talk about blowing your socks off. (i know, cheesy saying, but it fits here)
a post dedicated to the life of a beautiful friendship. Steph, you made me laugh, and cry, and remember things that were stored in a part of my memory that hasn't surfaced for years. the unbreakable cup, the week spent sleeping on a floor in wisconsin, and so much more. they are memories that i treasure with my whole heart.
the awkward time in montana: could it have been we were both going through some really hard things, but we never really talked about it? that's my guess. don't take all the blame. i am glad though that the awkwardness was temporary.

you are in my thoughts often. i wish we could see each other more, but i am so thankful for the times we do have together. you are an amazing, beautiful woman, and i love seeing what the Lord's teaching you, a lot of through extremely hard things. i'm learning so much from you.

two more weeks! and we can talk face to face.


to my biggest fans

this post goes out to my biggest fans - ie: regular readers of the blog. i know of three, but if i'm missing any, feel free to let me know! :)

i just wanted to send out a thank you. it means a lot to know people are reading this.

Dad, i love you! i love how humble you are, and that you're encouraged by what i write on here. i don't think most dads would be that teachable to what their daughter has to say. i'm so glad the Lord uses me to encourage you; He definitely uses you to encourage me!!
oh, and happy birthday!

Steph, your blog encourages me everytime i read it. you have such wisdom and insight into God's heart. you come close to bringing me to tears quite often. your friendship blesses me. i'm so glad we've kept it going for so long, and i pray we are still friends fifty years from now!

Jackie, i love our friendship! i'll never forget how God brought us together in a time when we both so badly needed it. me, just starting to date Matt, and confused as anything. and you, with your now hubby thousands of miles away for so many months. i love our talks and times together. i can't wait to see where God takes you in the coming months and years. and i can't wait to see your kids. ;)

if there are any other avid readers, don't feel left out! these three are just the only ones i know read regularly.

much love to all my friends and family. you make my life so much better.


God's purpose or mine?

talk about getting a kick in the behind. wow.
yesterday was my day of panic. or, in other words, a day of lapse in trusting. you see, i trust the Lord to provide. i know that He's in control, and i know that we are walking in obedience to Him. but when all the circumstantial evidence points towards failure and bankruptcy (okay, now i'm being a little dramatic.. but just a little), my faith tends to falter a little. i want to get to the point where the faltering is a non-issue; that no matter what the circumstance, my immediate (and sustaining) response is: "everything will be okay, because He is taking care of us".

major application in our lives: i'm putting in my two weeks next friday, and Matt doesn't have a full time job yet. we still have bills, still need to buy groceries, still need to pay rent. but what do we rely on for that? do we rely on a paycheck? do we rely on "financial security"? or do we rely on the one who owns everything anyway?
i'm choosing the latter.

now for the kick in the butt: i read Oswald Chambers this morning (as is my near-daily practice), and could hardly believe the words i was reading. it spoke to the heart of our situation, and what's been happening in me over the last day or two.

July 28, 2006
God’s Purpose or Mine? (by Oswald Chambers)

He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side . . . —Mark 6:45

"We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see "Him walking on the sea" with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see "Him walking on the sea" ( Mark 6:49 ). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious."


application comes quickly

i just had a practical application to a previous post: do i harden my heart, or do i let it remain broken?
nothing happened to me, or to anyone i know.

it's a story about someone i've never met, and probably will never meet. yet i'm moved to the point of an aching heart, and shedding tears in prayer for a man whose name i don't know.
my co-worker told the story; her friend treated him at the hospital he went to.
evidently, a father of two was driving his suburban down the interstate. his son was buckled in next to him, and his wife and daughter were in the backseat sleeping, not buckled in. he went to pass a truck and trailer, and while doing so, a dresser fell off the trailer. he swerved to miss it, but that caused him to lose control. his car rolled several times before finally stopping. his kids were okay, but his wife was gone. she was pronounced dead on impact. he escaped with broken arms and wrists, nothing more.
Tiffany's friend (Tiffany is my co-worker) walked into the hospital room to treat him for his broken bones. his hands were hanging in front of him, strapped into a temporary brace, and his head was hanging low to his chest. when he looked up, he had tears streaming down his face. his only request: would you please wipe the tears from my face? i can't use my hands or arms to do so myself.

how do you handle grief like that? a grief that says, if only she had been wearing her seat belt. if only i hadn't tried to pass that truck. if only.......
but they don't help to ease to pain. they only make it worse. and they don't bring back the one your heart loves..

if my heart were hard, i would be able to hear that story, say a quick prayer, and move on. maybe never think about it again. but since my heart is soft, it hurts for this man, and for his children. Father, may you keep this on my heart as long as You will. remind me to pray for him and his family. bring comfort to them; draw them to Yourself. amen.


sleepy morning

mondays are always harder than any other morning to me. it's harder to get out of bed, and harder to fully wake up once the day starts. but i'm getting there, slowly but surely.

we had a great weekend. friday night, we had Jim and Tracy and their new little one (Jim 3) over for dinner. it was a great time of talking, making JJ laugh, and eating McDonald's ice cream cones. then, saturday night, the newlyweds (Jeremy and Becky) came over. we cooked a bunch of spaghetti, and they brough the sauce. and of course, since it was Jeremy doing the cooking, it was filled with venison. mmmmm.........
after eating all the deer my tummy could handle, we headed to putt-putt! we took some fun pictures that i may have to post later. the girls kicked butt.. the guys tied for last place. that was quite good for my competitive side. ;)

