Oh, what joy!

True joy is beautiful, powerful, enchanting, and unstoppable, and today I am so thankful for the joy of the Lord.

I have had the lyrics to the song “What Joy” in my head for the past several weeks, and I’ve been loving it so much, I want to share it here:

You made the heavens and the earth
The sea and all that is in it
Your promises remain
You give justice to the weak
You care for the widow and orphan
Forevermore You reign

What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord
What peace, what peace for those whose confidence is Him alone!

Hallelujah, forever we will sing
Hallelujah, praises to the King
Hallelujah, forever we will sing
Hallelujah, praises to the King


I have seen and tasted that the Lord is good, and that joy that comes from Him is unshakable no matter what happens–come what may, what joy and peace for those whose confidence and hope is in the Lord!

The joy of the Lord is strength.

Just imagine!

A lively and active imagination is a beautiful gift from God, and today (and everyday!) I am so thankful to have one.

I imagine things all the time, in all sorts of situations . . . pretty much non-stop.

I imagine what it would be like to be able to do things perfectly. I imagine who I would be if I were not me. I imagine what it would be like to be able to time-travel. I imagine what it must have been like to physically and literally walk with Jesus daily. I imagine where I will be in 20–30–50 years. I imagine up all sorts of story lines and imagine what it would be like if I could actually flesh them out in written word. I imagine what it would be like to live a life free of pain. I imagine what it would be like if I could fly, or if I could suddenly go invisible. I imagine what I would do if I had unlimited resources. I imagine all sorts of beautiful colorful music in my head. I imagine what it would be like if I was living in a hut in a little village in the jungle. I imagine what it would be like if I could fully grasp the greatness of my God. I imagine what it would be like if I never had to struggle with any sort of pride or such thing.

I imagine what it will be like to one day live daily in the very near presence of my King, in reality. I imagine that day when I pass from this world into eternal life with the God of the universe.

Oh, what a glorious day that will be!

I know my imagination can hardly even begin to comprehend such things, but . . . today I am thankful for imagination.

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.

Oh, what a Jesus!

My heart is pretty much too full to write anything. I know that doesn’t make sense because if one’s heart is full, wouldn’t you expect that writing would come easier because the fullness of the heart needs to spill out? Yes, I’d think that, too. But, alas…it is not so.

Anyway. I’d leave this post at just that, but…this is my 100th post on this blog. So, I need to write something at least a little more substantial than the above paragraph.

Bullets it is:

  • Tomorrow is the graduation for the 2nd semester of Ellerslie. It’s such a bitter-sweet thing. Mostly sweet, really, but there’s the realization that all these dear sweet kindred spirits I have grown so close to over the past 9-10 weeks are leaving. But! there’s an exhilarating thrill in realizing that a whole group of souls who are passionate for the truth, dearly in love with the Lord, and willing to do whatever it takes to tell the world of the good news are headed out into the world to shine as lights in the midst of darkness. Ah, I get chills just thinking about it. What a beautiful picture it is!
  • Be jealous. I have a date tomorrow morning with two rambunctious personality-filled toddlers (1 and 1/2 years old and 2 years old). I’m going to pick them up from their house and we’re going to go paint the town red together for two fun-packed hours. Like I said, be jealous.
  • I had a wonderful hour two days ago sitting out at the picnic table with a sweet little 6 year old Haitian girl who is quickly worming her way into the deepest part of my heart. We discussed all manner of things–where I was born, jump-roping, her “aunties”, my brothers, what grade she’s in in school, what Haiti smells like, singing, “Grandma and Grandpa”, soccer, why I think she’s funny, lunch, dirty faces, cameras, where I live, whether or not I have a room all to myself, and how different her hair is from mine. I love that girl so much.
  • One of my favorite people is leaving. For thee weeks. I don’t see how on earth she even thought this was ok, but who am I to make her feel guilty about it? I shall just sit here in my room and stare out my window listlessly, pining away, shriveling up into nothingness…and it shall all be her fault. But, like I said, who am I to cast guilt? I shall suck in my Sad Lip and take the high-road, yes I shall. (I joke. Not about the fact that I shall miss her dreadfully, but…the staring out the window listlessly part was a joke–I don’t see how people do that, anyway…when I look out my window I get excited. The “listless” part never really makes it into the picture. The shriveling up part was a joke, too. I only dream of shriveling up…oh, what a day that will be! I’ve never experienced that before. I, um, generally flourish as opposed to shriveling. Again…the shriveling part never really works for me–even when I try dieting. Sigh. Anyway, though….) Love you, Sweet-Girl-Who-I-Am-Blessed-To-Call-My-Friend-And-Sister! (you know who you are.) I shall miss you dreadfully.
  • I’m so excited about some things the Lord is orchestrating. Oh, I wish I could only tell you of them–but I can’t yet. It’s not something I can even fully grasp yet, but even the slight glimpse I’ve seen has taken my breath away completely. This is why my heart is so full tonight. This is what I don’t even know how to write about. But I know this: I serve an awesome God. A God who is deserving of my completely surrendered life. A God who is utterly trustworthy. A God who loves. A God who saves. A God who completes what He has begun. A God who is “Rapha”–Healer. A God who knows the details. A God who equips. A God whose lovingkindness is better than life. A God with a right hand of power. A God who scatters the enemies. A God of salvation. A God who will not despise a broken and contrite heart. A God who sits upon the throne of His holiness. A God who is greatly to be praised. A God who is a refuge and strength. A God who is forever and ever. A God who is our help and shield. A God who is good and upright. A God who is our Father. A God who is deserving of praise, honor, adoration, glory, worship. A God who is our Shepherd. A God who leads. A God hears and listens. A God who is a rock. A God of purity. A God of deliverance. A God whose name is excellent in all the earth. A God who does not take pleasure in wickedness. A God in whom no evil dwells. A God who has set apart those who are godly for Himself. A God who is good, plenteous in mercy, and ready to forgive. Oh, what a Jesus!

(This is one of the first times I’ve written a blog post with music playing in the background. Usually I have to have silence around me when I’m writing blog posts–which is weird, because when I’m writing a book, I must have music playing. Anyway…do you suggest I try writing more blog posts with music?)

Things I’m Loving

Shampoo that stops my hair from looking like this.

My dear sweet Britt who I am loving having around for nearly two weeks!! It’s high time we finally met each other in person. :)

Working and spending myself right where I know God has placed me right now. Ellerslie.

Spending time alone with God–pouring into His word and learning more of Him. Worshiping Him. Becoming intimate with Him.

The lilacs that we have in a great abundance all over Ellerslie. The whole campus is bathed in their perfume–you can literally smell them almost anywhere around the dorms. I can frequently be found with my face buried deep in a cluster of them.