Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Im also adding photos!!
So, remember my friends Dan and Casey? They lost their baby, Asher, soon after he was born. I have been constantly encouraged by their faith, honesty and trust in God as they grieve.
Now they have a baby girl! It all happened very very fast. Less than two weeks ago they were applying for adoption, then a birth mother chose them last week and yesterday she gave birth to Zoe Elizabeth!
Read the stories! Be encouraged! He is at work and His timing is perfect. This is why I am pro-life.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Although, I have been more encouraged recently and despairing less after reading a good article and listening to a good sermon. They both helped me know how to approach the election.
To summarize: we should not panic about not having the perfect presidential candidate, but we should pray for both to be good leaders AND love Jesus! And we should pray that babies do not get aborted AND that the poor are taken care of. And we should not base our joy on the person we think would make the best president being elected, neither should we despair if the other guy gets elected. God is God and He is sovereign weather the world falls apart or holds toegether! How great is that!? God's ordains good and bad leaders and none of them are saviors. Jesus is our Savior.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
So after the boys were in bed I was playing with Mercy downstairs. I decided I should sing with her. She is one of my Sunday School kids who never comes (she naps instead) so I try to make up for it when I see her. So we sang Jesus Loves Me. I mean, of course I sang it. But the fun part was the look on her face. She stopped squirming and reaching for my hair and sat still for the whole song. And at first I thought she was contemplating the theological signifigance of being loved by the King of the universe. (I pray she will one day) Then I thought maybe that was a look of confusion and dissapointment at the sound of my voice compared to her mommy's, (she really looked at me like "are you singing to me? you're kidding" :) Either way, she heard truth and we had fun together.
Monday, October 6, 2008
One of my tasks at work is to take temperature and humidity readings from the scroll cases, and the organics cases. You see, the scrolls and organics must be at a specific temperature and humidity or else they will start to fall apart and Israel will come and take them away from us. So, we have to take readings and send them to the people in Israel once a week so they know that everything is ok. Its kind of fun to take the readings because I get to leave my little office in the corner of the basement, walk by the waterfall and I get to see the scolls. So, monday I was dutifully and diligently performing this task. I had finished in the quiet, mystical, scroll room and was onto the next room. I passed a group of teenagers sitting on a bench. about 3 girls and one boy, all african american(this is relevant). Obviously a high school group that was not really interested in the exhibit. They were talking loudly and, about my hair! I smiled to myself and finished downloading the data from a case. One girl called me over. "Can I see your hair?" I walked over to them. "How does a white girl get dreadlocks?" "I mean how did you get those?" Before I could answer her friend in a voice of equal decibles scolded her "You don't know she's white! make sure shes white!" Girl 1 looked back at me "you're white, right?" The docent was trying to hush the kids (usually at this point in the exhibit people are soaking in as much information as they can and quietly waiting their turn to enter the sacred scroll room, but i guess that is beacuse most groups that visit the exhibit weekdays at lunchtime are elderly women from Baptist churches in rural north carolina towns) but she was amused too and was very kind about it. I tried to help "shhhhh... yes, I'm white" (not sure if I ever had to clarify that before) "how did you get dreads? did you go to an african beauty salon?" I remembed the hours of backcombing and saltwater at the cabin- definately not. "no, my sisters did it for me." Girl 1: "Oh" "I didn't know white people could get dreads" Me: "I'm trying, it's hard" Girl 1: "well, I like it" I was touched. I always am, becuse this stage of dreadlocks is hard, some days I want to give up. We chatted some more before I moved onto the next room. It was swarming with teenagers zooming through the exhibit. (Most people take 1-2 hours to get through it, and it was only 20 minutes after the exhibit had opened and they were already near the end). I checked some cases, then crossed the room and found another kid looking at my hair (this one was white). Maybe he heard the conversation in the other room. with a sincere and serious look on his face he said "those dreads are beautiful" I assumed he was not mocking and thanked him for the compliment. laughing inside and planning to blog about my trip to exhibit.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Now, I knew this would be a part of my job. Being surrounded by evolutionists. I am ok with that. I go back and forth though. I mean, God is sovereign and that is so much more important than how he created earth. Why would there be so much evidence of a really old earth if its not true? I thought Jesus was the stumbling block, not the age of the earth. I guess it is all connected. This is what was running through my head yesterday as the people around me so matter-of-factly wrote off creationists as deceived or uninformed. I think the hardest part is that the scientists I work with know much more than I do about archeology, etc. I know all about salvation through Christ alone, who is the way the truth and the life (halleluia!) But all I know about dating the earth is what people tell me, so how do I know what to believe? It also hit me that I need to be careful that I don't conclude that the whole creation story is symbolic and not literal. Perhaps, it is often misinterpreted, perhaps not, but it is truth. And if I let myself believe that one part of the Bible is symbolic, what about the rest?... I am weak and my heart and mind are prone to wander from the Truth and the One who stustains me and keeps me in His grace.
Then there is Mary Schweitzer who was also at this meeting. I think Mary is a Christian. She discovered soft tissue on a T-rex bone. Creationists said "you see! the world is only 5000 years old!" Mary and evolutionists said "That's amazing that the soft tissue survived millions of years!" .. sigh.. So, one goal I have for the next 12 months is to have a conversation with Mary Schweitzer. I appreciate that she looks at whats seems to be evidence of evolution and she sees the hand of an all powerful God and gives Him glory for it. It would also be good to talk to some creationist scientists.
Science is not God. God is completely sovereign and He created the universe by speaking words. He is over all and in all. I love these truths! I love God that He understands how all of this fits together. I love that as smart as we think we are, we still can't grasp the concept of a three person God, or a good God who allows/ordains evil, or an earth that seems to be billions of years old, but smashed into 5000 years. Our minds are limited. I am thankful that God is infinately smarter than us.
