Friday, July 11, 2008

Week of ministry in a "foreign land"...

video

Laugh if you will... but, that's how I always feel when I head to big cities. I've never been one that longed for busy streets filled with scantily clad people... taxi's everywhere and the smell of garbage. But, alas, we had a wonderful week of ministry in NYC this past week - that indeed left an impression on the rest of my life. We served with First Baptist church of Manhattan - right on the corner of 79th and Broadway - fantastic! I couldn't have chosen a better "home away from home". We had multiple opportunities to stamp tracts for hand outs, open the church doors and hang out with the lost on the stairs...and in my experience, meet believers from all over the world.

Min, a lady who moved to the USA from Korea 30 years ago, was a strong believer. She and her husband had come to the states so he could get a theological education at Yale. She came into the church one day during the "doors open" time... and sat in the sanctuary just looking around. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to speak with a stranger... so I approached her. We spoke about hymns and the beautiful complexity of their words - we spoke of her past life in Korea and her children who are now all in Manhattan, minus one. Even though I had intended for my visit with her to evangelistic... I found she was already there. So we talked about faith, about the church in America and she noted some things she felt convictions about. She then broke into tears as she shared her concern for this country. She said 100 years ago missionaries came to her country to bring "God" there... and now this country needs someone to bring him here. Very profound thought. Here we are sitting in the most religiously "free" place on earth... and this woman is weeping for the unsaved, corrupt Americans. She told me multiple times that she was very conservative... which sounds so cute in a korean accent. My time with her was precious. She then closed our time by getting very quiet and crying again. Her son, Paul, was not walking with the Lord -he lives in NC and has no interest in God. Her heart was broken and she didn't understand his choice. We prayed together and what a neat opportunity to wrap your arms around someone who is from the other side of the world. We spoke the same language of faith...knowing that God can answer any prayer. It was such a cool opportunity.

The rest of our week was spent in the Bronx. Totally different experience.
Pray for the people there - they are lost, the pastor is discouraged and negative... it feels very hopeless...but GOD does have a plan for even there.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lord, didn't you hear that prayer request?

Do you ever find yourself asking questions like the above mentioned? Funny (and yet not) how our timing is not at all the same as what God's is. His timing is perfect, we've heard it said time and again... but, if it's so perfect... why don't we always feel so peaceful while waiting? I know its the human condition...but asking it outloud helps me redirect me thoughts.
June 26 - I have exactly one month until I am done with my job. Praise the Lord! I am so eager to spend my days fixing up my apartment and getting things done that have been put on the back burner since our marriage began. But in the back of my mind, hidden behind the excitement of a changed pace... lurks a half fear of the unknown. It's almost July, which means its almost August and we still don't know where we are going next. While friends around us gleefully announce their upcoming plans, house purchases, church acceptances... we smile and wait. I've always felt that God has mighty big plans for us Pausleys, but now as we wait and wait with no answers - asking every day - I have to admit that at times our strong faith starts to waver a bit. The other day I caught myself getting teary eyed and stressed wondering what we would do for insurance come August when Brad's job ends... then I felt ashamed of myself. Why can't I just trust - we know the promises that God has given us. But do we have the garantee of Insurance? Is that a need?
Last night at youth group Jax talked about what it means to be "blessed". We looked at Psalm 16 and a few others that speak of it... and I had such a hard time paying attention. the whole time in my mind I kept acknowledging that yes we are blessed, moreso then some I imagine. But then in the next second I was back to that half worry feeling of, "but what if"... People keep saying things to us that inpsire my fear, I think. One woman says to us every time she sees us - "anything come up yet? You know you guys need to get insurance for that baby..." as if we didn't know this, and her reminder was a newsflash for us. "oh really?" I almost want to say. It's starting to wear on Brad when friends and family ask if we have any plans yet... he feels like a failure even though it's not him, and he's letting no one down. I wish I could instill that in him. I wish I could make somethign happen so that when he comes back this weekend - like magic- an email would be a waiting or he'd get a positive phone call from the church of our dreams. (is there such a thing?)
The most human part of me, which i guess is all of me, just wants to sit in a corner and cry. Cry because I know I have no control over this...so what else is there for me to do? Yes there is prayer and there is hope, but honestly, don't we all sometimes wonder if our prayer requests are on hold because its not 'our turn' or something? So, we wait. We wait and hope and pray that the Lord would provide for us - and he will - despite our lack of faith at time... it may not be our timing and the next few months may be really really hard... but we won't be left forgotten.

The irony of this whole thing - the other day I was speaking with an older woman in the church, somone who has raised 5 children and spent time on a mission field. We were talking about the economy and how raising kids has changed, etc. She told me how sometimes while raising her kids she would have to use dresser drawers as baby beds - and the kids ate whatever the Lord provided. In my cloudy view of life... I smiled and said, "I hope to appreciate life that way that when hard times come I can be creative, etc"....and she looked right into my eyes and said "oh don't worry... the Lord will take care of that". Irony because... well, because maybe my view of life is a little cushioned right now. Jehovah Jireh - our provider... please provide direction, and sanity in our lives right now. WE WILL TruST YOU

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

june 24, 2008

today was my due date...
i remember the words so clearly at our first appointment last fall... "looks like you'll be due on june 24".

we left the hospital thrilled
we called our parents
we called our friends

we lost it two months later.

today was my due date... and while I am carrying another... I'll never forget that first conceived child that wove its way into my heart.

we think of you
we loved you
the pain doesn't go away

Friday, June 20, 2008

A movie to NOT watch during pregnancy

Last night our Netflix came... it was "The Other Boelyn Girl" starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansen. It was the story of what happend to Queen Ann...basically, and how the Boelyn family was all but ruined due to a horrible uncle and a sister that went off the deep end. I had wanted to see it because I'm a history lover -and finding out about how Queen Elizabeth came to be was intriguing.

However, I wasn't as studied up on the historical part, and not prepared for a few things:
1) How many stillbirths and miscarriages the queens/mistresses had
2) The fairly vivid love scenes in a pg-13 movie


The movie begins with the Queen giving birth...and the child is born a boy, but dead. So they wrap it in a blanket and take it away. The queen is devastated, obviously. Then as the movie goes on... Scarlett begins to miscarry and is put on bedrest - her baby survives. Then Natalie's character miscarries...Needless to say I just don't think I was ready to see that. It wasn't vivid and it never showed any infant bodies - only bloody blankets to give you the idea of what was happening. As I'm sitting on the couch with my hubby watching this heartache... I just about lost it. It probably wasn't the best idea for me to see those images... seeing how I just lost my own precious baby 6 months ago. I shook it off - it is hollywood, I told myself.





Then bedtime came... and it was like as soon as I fell asleep the awful dreams came. It wasn't anything like the movie though - it was like reliving my miscarriage in December. I woke up at 4am and immediately put my hand on my stomach... and in my half alert mind thought "oh no, I don't feel pregnant". So I took a walk around the house - got some water - bathroom break... calmed down and focused my thoughts on true things. Upon waking up again at 6:30 - I still felt weird. Dreams can mess with people. It's more difficult to trust... after losing one. Or maybe it's always difficult and I'm just making it moreso. So, today, I am having trouble keeping out the bad thoughts - and I'm having a hard time because I don't show a ton yet... and I want to, as if showing makes keeping this one more official. Mind games.





We see the Dr on Tuesday for our monthly exam. I am just dying for that doppler to sing the sweet tunes of my little ones' heartbeat. That always puts my faith back in place. All i know is - this child is so very special to me... and I can't wait to be more pregnant and enjoy this time. I want to enjoy the swollen feet, the achy back, the being kicked. I want to wear the clothes and have rough nights sleep... I want to fully live this pregnancy.