Sunday was church. Pastor Tommy spoke in the morning about the fear of the Lord. i've heard him give the message before, but it was like hearing it for the first time. what's the difference between the fear of the Lord, and being afraid of Him? maybe that's good fodder for another post.
after church, we went home to relax. we played a game of dominoes, and one of skip-bo. then we just sat around. it was great! it's rare that we get to do that together.
in the evening, we headed back to church for TN. Matthew talked about need vs. want. talk about a butt-kicker. it was excellent. he challenged us to only buy based on need. if there was something we wanted, ask the Lord first if it was something He wanted us to have, and if so, how He was going to provide it. practicle application? we're going through our budget once again to see what's necessary, and where we could save a little money. we want to be faithful with what He gives us! and we want to pay off our mass of school debt.
he talked a lot as well about waiting for the miraculous. credit cards have stolen our need to wait on the Lord. we just go put it on the card instead of asking the Lord, and then waiting to see what He will do. that needs to change.
like i said, it was an excellent message. i really believe it hit hard at the core of a lot of people's hearts, including mine. it's always good to get a good reminder of what's really important, and who to trust with our finances. they're all His, anyway!

so yes, it was a good weekend. this week is pretty full for Matt.. but i seem to have left my evenings open. we shall have to wait and see what comes of that.. anyone out there want to hang out with me?? :)


good talks

i woke up happy this morning.
nothing special happened (that i can think of), and nothing really is on my mind to make me happy. i just am. i woke up with a smile on my face. and i'm loving it! :)

maybe it had something to do with a couple of conversations i had last night. first was the second weekly "hour of power" with Kate, and it ended up being just the two of us. either no one else wanted to endure the heat, or had something else going. i was glad for it though after a while, because it gave us a good chance to talk! i was able to process through an issue that's been weighing really heavy on my mind, and she asked lots of good questions that helped me realize what was really going on inside me. after going home (and showering, of course!), i talked through the whole thing with Matt as well. that was where my freedom came. what i'd been pouring over and over in my head for months (maybe even years), but was too embarassed to say anything about, was finally out in the open. and people understood, and offered support. it's so good to have good friends!
it was also good to have Kate share her heart with me. i've been wanting to get together and talk with her for a long time.

to end this post, i'd like to share a few wise words from someone i quote a lot, Oswald Chambers:

"There is nothing miraculous or mysterious about the things we can explain. We control what we are able to explain, consequently it is only natural to seek an explanation for everything."


Montana pics

don't do it!
the beautiful view after our long hike
playing it cool on the dock (my favorite place)
the world famous...
burger king commercial?
wall drug! the curiosity alone drove us to stopping..
at Mt. Rushmore! but.. .where's Lincoln's head?


we had a wonderful trip.
for those who don't know, Matt and i decided we need a vacation. so we jumped in the car and headed to Montana for a little over a week! we totaled out at 3201 miles by the end of the trip, and way too much money spent on gas. but it was still cheaper than flying.

it was so great to show him the YWAM base where i used to live, the mountains and lake that i love so much, and for his to meet some people who have meant so much to me. i also got to take him to two of my favorite restaurants: McKenzie River Pizza Co. (i probably spelled that wrong), and the Back Room.. the best bbq ever! we visited Glacier National Park, which has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. we hiked to a lake, then drove to the top of a mountain. it was fabulous!
beyond that, we slept, walked, sat at the dock (my favorite geographical place on the planet), swam, got some sun, talked, and got lots and lots of perspective. it was a much-needed, relaxing, fun trip.

so much happened, but i'll share a couple of things (and maybe some pictures later) that were "highlights". first was not being able to find a hotel after driving for over 14 hours. 2 hours later, and after many adrenaline rushes (it was 1am at this point), we finally found a room in a little place called the Capri Motel in the "ghetto" of Butte, Montana. the old guy at the counter almost talked us to sleep before giving us a key! (although us falling asleep standing up was pretty likely by that time).
another favorite was having breakfast at the Homestead.. the greasy spoon of Lakeside, MT. the best part? ordering orange juice that came in a Bud Light glass. on the other side of the glass? a picture of a donkey, and the words "Homestead Cafe: home of the big ass breakfast". can't beat that. :)
we visited Josh and Bekah in Polson, spent lots of time with Erin and Wells, and bought two really cool metal trash cans (with the flip lids) for really cheap from friends who are moving to Australia.
i also started teaching Matt how to swim.. i got him into the lake! i was so proud.

so as you can see, it was a wonderful trip. we were to re-connect as a couple, re-connect in our relationships with God, and have some much need time to relax and breathe. thank God for road trips!


OW-er of power

that's what Ranae called it in an email the other day.
monday night, Ranae, Jane, and i went to Kate's to join her in what she called the "hour of power". it consisted of karaoke (not the singing kind), many lunges (side and forward), push-ups, lots of stairs, and running. for a girl who's never done a single lunge or push-up, can i tell you how much pain i was in on tuesday and wednesday? so wednesday afternoon, i decided to do the same thing.. though it was only 42 minutes of power. i'm going to get my muscles trained, darn it! and probably help my bad knee in the process.

tuesday night was date night. we decided to use some coupons Matt had gotten at work: two free movie passes at any Douglas theatre, one free medium popcorn, and two free small drinks. you can't beat that - free date! we saw "Superman Returns", which i ended up fully enjoying. it's high on my reccommendation list.

one last thought before i close: scrapbooking.
i decided we need a scrapbook for our wedding photos. it just didn't seem writing putting that special of pictures into a boring old photo album.. we wanted something more special. little did i know how much work, time, and money a scrapbook would take! but after many, many, many hours of labor, the scrapbook is done! i'm quite impressed myself.. though i don't think i will ever scrapbook again.