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.

The Weekend

This is one of those days where I just want to write and write and write….and yet the words just don’t come.

Am I to let such a piddly thing as that stop me from writing, though? Never.

I went on a roadtrip with my Jade the other day (yes, MY Jade.) up into the mountains to her family’s house to pick up her younger brother and bring him back with us. It was a lovely trip–we told stories, laughed heartily, sat in silence, read aloud from an Elisabeth Elliot book, careened around corners at high speeds, made pit stops, got a hearty dinner at her parents house, picked up her brother, got a lesson in the “cool lingo” of the day (“dude, that is so nuclear!”), listened to random music, told more stories, laughed a lot more, careened around more corners at high speeds, and made it safely back in one piece.

Well, technically I guess we made it back in three pieces, since there were three of us.

And then on Sunday afternoon Jade, her brother (Charlie), and I, and a couple other folks went mini-golfing at Charlie’s request. It ended with a trip to Spooners and an impromptu concert at the outdoor piano–put on by yours truly and Jade . . . complete with some epic dancing on the sidewalk by Charlie, David (one of our interns), and Stephen (one of the young boys from church).

Charlie is such a sweet kid, and it was so fun to spend a weekend hanging out with him.

 I hope you realize, Jade, that I’m claiming him as my little brother, too, and you shall now have to share him for the rest of your life. And his. ;)

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?

Winter’s Delight

I popped out of bed this morning at a little before 5:30.

I knew the Master Artist had been at work in the quiet hours of the night as the town lay sleeping peacefully. Making sure each snowflake was absolutely perfect and enchanted, piling a little more over there, sprinkling some snow dust on that perfectly formed tree branch, blowing the snow into the corners of the window panes just so, and perching the cozy cap of whiteness perfectly atop the lone street-lamp.

My breath caught as I hurried up the stairs to the largest window in the house. I was so full of expectation, I could hardly stand it. Oh! I felt like I was 5 years old again!

And then, there it was. I was sure I had been transported to a different land entirely. The world, in the haziest of early morning lights, lay perfectly still around me, wrapped in the coziest blanket of snow, whispering to me the secrets of the seasons. Sweet and perfect secrets which I in the past have been too busy to stop and listen to. Secrets of beauty and peace.

My hands found themselves cupped over my mouth in absolute delight. What a perfect morning this was!

I finally pulled myself away from my winter daydreams, set the teapot on the stove, lit the fire, and sought out my Best Friend. Thank you, Jesus, for mornings like this!

(You can expect lots more posts out of me regarding snow. I’m reveling in it to the fullest.)

(Also, no the pictures are not ones that I took…I stole them from tumblr.com)

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.

Dear Loved One

Dear Sweet Lady,

I don’t know your name. I don’t know where you live. I don’t know anything about you other than the fact that you were wearing a tattered pink sweater that was probably very beautiful once upon a time.

But in spite of knowing absolutely nothing about you–I love you dearly.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since I met you a couple weeks ago. I was sitting on the concrete flower box outside the bookstore on a Sunday afternoon which was also Labor Day–and thus that part of town was completely closed down and dead. There I sat, all alone. And then I heard you behind me. I glanced back and smiled at you, and you immediately brightened and came and sat next to me. Right next to me. I put my hand on your back and asked what you were up to. You replied with “A whole lot of nothing.” You looked listless and somewhat tattered. It was in that moment I realized–you don’t have a family to love you. You don’t have a home. You don’t have anything. And you were sitting smack up against me because you wanted someone to care…somewhat to not shy away from you…someone to interact with you…you wanted contact.

Oh, my dear, I’m so blessed and honored that I could be that person. It was so sweet to me to sit next to you, even in the silence that filled the air around us. We didn’t need to talk…we were both content to just sit there and enjoy each others company.

Thank you for seeking me out that day. I shall forever remember you. I pray for you. I want to come see you again, but I don’t know how to find you. I want to tell you about One who loves you more than you could ever imagine. I want to show you His love. I want to know your story.

I’ve driven past that same bookstore a few times since then, and that concrete planter holds a special place in my heart now.

Let’s meet there again?

With much love,

CD. Giveaway. Signed Copies.

It’s that time again!

That’s right.

It’s a lovely morning.

I burst out of the 100 wing door this morning with my arms stretched out wide and yelled “Good morning, world!” to the campus at large.

I’ve gotten several emails that have made me laugh already today.

Rachel is going to make french toast for breakfast.