Here's a pic of what little Pausley might like this week - It's amazing how formed they are at 14 weeks! P.S....if everything goes as planned - we might find out the gender NEXT month! Any input on that?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back to Monday and random thoughts

I used to love Mondays, especially as a preschool teacher. Everyone came to school bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for a fun week. I loved Monday's because I felt fresh and it was always my chance to start over from whatever happened in the week before... even if it was a fab week.
But now Monday's aren't as glamorous and they for sure don't inspire me to "start over". When did this change take place?? Maybe it's because my "done date" is in sight... 5 weeks. Maybe its because I don't have half of my computer folders to be effective... or maybe it's because I'm just burnt out on sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. Ding, ding ding! So, here I sit, trudging throughout this day - dying for 5:00 to come. I try not to complain and i do try to not have these thoughts - because it is money and insurance... that should be a good motivator.

I think another issue for me (besides feeling exhausted from this pregnancy) is that i feel like I'm not able to be a good wife and home maker. I've heard women talk about this and before I was married I always thought to myself "good grief, what is the issue... go home and mop your floor and be done with it". But now that I'm married, working the 40 hour a week job on top of church stuff, etc... I see the issue. AND I DON'T HAVE KIDS YET. It's literally all I can do to slug up my stairs and blindly pull out something for dinner (usually something pasta) after a work day. I used to be so good at this - I planned my menu months in advance so I knew exactly what ingredients I needed for each meal. I would neatly line them on my counter so that when I got home I could put together our evening meal... then I got a crock pot, which was even cooler - now I could mix it all up and upon arriving home - tada! Dinner! Now, like I said... Pasta Roni has moved in or his cousin Hamburger Helper. I vowed I would never be like this... what's the deal?! Not that these are bad things, reader. Don't be offended by this - this is a personal conviction - thus the reason I am done with my job in 5 weeks. I personally feel that if I can't keep my home clean, dishes done, dinner on the table for my spouse... then I'm not living up to my high calling. I honestly feel like I'm serving two masters - which is weird and over the top...but still, I do.

Every woman has a dream. Here's mine. I wake up with my spouse during the weekday... but I wake up with him so I can put his coffee on and iron the clothes he has laid out. Once I get his breakfast made it's time to pack his lunch and gather his car keys and misc items he's strewn about the house. After he leaves I take an hour to watch my breakfast hour news (Today show) and have some quiet time in my bible with breakfast - not at the same time. Then I go to work on my organized "to do" for the day... organize a closet, arrange the bookshelves, mop the bathroom, laundry, change bed sheets... etc. Pause for lunch and a phone call with hubby. Maybe sneak in a quick nap. After that i finish whatever else needs done house wise...then I begin prep for dinner. Spouse comes home to find dinner table set with me in my apron ready to serve him with a "how was your day?"... We have a nice dinner full of conversation, he's calm because the house is clean and he can actually get down the hall to use the bathroom. After dinner we can actually hang out or have reading time because the concerns of day to day have been taken care of. i would have already mailed any bills that needed paid, etc. He can be free to lead us and love me. That's my dream - however June Cleaver-ish it is... i's mine. And I don't think I'm alone. Sometimes while I'm at work I feel like an alien... WHAT AM I DOING HERE?! I don't even belong. It's like my heart yearns for home.

And, it's only been 13 minutes since I started to write this. Irony. Back to work... back to that feeling of being inadequate... but, oh, the Lord knows this.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday, June 13...just another day

This morning the news was all abuzz about how today is Friday the 13th.... I guess I hadn't really thought about it. The first thing that comes to my mind is - wonder if anyone is getting married on this day? I wonder if any poor babies will be born that will forever be labeled the "friday the 13th kid". Then my mind wandered to Haiti where my dear parents are. They are flying back today after a week of short term missions with the Boco tribe. I'm so proud of them. Mom had never flown before - age 47- and her first trip was international. I have missed them so much - although I wouldn't have seen them anyway, there is something that feels so safe and good to have them just a phone call away. I'm afraid I've become dependent on them. :) Funny how that happens all over again...

Work has been excruciatingly slow this week! Man, i have left with more then one tension/eye strain headache from starring blankly at anything online that could amuse me. I'm pretty sure I've facebooked my fair share this week. I should be thankful for the slow down...but then again... it's difficult when I just don't want to be here. it's also difficult when i know how much I have to do at home that isn't getting done as i sit at this computer for endless hours with nothing to do. I have 6 weeks left at this job... I can't believe it!

We are waiting on the Lord, still, to give us some direction for the fall. Especially with this baby heading our way at the speed of light. There is a lead and we are really hoping that works out... the waiting is getting harder and harder. Some days I just don't know how to cheer or encourage Brad. He has so much on his sholders. We picked my quit date on faith... trusting that God would provide, so now as that time draws near we are eager to see what He will do. Some days I'm so laid back about this... and I feel so perfectly peaceful knowing that God will take care of us. Some days I'm a basket case inside... will we get a place, will insurance be there in time for our transition, where will we live, will I be someone safe to have this baby? We know that the Lord orders our steps... it's so hard to wait. What a beautiful story of our lives he must be weaving.

I'll start week 14 here in a few days. Things feel different now. I'm not huge - still able to wear normal pants even, but... there are new pains that make me so curious. What's going on in there? At our last ultrasound that saw that my right ovary was tucked behind my uterus - it gives me pains every now and again... I think it's when I have growth spurts...or, baby does ( I should say). Today the pain is bad - and there's nothing I can do -or they can do, they said everything was fine and once I grow up and out the pressure will relieve... but, good grief it hurts. This just feeds my desire to pop out and look pregnant already. I have been aching to actually look pregnant. Lord, please protect my poor squeezed ovary... and please continue to grow this little punkin inside me. I think in about a month we'll be able to find out what we are having. I still thinks its a girl... Brad is convinced its a boy. Since I'm not showing no one else can guess. How exciting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hormones

So, I don't know if it's the hormones, the lack of sleep from getting up to pee in the middle of every night or if people are just extra annoying these days...
I am supposing that all of these jumble of emotions is normal - feeling madly in love with my husband one minute and then wanting to smack him and run away a second later. Maybe it's because he doesn't fully understand how I am physically feeling or maybe I don't voice often enough the fear I have inside that I'm working through little by little. Fear that I will lose this baby too... so, little situations keep happening with us. It doesn't help either that I just started reading a book "Confessions of a Honest wife" by Ravi Zaccharias' daughter. She explores what submission really means and what a happy marriage really looks like...and makes me question how I'm living and if I'm doing what I shoud be. I don't know if I recommend it yet, but, so far so good.
Anyway, back to my issue of dealing with annoying people. Another thing that came to mind today... all this pent up fear, frustration and anger could be caused by the fact that I'm not consistent in my relationship with the Lord. Yes, it's constant and not based on what I do... but, I haven't been casting my cares at his feet and I haven't felt like cracking up my nkjv for some daily insight because I feel like a user rather then a pursuer. And, again, I suppose every person goes through this. But, today i'm feeling extra sad - and I feel distant from my hubby. I feel like when he looks at me he sees a green monster with four heads and flaming red eyes... when all I really want and am trying to communicate to him is that I want to be loved, hugged and told that everything will be alright. I want the dishes to be done without me asking because I really don't have the energy after a 9 hour work day to even look at them. Such little petty things.

Right now I'm thinking of the line in "How to lose a guy in 10 days" - "I love you Benny, but I don't have to like you right now..."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

At the end of this first adventure...





