . I’m venturing on a get-better-with-your-camera-by-doing-a-photoshoot-every-day-with-a-specific-purpose-in-mind spree.

Follow my photographic journey over at my Tumblr!

I, of course, decide to start the day after I’ve been slammed into bed with the stomach flu and thus have just about the busiest day ever because of the catch-up work I have to do. But . . . what better day to start perfecting something than today?

A bowl of fresh peaches, coming right up!

*edit* Sorry, folks, about the links. They’ve been fixed now!