I’m going to upload the Fall Student page today.

And Ben is in South Africa. (!!)

For all these reasons and more, I’m doing another giveaway!

Aptly enough, I’m going to be doing a BEN ZORNES CD giveaway!

I’m so excited about this CD and this giveaway! And no, it is not just because I’m in the background vocals. ;) Although, Mom does insist that she can pick out my voice specifically–I disagree.

Ben Zornes is on staff here at Ellerslie where I work, and his music has blessed me so, so much. This CD is his Hymns EP, and I have so enjoyed listening to it. He’ll be coming out with a full album with some of his original songs later, and when he does, I’ll do a giveaway with that, too. He ranks up there as one of my favorite song-writers…and it’s not just because I work with him every day! In fact . . . shouldn’t working with someone every day have the opposite effect? That’s how awesome Ben is. I know you’ll love this CD–but if you get the chance you have to come to one of our times of worship in person . . . it’s so much better live. But, the CD is the next best thing!

So!

Comment, tell me something about yourself, subscribe to my blog, share on facebook, share on twitter, and all that fun stuff, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the brand new BEN ZORNES HYMNS EP.

Oh, wait! There’s more.

I’m giving away two! Just like last time.

So, two of you lucky readers (if you comment, subscribe, share, etc) will be getting a brand new CD! Again, the reason I’m so excited about this is not because I’m in the background vocals, but hey . . . it was my one moment of fame.

I think perhaps I shall have a different way of deciding when the giveaway is over this time–although I still can’t imagine that it will run for more than a week. It’d sure be fun to break some records on my Wee Little Blog, though. Records such as…amount of views in one day. Or most comments on one post. Or subscribers. Or something. Wouldn’t that be fun? So, I may pick something such as that, and when it is reached, I’ll draw the winners. Or, I’ll just get too excited and say “The giveaway will be over in FIVE MINUTES!!!!” And then I’ll draw the winners. I like living life on the edge like that.

Also! These CDs are signed copies. Signed by the one-and-only Ben Zornes himself.

Oh, look. There’s Ben….interacting with me. With an oven mitt. And look. There’s Jade in the background being all cute and coy and charming and curtsying. And waving…at the oven mitt. And look. There’s me glaring at the oven mitt. My hair looks weird. (Hi, Drew-in-the-background!)

(If I can get my hands on them, I’ll post some other pictures that relate well to this post later… :) )

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.

Coming Soon!

Ok, there are a few things coming soon to….something….near you!

 

Coming soon to this blog:

Another giveaway! Whoo! I’m so excited. SO excited. The reason I’m not doing it yet is explained in my next point.

 

Coming soon to your mailbox (if you won the last giveaway):

Yes, I know. It’s been ages since I said I’d get those His Little Feet Cds in the mail to you girls that won (Hi, Hillary and Hannah!!) . . . but, I promise that they really are coming soon! And I refuse to do another giveaway until those ones are in the mail.

 

Coming soon to your web browser (possibly):

I’m contemplating starting an Etsy store (I actually already have one), but this one I have specific ideas for and specific ideas for what will be done with the money. Would any of you be interested in buying anything if I started an Etsy store and sold things with all proceeds going to either a specific ministry which I would go rather in-depth-ly into, or to supporting a mission trip, or something?

 

Coming soon to my YouTube channel:

Another video post. That’s right. You’re all going to be forced to hear how I feel about being stalked. Prepare yourselves.

 

Coming soon to my basement:

A roommate! A very, very dear friend of mine–Rachel B.–is moving into my basement with me! She is currently across the room making holes in the wall. She bought a flower for our room, and I think we should name it–I’m taking ideas for a name for our orchid! She’s such a kindred spirit and I love her dearly. A sweeter more given-to-the-Lord girl you’ve never met . . . what a sweet time we’ll have together! Also, we had been down here together for not more than 10 minutes today when we were quoting Anne of Green Gables at each other–we’ll get along splendidly, methinks.

 

Coming soon to a campus in small-town Colorado:

A whole lot of cowboys. That’s right. Tonight is our semester-ly outing to our dear neighbor’s bonfire across the lake with the Ellerslie students–western wear required. Everyone gets completely decked out in western gear and we trek across the fields to the barn and have a regular old hoe-down together. It’s a blast, and I think tonight we’re having a special surprise. I can’t tell you what it is, though, because I think some of our current students read my blog and they’ll be on the internet within half an hour–and then they’d KNOW. Can’t have any of that happening!