Today we celebrated the start of week 12, the end of our first trimester. Honestly, it's unbelieveable. As I read through my pregnancy books and I see how my child is forming and growing I just can't believe it's really happening. This week we are working on finger and toenails, kidneys and hair. God is so perfect in forming his creations!


While I know this isn't a picture of OUR baby... it's a picture taken from the week 12 section of my fave pregnancy website. Hopefully in a few more weeks we'll have a picture to hold of our own baby. So far, so good...praise the Lord! Some days I can't help but wonder how long it will be until the bad comes - but then I get convicted and reminded by the Lord to just rest in Him. He is my comfort.


It's been a crazy last few weeks for us - obviously - but beyond our personal lives, we've had tons of activities with our teens, we are in the process STILL of seeking where the Lord might lead post BBC time, etc. I have loved spending time with the youth group kiddo's, and getting to know Meredith and Jason better has been awesome too. Brad and I have found some great friends in the two of them. We will miss them terribly when we no longer live here.

My brother and his wife continue to enjoy their little bundle, Miss Kaci. She's adorable and I miss her - even though we've never met. She's already 3 months old. Ashley does so well with updating us with pics and things... it's great.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hello little one...

It's that time of the day when the nausea really starts to set in. This is the time of day when I feel the most thankful...because I know these feelings are all helping you grow. I praise the Lord for every moment of it, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
You are 10 weeks old (and 1 day)... I love you so much already. We got to see you in an ultrasound last week - we saw you move your tiny arms and heart your very strong heartbeat. You are a miracle to us...God has remembered! Even if He should chose to take you away to be with him early, just seeing you that one time has changed my life. You are perfectly formed. I will never understand how women justify things like abortion... I watched you move around...you are a life!
I'm anxious to meet you this December - stay snug and cozy in there - grow stronger. We are praying for your bones and kidneys this week as the develop. Your dad thinks you are a boy... wouldn't that be a funny suprise if you weren't. :) I love you little one... hang in there, we are all so eager to hold you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

sometimes i forget to blog

Maybe it's not that I forget...but I get so caught up in "what do I want to say" that I just give up, because could one Blog really hold it all?

Life is weird. Bradley and I have had so many curve balls in the last year...it's like now I have my glove up just waiting for what's next...which isn't to say it's all bad stuff...but, sometimes I long for some normalcy. But then as soon as I say that I know I don't mean it - God is soo good to us, He is so faithful and so real in our lives.

We aren't going to Long Island - as we suspected we might. There was some redirection towards the end... and we just have to trust again that God has a better plan. And, as you can read below, I wasn't devastasted by the news...but did feel so sad for my hubby who is so proactively seeking where the Lord is leading. Even though we aren't going... I still wanted to share a few photos from our road trip there - while I wasn't impressed with much... there is nothing quite like a strong bridge. It represents so many things.

The whole time we were crossing I kept thinking..."what if this bridge fell"... which in turn reminded me of my faith in Christ - weird little minutes of the day where God uses things like bridges in NY to remind me of His power and presence in my life. I'm eternally grateful.
So now we are back to square one... and as the months pass we are asking God to please direct us - Please show us - send us! (dear reader if you know of any openings in churches...let me know)
Other news... in case you haven't already heard - God has blessed us with another pregnancy. I'll be 10 weeks on tuesday and have been as sick as a dog. While I know I'm still early... I can't help but rejoice outloud and with other people about what God has done! He has answered my prayers. And, even if he should choose to take this one away too... I will praise Him! Just feeling sick causes me to rejoice - I didn't have this last time. I love feeling like all of this is going towards something so wonderful. We are due in December and just counting down the days till our 12 week appointment when we can see our little creation. :) I can't help but start to look at baby clothes, toys, etc. again. God is good. He hasn't forgotten me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Timeless

Timeless
Time, it`s changing me
It`s hard to see who I am
Touched, I`m touched by many things
So many things I don`t understand
But seasons pass and I discover
Above all this there`s another Helping me to hold on to what is timeless
So the autumn can color me gold
And the winter can dress me in snow
But it`s You I see The timeless part of me
In the springtime I`m young once again
In the summer I dance on the wind
But it`s You I see The timeless part of me
Change, whether it`s good or bad You know I`m glad You`re in control
Oh, Lord, if I don`t understand I know Your hand will shield my soul
Seasons pass and I discover Above all this there`s another Helping me to hold on to what is timeless
This morning at work I was listening to my random music mix...and this song came on. The words just seemed to encourage and remind me to relax, enjoy this gift of life and thank God for it. Thank you Lord for using things like music at work to exhort your children...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

decisions

As we drove onto the island I had an eager anticipation of what would lie ahead. My heart gave a soft sigh as I saw birds, trees and grass... I smiled... I could do this - there is life here. But as we rounded the bridge and continued on through the busy traffic ridden streets I started going into a coma of disbelief. While there aren't skyscrapers or cops rushing by in the middle of street chases...there was something tugging at my heart and making me feel all emotional. This place, Lord? This place? Are you sure? We passed block after block of the same four kinds of shops: dry cleaner, nail place, asian buffet and pawn shop. Everything had the feeling of being very old, very dirty and a little scary. There were no families at the parks. There were no lemonade stands on corners set up by aspiring 9 year olds... only traffic, high costs and dirty buildings.

I tried to breath and not be dramatic. This is just a test, a trial to see if we like it. I could keep an open eye and just observe and take notes... but i couldn't stop that aching feeling in my throat like I was going to just burst into tears at any moment. I felt as if I was watching all of my dreams flush down a big dirty toilet. I felt like a bad wife because I couldn't envision myself there. I couldn't picture myself pushing a stroller down a traffic filled highway. I couldn't imagine setting up life in this place. God please! Wisdom!

The irony of marriage is in the wording... we are one. But, we have two minds. The irony is that while I feel this is not at all where we belong... my other half considers it a good option. So now I wait... with that heavy chested feeling again. Waiting to be directed, no...told, where I need to go and what i need to do. Will it really end up being me just caving in and doing something that i hate? I never pictured my life like this.

I know the Lord grants wisdom LIBERALLY.... Lord, please... show us clearly. Make it so evident to me if this is what you want. And, if it's not... please let him know clearly.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I am so ready for Spring

I've got all my spring/summer shoes out...
seasonal clothes are now hung in the closet...
windows have been left open twice...
now all we need is consistent warmth. I had a weird flu-like thing for 24 hours yesterday and it was horrible. It was the kind of sick where you wonder if you will recover. I rarely get sick, but when I do it feels like armeggedon is happening inside of me. To top off that sad news - it was 68 degrees yesterday - whilst I wilted away on the couch, inside!!! 68!!!

This morning I got an email from a gal my age who lives in Florida. She has recently gone through a miscarriage in her 12th week of pregnancy and wanted some answers. My mother in law connected us - and it's just these kinds of opportunities that help me to see why and how the Lord uses the worst situations for his glory. It was oddly comforting to me to walk through this pain with her - relive my experience and give advice on how to "survive" really. She has had a horrible experience with Dr's in Florida - they have been unkind, humilated her and even made her feel bad about this loss. It made me feel enraged!!! This poor girl has gone through this alone -her husband was away for military reasoning, she doesn't live by family and doesn't seem to have close friends. I cannot imagine. Yet, through all of that - she seems so positive and so strong. While she's struggling, she's been an encouragement to me. God, please heal Maria.

Obviously, I'm random today.

