and you can't say money...

so I've been asking what everyone's favorite Christmas present was this year.
The only thing you CAN'T say is money!! it doesn't count. :)

my favorite gift(s):
*a zoo pass (from Matt's dad & wife). now we can anytime we want - for free!
*a rice cooker (from Mom & Dad)
*gift card to DSW - thanks, honey. :)

what was your favorite gift?


they aren't the best, but they're all I have!
pictures from Matt's work Christmas party:


turn your eyes upon Jesus

look full in His wonderful face

and the things of earth will grow strangely dim

in the light of His glory and grace

back in the Spirit

"Christmas time is here, we'll be drawing near.
oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year..."

I think Charlie Brown meant it in a bit of a different context that I'm taking it: snow, carols, family, friends. all very important to Christmas time.
but not necessarily essential.

oh, that I could feel Your presence throughout the year as I have felt it the last few days.
sometimes, all it takes is drawing near. asking You. sitting quiet for more than five minutes at a time. not being afraid of what I'll find in that place.
I'm afraid sometimes, when things start falling apart. when nothing seems quite right, when the "untouchable" things get shaken from beneath me.
but You are never shaken.

the great thing about putting my hope and trust in you?
putting my hope and trust in anything or anyone else, I will always be disappointed. I will always be let down. my heart will always be wounded.
but with You, letdown is not possible, unless my expectations are wrong. unless my heart is not in line with Yours.

my hope and trust is well-placed in You. things may seem to crumble. things may seem completely unjust and unfair. yet You remain in control.
when everything begins to crumble beneath me, and I think I'm never going to stop falling, I feel my feet on firm ground. Your hand is there, beneath all that is crumbling. my feet have found a firm place, a place that cannot crumble.

in this, I find comfort.
in this, I find hope.
in this, I place my trust.

turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace


bah humbug

tis the season...
...to be stressed out.

(disclaimer: I don't hate Christmastime. I just feel grumpy about it sometimes. I'm sure I'll post happy Christmas thoughts before all is said and done)

Have I ever mentioned how annoyed I get at times during this time of year?
Everyone wants your time, your energy, your money.
Buying Christmas gifts for everyone becomes more of a financial buden and parties become more of a stress than they are a joy.
I get really tired from constantly running from one thing to another.

Isn't this supposed to be time to stop and enjoy family? To enjoy everything the Lord has given us? And most importantly, to remember the day our Lord was born onto Earth?

How quickly some forget. How quickly I forget!
How do you stop and make it a joyous time of year again?
A good start would be to keep your heart in the right place, even if outer circumstances can't be changed.
But the question remains, how do you do that when everyone is demanding more of you than you are able to give?
Or am I just having a bad attitude?


One thing I mentioned in my post about the tragedy we faced here earlier this week was the tendency of news to focus on the killer and not those who were the victims of the violence.

However, I would like to say "well done!" to the Omaha World Herald. The front page this morning is completely full of pictures, but not a single one is of the killer. There is a large picture of each of the victims, including profiles of each of them. Nothing else fits on the front page.
The only picture of the killer is a few pages in, and it's so small.. you can hardly make out his face.
Way to go, Omaha, for focusing on the right thing in this tragic time.

tragedy hits at home

The Midwest: conservative, family-friendly, safe.
Westroads Mall: upscale, buzzing with activity, smiling people.

Not two days ago.

Stuff like this isn't supposed to happen in Omaha. It shouldn't happen anywhere. But here? It's such an unlikely place. But I suppose everyone feels that way, no matter where you live: why here?
It's been plastered on CNN since it happened early Wednesday afternoon. The killer had said to a friend, "Now I'll be famous". Is he getting his wish? His name and face are everywhere: on every new site and every news channel.
Shouldn't we be giving more attention to the victims and their families?
Eight people, out for a day of Christmas shopping.
One of them the sister-in-law of Matt's co-worker. He went running out of work on Wednesday, saying "my sister-in-law works there!".
He hasn't been back to work since. I wonder if he'll come back at all.
My brother-in-law was at the mall with my niece and nephew, 3 and 5 years old. They had decided to shop for Mom's Christmas present. They could've been there. Thankfully, they were across the mall. They're pretty shaken - who wouldn't be?

I was in tears again this morning, reading profiles of the victims that friends and families had contribued to (Way to go, MSNBC.com!). It's hard to accept that it happened - and that it happened about a mile from where I live and where I work.
What state does a man's heart have to be in to commit such an act? How does he justify it in his own mind? If he wanted to die, why did he have to drag other families into it? Especially just a few weeks before Christmas?

My heart goes out to those dealing with such a tragic loss.
My heart goes out to our city - it seems everyone is in a state of grieving, even those who weren't intimately involved.

Father, have mercy on us.


tribute to a great man

today was the funeral of a very great man of God. someone who resembled Jesus more than most people i have ever met. i grew up knowing him; he was always somehow involved in my life. he prayed for me many times - and many things were broken off of me in the spiritual realm because of his prayers.
i remember him looking me in the eye about 6 years ago and saying, "Sarah, the Lord wants to give you your joy back". and He did! i believe he spoke a prophetic word that night - a word that brought me to tears with a smile on my face.

he came to my high school graduation party. he prayed for me on every missions trip i've ever gone on. he supported me with his prayers the whole time i spent in Montana. he came to my wedding. he gave me a huge smile and giant hug every time i was lucky enough to run into him.

he will be sorely missed. i grieve mostly for his wife, Virginia; they would have celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary on the 10th of this month. so many years sharing your life with another - how would you learn to live apart from him?

i'm torn between opposing emotions - i'm sad to have lost such a man from earth. i'm sad i'll never be able to see or talk to him again (on this side of heaven).
but i'm happy - happy that he's home. that he's where he's longed to be.
and a bit jealous - i always feel a little that way when someone who loves the Lord goes to be with Him.

a tribute to Del Dale: husband, father to many (3 biological; countless spiritual), friend, mentor.
he will be missed.