My dear friend Janice came up last weekend. It was such a comfort and joy to see her! She was always my very strong friend in College. She is one of those women who remind me of an "empowering women" poster or something. She was a counseling major and always knew what I was thinking before I could say it. Jan is precious to me. She and her husband are leaving for the west coast here before too long, and while we haven't seen each other TONS I'm fearful that we might never cross paths again. (especially if American Airlines keeps up....) She took this pic of Brad and I, and I just love it...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Waiting on the Lord

So, if you are a man... maybe, don't read this blog entry. If you are a woman, a sympathetic woman - read on.

I'm 4 days late. I'm two negative pregnancy tests late. Obviously, after being one day late I was elated thinking that the Lord had blessed us with another child... just as I had been praying. So I suited up and headed to my local Rite Aid and purchased the infamous pink box... let the testing begin. Now, four days later...and two "no go" tests, I'm confused and wondering what's going on. I called my OB nurse who helped me through my miscarriage in November and she was not that helpful. Told me not to be worried until you have three consecutive months of missed cycles. THREE MONTHS!!! I've never been a day past normal in my life...

Is there such a thing as delayed ovulation? Because, I'm pretty sure that happend to me this month. I'm pretty sure I ovulated like 4 days before I was supposed to start my period. Which, again, not normal for me - and has never happened before. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME??! If I had delayed ovulation...it could take another 2 weeks before either a period or positive test could turn out. TWO WEEKS!!!! That would put me in the day 45ish zone.... I've never been like that. Hmmm... this truly is the curse at its finest.


I'm working on memorizing Matthew 7. The chapter that discussed our needs... and how God will meet them.... our NEEDS. Is being pregnant and having a family a need? Because for my entire life I have been convinced that it is... I need to serve the Lord with a family. I need to give my husband children and carry on his name... I need to fulfill the role that women were intended for. Maybe someday I'll look back at all of this and get a good laugh at myself. But for now... I'm just waiting on the Lord and his timing - because it is perfect, and he IS GOOD.


And this.... is a dream.... a dream that I just can't shake. Something I desire so much that sometimes I can almost feel it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My most precious gift

August 13th, 2005 was a special day in my life. It's the day I became Mrs. Brad Pausley. I'll never forget the days events... putting on my dress, praying with my dad, walking down the aisle and seeing my handsome husband to be. I'll never forget the look in his eyes as he said his vows to me or how he held my hand so tightly while he sang.
Now it's April 2, 2008. Almost three years since the Lord gave this precious man to me temporarily. We've gotten beyond the mushy first few months/years, while still wildly in love. And, just the other day I noticed how our love has molded into a new creation. We are no longer falling all over ourselves each time we touch or make eye contact... but instead, it's a deeper connection. This is my husband, my partner, my very best and real friend. We talk about life, we live together. We've gone through 3 moves and preparing for a 4th. We've finished school together, bought cars together, paid bills, watched younger siblings get married. But we've also weathered some hard times... we lost our first child...together. We've experienced the deep hurt of man's sinful rejection...together.

I watch him preach, I watch him work, I watch him live. He's the man of my dreams day after day. And while neither of us are perfect... we have a comfortable romance. I yearn for our future together... where will we go, together? What will we do, together? Who will be meet and minister to, together? Bradley truly is my most precious gift!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

She's here...

Is it possible to fall this deep in love with someone? Someone I've never even met yet - someone that isn't even mine?


World, let me introduce you to Kaci Elizabeth - my beautiful brand new niece. She was born on Easter Sunday in Japan. Weighing in at 7lbs, she's perfect! This is my brothers baby girl - and I just can't believe she's actually here. I can't believe that my baby brother has a baby. This life just presents so many suprises.

Ashley & Josh are going to make wonderful parents. My only regret about this whole situation is that I won't see them for months... and that breaks my heart. Why is this world SO big!? I hate being so far from the ones I love.








My heart is broken for my mom and dad who are so far from their first and only grandchild...





I wonder if she knows how loved she is? This little girl brings so much joy to our family.


What a perfect miracle it is to see new life like Kaci. God has used her to restore hope to my heart - and he's using her to remind me again - to slow down and wait on Him.

"How long O Lord".

Monday, March 24, 2008

i love being an aunt




Even though we live miles and miles apart... i love these little girls.

Abby Jo and Gracie are my dear sweet nieces who live in Iowa. It seems like everytime a picture is sent out they are years older...


i love them. they make me want sweet babies of my own to cuddle and love and raise... :)


Monday, March 17, 2008

...it's all setting in now...

I went to bed last night feeling frustrated. I tossed and turned and tried to find the "just right" position for sleeping, only to roll over a million times, sigh loudly, and roll the opposite way all over again. My mind was spinning in twenty different directions and I just felt ill. I'm frustrated about this whole experience with the Ohio church. I'm mad at the Pastor for being so emotional and unbiblical. I'm angry about the fact that there is no accountability at that place... I'm ticked at how sad my husband was... and sometimes still is. How could this have happened? I still can't believe it. I guess it's all just setting in now.

This morning I checked the churches website one more time... hoping to catch a glimpse at who the #2 choice was. And, sure enough, there was a name with an email link. They've hired him. I wonder if he knows he was #2. I wonder if Kevin has been transparent and honest with him about what happened to my husband. And I'm assuming that answer to all of my questions is no, based on what I've learned of them over the last month.

It's so easy to KNOW that God has saved/spared us. It's so easy to KNOW that he has a plan for us. It's even easier to say that we are PATIENTLY WAITING. But the truth is... I hate it. I hate doing this all over again with churches so far away from family... I hate the hunt that it's turned into. I despise how nervous Brad gets with each interview... and how deep inside he'll always have this scar tissue of a careless pastor in Ohio telling him he wasn't enough.
God, you know my heart... how sinful it is. How I hold on to hurts. God, you know our needs and more importantly our desires... (sometimes). Is there a way we could serve you, and have the benefit of being near to the ones we love?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Where oh where will HE send?

Some days I wake up and I feel like I'm king of the world... that I could do anything and go anywhere and be totally happy. Some days its just the opposite. I drag myself out of the bed and dread the future... I dread the unknown and really wonder what will I "end up" as. Funny how there's no in-between for those mindsets, at least not for me.

Bradley and I are 5 months from being done with our time here. His contract will end and I will be done with my life as Secretary Mandi. Waiting for the Lord is never easy - and we know that - but it seems to me that this kind of waiting is even more harder. :) We are letting Brad's contract end on FAITH that God will provide the next step for us. We are willingly letting go of two full time paid jobs... in order to seek what the Lord wills for us. We feel so called to serve in a local church and now its just a matter of waiting for the compass to spin and land in a direction.

Being that Brad and I are so very different... you can imagine how some of our conversations go. He would love the big city, bright lights, multi-everything kind of congregation... the BIG church right downtown would be his dream. I can't help but giggle when I think of my ultra-mid-west hubby in a downtown church position. The truth is... he'd be just fine, but I still giggle. :)

I, on the other hand, dream of the church closer to family. The smaller more intimate congregation where you are truly invested in EVERYONE's life. I want to be in the mom's morning group and know everyone by name... I dream of potlucks and Church picnics. (sigh) Thankfully God sees the desires of both our hearts and still knows exactly what we need.

I was googling for some pictures of churches today... church buildings are some of the prettiest structures. This is what I imagine...

Brad would be here - only, picture this HUGE building in the middle of Chicago or NYC.
















And I would be.... here, and loving it. The trees, nature, no street lights...

Thankfully the Lord already has our plans all figured out. Now the test is to see how patiently we wait and how earnestly we seek Him.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

For the Beauty of the Earth






"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is FULL of His Glory!" Isaiah 6:3


One of my favorite songs of all times... "For the Beauty of the Earth" was on my mind today. Not because PA is looking especially handsome this time of year - quite the opposite with its dead brown branches littering the road, black snow crusted on phone poles, etc. But, though all of the ordeals of my life right now I still maintain this strange peace when I see things like a sunset, fresh snow or even a new leaf budding on my bushes out front. The whole earth is full of the GLORY of God. Be encouraged today by the words of this fantastic hymn by Folliot S. Pierpoint. I hope to meet this man in heaven someday... as he should know how many times this song has brought joy to my gloomy days and given me hope to remember what's yet to come!


For the Beauty of the Earth







For the glory of the skies,




For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord all , to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.







For the beauty of each hour,

Of the day and of the night,



Hill and Vale, and tree and flower,





Sun and Moon, and stars of light.




LORD OF ALL, TO THEE WE RAISE, THIS OUR HYMN OF GRATEFUL PRAISE.



For the joy of ear and eye,

For the Heart and mind's delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.



Lord of all, to Thee we raise

This our hymn of grateful praise.



And there's so many more verses to the song...but I'll end with this one...


For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven...


Lord of all to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.


words by: Folliot S. Pierpoint





































































Monday, March 10, 2008

when you're a jumble of emotions...

This morning in chapel President Jeffery shared with us from Genesis 22. We looked at the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son - a story we've (I've) heard a zillion times. He began and ended his lesson with the quote "worship involves sacrifice".... sacrifice? Now, I'm not living in a third world country. I don't have to choose between food and safety. I worship freely any way I choose. So, for him to say that "worship involves sacrifice" - made sense for Abraham's day...and wouldn't you know it...clicked in my heart and mind this morning.

"God will bring us to a point where our most loved and most valuable will need to be placed on the altar". I'm sure I messed up that quote - but that's another piece of wisdom I heard in chapel today. The idea to follow was that... well, to be honest I was too blinded by my hurt this morning to hear much else. I felt numb as the other people around me sang and agreed with their grunts during PJ's message. But what the Lord wanted me to hear is that my worship, Brad's worship... involves sacrifice. And while I don't have all of that put together yet - it's getting there.

Last week was a very hard week for Brad and I. In the matter of 24 hours our future changed not once, but twice. On Wednesday Bradley was offered a pastoral position at a church in Ohio that we had started to fall head over heels in love with... We were so excited! God had opened a door and looked like he was clearly leading. We asked for a day to pray about it, but were so thrilled to give the big YES and move on with life. Could it really be this easy? I couldn't help but wonder. God had been so good to us! We found a place that would honor Brad's contract, had a preschool and was only 40 minutes from my family!!! I felt like there was nothing better.

Then Thursday came. Thursday evening the pastor called to withdrawal his offer from Brad. We sat in a bedroom completely blindsided by this decision. We had done no wrong. We had prayed, we had sought wisdom... before the call we were sharing our vision with dear friends - telling them our exciting news! And while I can't yet say anything postive about this man who has hurt my husband so deeply - I do know in the back of my mind that GOD IS WORKING OUT HIS PLAN. He has to be... that's the only sense of this past horrible year and all of the hardships we have gone through. We'll never know what caused this man to sit at home by himself, crying, and call my husband to take back his offer only a few days later - but we did learn a few things.
-we choose to take this before the Lord, and asked for days to pray together before we said a sure OK.
-we choose to seek wise counsel from family, friends and those in the ministry leading us now.
-we depend on the Lord's strength.

All that to say - we have to TRUST that God knows. He knows we did everything right. We have to trust that he is saving us from something we would all too soon regret being apart of. But all of this "knowledge" doesn't change a human wife's pain for her spouse. As I sat and watched my husband 'take' this bad news - my stomach hurt. He was being tormented inside... he was frustrated, angry and felt horrible. Still today...days later, he's still questioning "did I do something wrong?", "was it wrong for me to ask questions?", "was it wrong for me to want a day to pray about the most important decision of my life?". And the answer is an obvious NO.

Almighty God - what have you saved us from that we don't understand or see?

How in your grace and mercy did you choose to scoop us up out of a situation that was lying before us? What is your plan? Why for over a year now does our worship involve so much sacrifice? What do you have for us? We have to trust that its BIG! We have to believe that you are working out your plan in our lives... "Hosanna, Hosanna, Hossana in the highest".

Now today, I'll go home and wear my heart on my sleeve for my husband. He's been wounded in this battle... how do I help him mend? How do I encourage? How do I help the healing? How do I convince my godly husband that he is in the palm of your hand and this is all part of your master plan?

Monday, March 3, 2008

A weird fact of life

Troy, Ohio. Home of many people I'm sure...
Place of happiness, lots of schools, churches, community events...

As I drove around the town with my husband, I commented that it was just a homey place to be. People were outside walking the sidewalks, they had a goodwill store, it was a typical "welcome to America" town. Brad got nostalgic as we drove around his old block - we took pictures of the street signs and his old house, school, etc. He showed me the house he got saved at one summer, and the hill his dad took him down on his bike when he was a little guy, too scared to go alone - a memory he treasures.

Then we rounded the hill and came upon a huge grave yard. My heart sunk. We CAN'T be going in there! Since childhood I've struggled with facing and being around death. I've only just lost my great - grandparents, and besides the loss of my child, I don't experience death often. I'm uncomfortable with mourning... I'm shy around those who lose loved ones... and I'm not proud of that - but I'm so immature when it comes to this stuff. My heart goes into overdrive, I lose my breath and feel all shaky.

We follow a path through this grave yard, and there are assorted grave stones all different shapes and sizes and colors - some were beautiful, outlandish designs of angels and Mary figurines, while others were simple stones with a name and date. My eyes went from name to name, date to date, some were children - others middle aged, and many lived long lives. I tried to picture each person in my mind. What did they look like? What was their life story? Then out of the corner of my eye... I see why we are here. Pausley. Two Pausleys. Brad parks the car and I sat frozen in the passenger seat - I can't move. I'm starring at the graves with my last name on them. I wanted so badly to hop out and support my husband as he spent a few minutes paying respect to his grandparents, people I never met, but hear so much about. He arranged the silk flowers someone had placed on their stone, then he patted away the snow and made the spot look more tidy and cared for. He knelt down and put his hand on the top of the grave - I saw him mouth something then turn back to me and smile. He's so strong. I want to be like him.

As we pulled away, I'm trying so hard to hold back the tears - my throat hurts as I try. I end up weeping and apologizing that I couldn't be out there with him, he understands...always understands me. We have a quiet moment then follow the path to the exit. As we are leaving we drive past an elderly woman who is sitting in her car looking out the window at a grave. Was this her husband recently buried? A son lost years ago much too early? A sister? Parent? I couldn't help but watch her as she layed her head on her hand and just watched the grave.... she seemed so at peace, so calm and accepting of her situation. I tucked this picture into my brain and hope to never forget it. Death...

Monday, February 18, 2008

why i love teenagers






I love teenagers because...
-they have fun no matter what they are doing
-everything is a reason to clap and yell
-they either love God intensely...or, don't bother faking it.
-they say new words that i've never heard
-they give great hugs
-they challenge me to "behave"



They remind me of what God can do in a willing heart!



I love teenagers because...


-They use black eyeliner...a lot.
-style is whatever you want it to be
-competition is huge
-crushes, weekend romances, etc.
-when they cry, it's real
-that awkward shyness jr high girls have around sr. high guys.



-the way they interact with each other

-Colors of clothing

-hearts of gold

-that "odd" confidence they have in themselves.

Me again on a Monday

This weekend we had a fabulous time at High Point Camp with our youth group. It was such an encouragement to me and i had been looking forward to it for a few weeks now. The messages, although aimed towards teens, were so convicting to me - I left feeling refreshed even though I was running on empty according to my "sleep-o-meter". The word of God is powerful and it spoke to my heart, directly, several times over the last few days. I'm so thankful for the tragedy that the Lord allowed us to walk through - because I feel like I've been given a new look at my life and how I view it.

"Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!". But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. SHALL WE INDEED ACCEPT GOOD FROM GOD, AND SHALL WE NOT ACCEPT ADVERSITY?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips". Job 2:9-10

BAM - right in my face on a very late Friday night. I started to read through Job this weekend, because I'm intriqued with someone who was so at ease with God allowing hard times in their life. Job had every reason (humanly speaking) to freak out and curse God - he didn't understand, he was losing everything, and worst of all - his own health was failing. I couldn't imagine living with huge boils all over my body that i needed to scrape with a shred of a broken pot just to find relief, on top of everything else. I had to read through this verse multiple times to really grasp it. SHALL I ONLY ACCEPT GOOD was basically the convicting thought to me. Who am I to think I deserve only good things in life? Am I so American-ized to believe that I should have a life of no pain, everything at my command, etc? God has been so gracious to me these 25 years - I've never dealt with a serious illness, lost only a few relatives, lived in nice houses, always had food, clothing, cars, etc. And it's never been a thought to worry about things like water, warm beds and work. They are constant in my life.

The speaker this weekend spoke several times about "storms" in our life and I felt like every night he was staring at me - and I know the Lord had a plan for me to be there and for him to bring those messages. PRAISE GOD. I can't put into words how I'm feeling today but if I tried...
~~I'm elated that I have a God who allows things in my life, because he's caring for me enough to walk through them with me.
~~I'm challenged to accept the bad, which causes a deeper sense of peace for some reason.
~~I want to cry and thank Jesus for what he gave us - life, at his expense!

Since our miscarriage, I've had at least 10 friends get pregnant. Each time I have to sit back, take a deep breath...and just let God take over, otherwise this unexplainable pain takes its toll on my heart. I feel like I can't breath or blink, it's weird. Even though I am truly happy for my friends - PRAISE THE LORD this weekend I jumped a metaphoric hurdle, by hearing someone announce a pregnancy and my very first thought was, "Oh Lord, how excellent is your name". WOAH - where did that come from? All this to say, God is so good to me - he has healed a broken heart like mine...and continues everyday doing so.

I've been having all kinds of weird dreams lately - involving pregnancy. I had three this weekend. Oh how my heart yearns for a family of my own... each time I see mothers with their children I picture myself and dream a little. We'll find out in a few days if we have another one on the way and my heart is in perfect rest knowing that no matter what I'm being held in the palm of my saviors hand, and nothing can take me out!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Classic love...

Happy Valentines day world!
Lastnight on the way home from work I felt like I weighed nine thousand pounds...and all the weight was in my eyelids (weird word picture, but work with me). Exhausted. And the thing is I really haven't had a draining week. All the same I was drained and just felt like a slug.

In comes my super hero Bradley (trumpets please), "I'll make dinner" he says as we are crawling through walmart trying to decide what would be the quickest and easiest. Boxed Mac and cheese and chicken strips it is! So, we get home where I retire to the couch dressed in Brad's huge sweatpants and sweatshirt ( my favorite over-tired outfit) and flip through the pages of my newest magazine. I doze off and on, it's wonderful just to sit back and relax, I feel like a queen. Bradley is in the kitchen singing his opera-style songs as loud as he can, practically dancing with the mixing spoon...and I just can't help but feel like the luckiest woman alive. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally - through my draggy days, even. He serves me willingly and glady (obvious by the singing), and because he loves the Lord... it's even better. :)

We decided not to do any kind of V-day gifts this year. Sometimes I feel like we give just out of habit - and we don't want to be like that. I made him a home made card, and we will have a nice dinner OUT this evening followed by a concert. Happy Valentines' day us! I think, the older I get and the longer I'm married... I see that VAlentines day isn't only one day - in a marriage it's constant. Maybe not with the roses, candies, stuffed things, etc. But with the attitude and motivation to serve and love each other. And...I'm looking forward to the future and I'm challenged by how much MORE I could love.

This month, Bradley and I are trying for a family again - he's amazing at being sensitive to me. He's just amazing, anway. And if the Lord never blesses us with children... I'm already blessed with being married to the most amazing man God could have even given me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday is for thinking

I'm sitting at my desk waiting for someone to close this place so I can go home...
I'm going through caffeine withdrawal (not a pretty thing), bored out of my mind and just wanting to be home.

It's almost Valentines day - Brad and I are going to a concert here on campus for a group called "Shane and Shane" and I don't feel that excited yet. What ever happened to Valentines day? or is the question more..."what ever happened to what I thought of Valentines day?". When I was a little girl I remember dad coming home with beautiful red roses for mom and pretty pink carnations for me. It was such an exciting day and so thrilling! Not that Brad isn't amazing at those kinds of things...but, still.

blah. February...snow...blah.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fear

I've been thinking a lot about the verses in scripture that talk about the peace that comes to those who love the Lord and have a relationship with Him. Yesterday I spent the day attempting to stay meditated on "He will keep him in perfect peace who's mind is stayed on thee"... and wouldn't you know - the temptation to fret and worry and be anxious starting attacking me even stronger then when I was just "doing it on my own". On the way home from work lastnight I cried for first time in a while...about my baby. Only this time they were new tears. I've been battling this paralyzing fear of losing another child and last night it came to a head. It's a real, gripping, scary feeling to live like that. It seemed like no matter how hard I thought about the "Truth" the pain and, flashbacks, if you will, came back and pushed their way into my reality. I visualized the dull colored walls of the hospital, the empty painful feeling in my stomach and the days and days of crying on the couch with empty arms and womb.

In all of my 25 years I've never had to fight such a temptation to be swallowed by fear. Lastnight, bent over my dryer, I poured my heart out to the Lord. I read through more scripture to put it in my mind...like I was going into battle...and in a way I am. I keep telling myself that just because I've lost one baby doesn't mean I'll lose them all. I keep telling myself that God is JUST and gives us what we NEED, but also knows our DESIRES and can bless us with them. My walk with the Lord is so vital right now, and it always has been, but I just can't fathom doing this without a relationship with my creator. Brad can only say and do so much, and other people just say the wrong thing or worse...ignore me because they don't want to say the wrong thing. I'm dependent on my God and its just so sad that it takes this kind of thing to really draw that to my attention.

Next week Brad and I are free to start over. Thus, the fear...
Lord God, creator of Heaven and Earth, powerful healer, gracious friend - Hear my request.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Soldiers...

It happened again.

I'm walking through the airport after a stressful day of waiting on late planes, missing crew and feeling exhausted after a mentally draining weekend...when I come across some soldiers sitting in a waiting area. They were dressed in their gear and looked tired.

My heart always seems to drop as I think about where they could be heading, and my mind always goes to Japan where my brother is serving. Visions of my brother in Afghanistan....pictures from the news....headlines of soldiers getting killed... but good thoughts to - of the bravery displayed, courage shown and love for a country.



I consider it my civilian responsibility to thank our soldiers every time I see one. They do what I can't, and maybe won't. So, here I go - I approach the soliders, extend my hand to the first and say "thank you for serving". I noticed his wedding band and felt myself choke up... oh no, not again. As I turned to thank the second solider I felt my eyes burn and I knew I needed to do this and then move on quickly. "Thank you for serving....we appreciate it" I barely whispered as I noticed his eyes begin to well. OH NO... he looked at me and at this point I couldn't see him because of the tears that were taking over my eye space. Too late... I start to cry as I manage a goodbye smile and make a mad dash to the bathroom.

THANK OUR SOLDIERS...THEY ARE LEAVING BEHIND FAMILIES, FRIENDS and LIFE FOR OUR SAKES! NO SOLDIER SHOULD BE SUPRISED BY SOMEONE SAYING THANK YOU - IT SHOULD BE THE NORM!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

If you want me to


If You Want Me To -- Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley If You want me to
Cause I'm not who I was When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through the fire If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So When the whole world turns against me And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the darkness If You want me to

This is just one of those songs. I'm feeling a little melancholy this afternoon and I've been scrambling around looking for encouragement. I always find joy in the Truth of the promises of God.
When people ask me how I'm doing I've been known lately to say "There have been better times, and there will be worse", to which they give a chuckle and nod in agreeance. I'm doing very well. This morning in prayer time a coworker shared their heart. Their spouse is in pain constantly, debilitating at times, and their lives have changed. I watched as stress lines and tears welled their eyes as they shared what the family is going through - I admit my own heart stings tighten now every time I hear of anyone suffering. Could God have used my pain in order to comfort others and sympathize more with a hurting world? Yes. Some days it just all makes sense.
My husband is ill. He has been for a month now. Nausea, dizziness, etc. The kind of sickness that just hangs out but no one has an answer for. I watched as he had his blood taken for tests, as he winced briefly in pain and later as he slept on the couch with a crinkle in his forhead giving sign of the pain he was feeling inside. But...nothing helps. I felt my throat tighten up like I wanted to cry...is this what he must have felt as I was continuously poked and prodded and picked at just a few weeks ago? More so... is this how the Lord looks at us when we suffer and endure through agony? He HAS to, and even more then we do. God, please heal my husband and continue to work in me the something "beautiful" that you planned before the foundations of the earth.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Evil addiction... ?

"To get to the bottom of this puzzle, a team led by Dr. De-Kun Li, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., conducted one of the first studies to take into account morning sickness. They concluded that a daily habit of drinking 200 milligrams of caffeine — the amount typically found in just two cups of coffee — significantly increases the risk of miscarriage."

These are the words I heard on the news this morning... and I almost threw up right there on my living room floor. In my heart I know that trying to figure out a "why" is not only unrealisitic, but just me trying to once again control my circumstances. I'm an avid multi-cup drinker of the blessed coffee bean, many days I've been known to skip breakfast and fill up on that extra mug...and have been known to enjoy the "jitters". When I found out I was pregnant, I cut back to one cup a day - and didn't even drink it every day. But now I'm wondering... as I'm sure everyone in my situation would do... just wondering... did I cause this? I know I can't think like that, but you can understand why it would be in the back of my mind.

Oh Lord, once again, just as I think I'm climbing back up the mountain... I begin to tumble back down in the wrong direction. Today I'm asking for that "Peace that passes all understanding", please remind me that in this life it's YOUR plans that matter, not my ideals or imaginations.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Capturing something beautiful

Back at the end of September Bradley and I had a photo shoot, with a new friend, Jo. She's an amazing photographer and I waited in great anticipation for our special day. She had taken time in advance to scout out places to shoot us in Scranton and we had such a blast following her through the busy streets to our destinations. I've had my picture taken a million times before, but this day was so special - she helped Brad and I create new memories and for that I am grateful.

I spent some time with Jo in June, while she shot Jon and Amy's wedding, I was working as her assistant and we got a few hours to get to know each other. She's a mother of three, very creative and very kind. I loved watching the gentle way she focused on each picture, turning her head to think and scrunching her forhead thinking about her ideas. Jo inspires me to follow my dreams. Although she has a life full of great responsibilites she still makes time for beautiful things - nature, quiet moments, kisses and fall leaves. When she gave me our finished pictures, she also gave me a small box full of decorated papers - it was a "thought box". She encouraged me that any time I heard a quote, had a thought, a whispered prayer or a frusration to write it down and keep it, "treasure it". I've already started my collection. Jo reminds me to look at the small things even more then I already do. Notice the wind touching the dust, see stars at night above a city sky, smell pine branches after the snow melts off...





During this shoot I felt like a princess or a super model. I felt like every ray of bronze sunlight and every rush of wind was there just to make me look and feel amazing. I had just found out I was expecting... and the day couldn't have been more perfect. I believe with all of my heart that God wanted me to feel like that for that day. God is good like that.






Lastnight during some quiet time I had read through Psalm 10. It's not an encouraging Psalm or one of those happy praise ones, either. It's a whining, questioning, angry Psalm asking God WHY the wicked continue to prosper. I like reading those every now and again...it reminds me that i'm not the only one who wonders... and it reminds me that God hears me and does answer me. The ultimate question in life is not "why or what?" but "who?". Who is this God? Who allows the Sun to shine, the moon to hide during the day, kittens to be born and seeds to sprout into new life? Who is this God who would send His only son to die for a world of horrible people who won't love him back? Who is God to me? Once we understand the "who", our complaints start to dwindle and our whining subsides, and our hearts begin to soften. In my own life I'm learning this daily. The Why isn't necessarily the end all, it's understanding and loving the Who.

Brad has been gone for 7 days now. He won't be home until 2 more. These long trips wear me out and put pressure on us both. I never considered myself to be a "needy" person, but when I'm without my partner I feel lost and alone and disconnected from life, really. I'm so anxious to see him and hug him and hear him speak again. It's the simple things that I enjoy most with him. His grins, excessive sighing when he wants attention, the way he takes up an entire couch with his 6 footed self. I love him. He's such a jewel in my life, and I treasure what we have.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You make everything Glorious

Glorious is my favorite word lately. That's a self revelation I've had this week as I look back over different things I've written, blogged, face booked, commented on... Glorious. :) Glorious food, friends, life, etc. Even my favorite song right now has the word Glorious all through it.


This morning on my way into work there was a perfect vertical rainbow shooting down from the sky. It looked very obviously like an arrow stretching from the dark blue right into a mountain top. It was...you guessed it..glorious. I saw this rainbow after a fairly emotional ride into town. My favorite CD currently is David Crowder's new one and the song I mentioned earlier that has my favorite word in it goes like this...

"You make everything glorious,

you make everything glorious,

you make everything glorious...so what does that make me?".
Pause. I'm glorious. I'm made in the image of God. I'm saved for an eternal life in Heaven. I'm created to enjoy rainbows, life and the GLORY of God. Do you ever find yourself listening to a song and you feel like your soul is just going to explode because you feel that love and longing for our saviour? That's how I felt this morning. I'm on the highway, Crowder blasting at high volume, tears running down my cheeks and I'm worshipping. People are passing me and giving me odd looks at this point, but the tears keep coming and my soul is being satisfied with the knowledge that God has made everything glorious and that I AM IN THAT CATEGORY! Then...the rainbow. If I were the type to get all creeped out by "signs"...I would have been creeped out. God gave me that rainbow this morning, reminding me of his intimate love in my life. He reminded me that no matter how much my body fails and my heart deceives and my mind wanders... that I'm glorious to Him and he cares about me. The truth is, God has always used nature to remind me of these things. Short story - In college, I went through a few weeks when I would wake up without an alarm every day before the sun was up, around 5ish and couldn't fall back asleep. And every morning (while everyone else slept...and I wanted to be sleeping) I just felt the Lord tugging at my heart. But about what?! So I'd wander into the lounge and sit on a couch and just think. I would mentally open my brain and just try to absorb whatever it was I needed...obviously. On the very first day of all of this, while I'm sitting on the lounge couch I notice a small black spider on the floor a few feet away from me. My normal reaction would be to 1) remove it to the great outdoors or 2) smush and flush, but starting on this day... I just felt like I needed to watch it. So I spent the next hour talking to the Lord and watching this spider mosey through the lounge in the quiet. Day after day this happened, and I'm not kidding when I tell you that this spider was right back in that same spot (and yes, alive) every morning when I arrived on the lounge couch. Occasionally, I caught myself worrying about this spider throughout my day - "I hope nobody squashes the poor thing", "I wonder if that weird spider will be back again tomorrow", "I wonder if I'll be up again that early tomorrow?". Weird, I know. Then came the day when I stopped waking up and that spider either met his doom or found an escape and that phase of my life was over. And do you know what I learned out of all of this... God created that little spider for a reason. He wasn't an accident or a morph of evolution, he was a detailed little thing that our God took time to create and design...how much MORE important was I to the Lord. Maybe the Lord woke me up every day for those few weeks to remind me of that. That I was a glorious creation to him, that I had purpose... that my life was for more then sleeping in everyday and going to classes when I felt like it. While I spent those mornings praying and watching I learned to appreciate God more. I appreciated his attention to detail, I appreciated his intelligence, I appreciated his concern for me...a lazy college student who lacked motivation. I guess, tying this all back in, the rainbow was another one of God's little reminders today. Reminder that he Loves me, and a reminder for me to "wake up and smell the flowers" literally.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Good friends

Good friends...
They like the same things you do, and if they don't it's still fun doing them.
They know when you are lying
They understand you when you are "speechless"
Good friends see your heart, feel your pain, catch you when you fall...or start to.
Good friends can give you a kick in the pants when you need it or build you up higher then a kite when its due.
They pray with you... they pray for you... they cry with you, and they laugh even harder.


Good friends text you every half an hour to check on you in hard times, like Naomi did.
Good friends find ways to protect you from other people, like my mom does.
Good friends share their own pains, like Aaron does with Brad.
Good friends treasure the "Good ol' days".



Over Christmas break in Iowa, we were able to get together for a brief second with our friends Aaron and Laura. We met at Caribou Coffee and enjoyed some conversation early in the day. Brad and Aaron grew up together - although not always "best friends", they share a friendship that is growing and changing over the years. I loved sitting and watching them interact. They have so many memories together... always hilarious to hear retold with embellishments. Aaron played a key role in Brad's life - and for me, getting to know him now is just too much fun. Aaron's wife is gorgeous. She reminds me of a fairy tale princess with her fair skin and golden orange/red hair. She's proper and seems patient and quiet. Although our conversation isn't deep or by any means deeply moving, we are new to each other, and the little ounces of her that I get to know are always wonderful. In a perfect world, we would have had hours to sit and talk and catch up and get to know each other...but, that's not how life works. After coffee, the four of us took a quick tour of some local shops bustling with all of their Christmas and after Christmas sales. We stopped into a French country shop that none of us could afford, but was fun all the same. Then we said our goodbyes, not knowing when our next seconds together would be.


I guess I'm writing all of this because after this visit I really got to thinking about what a good friend is. In my mind I think of someone I lived with in the dorm, someone who knows all of my business and loves me anyway, or someone I talk to daily and we know all the details in every situation. But then after our visit with the Pals, it dawned on me that we only see these people twice a year maybe... but every time I see them I feel like we are just picking right back up and time hasn't moved a second. Good friends. Moreso for Brad and Aaron as Laura and I just married in and are along for the ride... a fun ride.


Today I'm thinking of my good friends. Friends like Karen, who after just one weekend of volunteering together - impacted my life and my dreams of being a mom. She does it with her whole heart, and I want to be like that. Friends like Suzy who bring humor and insight into my everyday. Friends like Meredith who mourn with me and we tag team wait for the future. Friends that I haven't seen or spoken too in ages... Jon in Kentucky with his hilarious antics. Bonnie and Nathan who love me and encourage me with quick hellos on facebook. Janice, who has been with me in hard times and hilarious times and is ALWAYS strong. Beth, whose patience and quiet spirit have taught me more then I could have ever gotten from college.
I'm thinking of Emily, my survivor. Kim, my determined professional. Karyn... my long lost college best friend. We live 10 minutes apart physically, but it's really like light years. How does that happen? I'll never understand, but I'm sad about it.

I once heard someone say that you are a blessed person if you could count on one hand your friends. Well Lord, than in that case... you have blessed me beyond measure, even if I don't always feel like it.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Once upon a time...


I had a little brother once. His name was Josh. He was a stout little muscle ball that I could get into trouble any time. He tanned up like a little indian baby in the summer, mom called him "Brownberry". His nicknames were Junior, Herman, Doshie and Brudder. I had a little brother once who would come into my room in the middle of the night and sleep on my bedroom floor because he was afraid of his own room and the darkness. This little brother let me play with him and his matchbox cars, even though my barbies were way too big. He and I would play outside until it was too dark to see the dirt mound we had created... Once upon a time I had a little brother named Josh... and now I'm wondering... where did that time go?




My little brother, who now stands well above 6 feet tall and weighs much more then I... my little brother who is married and to have his first baby, before me. My little brother who fights in a war that no one understands or wants to, but he does it with Pride and with STRENGTH and with a heart of gold.




Christmas was emotional this year. I knew it would be and I didn't even try to prepare myself because I wanted to feel it all. We spent a week in the state of Iowa with Bradley's siblings and parents. His parents are leaving their chuch that they have been at for 14 years. God has other plans for them, but now that the house is for sale and they don't have jobs... God still hasnt directed. My sister and brother in law want children... but God hasn't blessed them, yet. It's been so long...


It was a fun time, we laughed every day and were loud and rowdy and enjoyed each others company...but still every night there was a weird uncomfortable feeling for me. God, why do I feel like you leave your people hanging? These are GOOD people. They LOVE you and serve you with their entire lives. I watched my father in law sit and watch his kids...for the last time in the house they'd known for over a decade. He doesn't know what tomorrow holds or when we will all be together again. I watched him cry as we all said goodbye one last time to a brother and his wife as they drove out of the driveway. I felt like my throat would explode as I held in every tear as hard as could...
Christmas with my family was just as emotional but for other reasons. My brother's wife is 7 months perfectly pregnant. She has the pregnant figure that I would die to have, that I thought I would have only a few short weeks ago. I did my very best to be secure in my faith and understanding that God DOES have a plan, but I still failed daily as I once again asked forgiveness for doubting and discontent. Days grew harder each time a new "announcement" came. I rejoiced with people, honestly I did, but then would weep... I am so thrilled for God's blessings in others lives - but its still an open wound for me and I can't act like its not. And remember that little brother I mentioned? I got to spend time with him, for the first time in probably a year. He's different. The war has changed parts of him, although he still has the deep sensitivity to me even if he wont' admit it. That's why he got up at 6am to say another goodbye as I left for my flight. As I hugged him goodbye I felt that throat bursting feeling again. Would this be my last goodbye? I'm SICK of goodbyes. I'm tired of loving and losing although I know that will never end while we are on this earth. I hugged him and hugged him and wanted him to feel my heart and feel the things I can't say to him. He's not walking with the Lord. Afghanistan is only a few weeks away again...
I love my little brother. I love our closeness and our similarities and how we have so many inside jokes that no one else is in on. I love his laughter and his boldness, although its gotten him in trouble so many times.
Once upon a time... it just seems perfect to say.