Yes! Please comment! I would love to hear your thoughts.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Last friday we packed a duffle bag with food, pjs, inner tube patch kits and cameras. We strapped it to my brand new luggage rack with a long bungi cord, a webbing strap, and a woven belt from Central America. We looked a little rough, but the pack was secure, and we were ready. We mounted our bikes and started pedaling.
4 liters of water, 3 rest/adjustment stops, and 5 photos later we arrived at the Village moter lodge in Smithfield. I went inside to pay for the room while Joanna called anxious family members to announce our safe arrival. As I waited to be helped my legs started to feel funny like a slight burning sensation. I started pacing in the lobby. After 5 minutes of waiting I thought it would be good to streatch. So I went outside and paced and streatched and paced a streatched untill a man came out and asked me if we were going to get a room or what and I'd better be 21. ha. I looked at a Joanna in her layered bike clothes snapping photos of the hotel, our bikes rigged for touring and myself sniffling and wiping my nose on a bandana, helmet off to reveal very new and struggling dreadlocks, and realized that I didn't think I was physically able of standing still. So we paid for that room, passed the ID check. (by 6 years!) and then they were happy.
Wow. We slept like rocks. It was amazing. So thankful we went for the hotel instead of a campsite with no tent. 6:30am Saturday, with a few mini sarah lee muffins digesting and fresh energy we set off on the next 106 miles of our trip. The ride was beautiful, with the sun rising over the trees on fields and cow pastures. Many good photo ops. It was a good morning. We even got to ride side by side and discuss motivation for missions verses other occupations. When we were not chatting or singing, I daydreamed about swimming in the ocean, playing in the sand, and our glorious entry as we rode into the parkin lot. The entire trip we only missed one or two turns and didn't go far before we realized the mistake. Google maps (walking directions modified) was super helpful and accurate... untill we got to the street that was to take us safely over or under US 117. Baker Chapel Church Rd. was our road at the time. We were enjoying the flat scenic road until we passed a "no outlet" sign. All big and yellow and official. We stopped and re-read the directions, pulled out the map and decided to see what "no outlet" really meant. We took a picture of what we found.
What you can't see is that there is a fence on the other side of the bushes. Beyond the fence is US-117. And beyond that... we could only hope for something good. Back to the map. But the map showed Baker Chapel Church turning into McKees Oil County rd on the other side of the highway. And, we would have to add another 3-5 miles to our trip. That could take half an hour, and we would risk getting lost. So, still feeling adventerous, we found a part of the fence that was low and started bushwacking our way toward it. As we struggled to get one of the bikes through the bushes I could feel my patience coming to a halt. I was super uncomfortable, and pretty fed up with the bike that wouldn't budge.... and my legs... they were... warm. I looked down to find in my struggles I had flattened a huge fire ant hill. The occupants were pretty upset and in a matter seconds had retaliated. About 50 of them were attached to my ankles just above my sock line and were pumping my skin with poison. Not having previous experience with fire ants, and still struggling with the bike, I was pretty slow to react. But eventually I realized my task- get them off. I found a piney area a few feet away and tore off my shoes and socks, yelling and sweating. Meanwhile, Joanna continued to drag the bike through the bushes and over the ant hill. Still angry, the ants quickly attacked her chacoed feet. So we sat yelling obscenities and killing the ants. But obscenities I of course mean things like "aaahhhhggg" and "This is how people go crazy!" and "yaahhhhhh". Not saying we did not want to yell other things.
Ten minutes later, we hoisted the bikes over the fence and emerged from the bushes to face the traffic. "My feet feel warm" said Joanna. I looked down. My ankles were red and puffy all around my sock line. They looked like they were exploding out of my socks. We carefully crossed the highway and found ourselves facing a 6' fence with a single line of barbed wire at the top as far as we could see in each direction. Sigh. "Maybe we should have taken the long way around." "Well, at least this will be a fun story to tell" After a 5 minute walk along the side of the highway, dodging numerous fire ant hills, we found our beloved barbed wire break. The fence was lower too.
So, we reached Mckees Oil County rd, found the town of Mt. Olive where we bought gatorate, filled up on water and ate a quick lunch. Back on the road. As we pedaled I watched the odometer/speedometer/clock. I started to do some calculations based on the numbers flashing at me. Little by little it began to sink in that, at the rate we were going, including stops, we may get to the beach around 7pm... IF we didn't have any more Fire Ant incidents or Incorrect Directions incidents. And IF we kept up the pace we were going, wich was hard. I calculated again. maybe 6:30 if we didn't stop as much. but we needed to stop. We dropped things and found things and we needed to eat and use the bathroom. Stopping was essential. 8pm was a realistic estimate. I had secretly hoped to leave the beach by 7pm to go back to Raleigh. I calculated again. 7pm was still generous. We kept riding. I confessed to Joanna how much I was putting my hope in the beach and not in Jesus. She prayed for me. I calcuated again. Realisticly, 8pm. I was tired. I also had a hard time breathing, and I felt low on energy but I didn't feel like eating. So we kept going. Finally, all the anxiety that I had been building up just bubbled over and came out in the form of tears and panic. We found a shady spot and I prepared to vomit. I didn't. I just cried and sucked air as if there was a shortage. It was pathetic. I wish Joanna had been mean enough to take some pictures of me sprawled out in the dirt. Instead she called Blair. And then insisted we continue.
I put the odometer in my pocket and drafted off Joanna as we pushed forward. As we rode, she made plans with blair about picking us up. Basically we keep riding until we see him. We did. We rested alot and drank alot of water. And oh what a glorious moment when the powervan came around the bend! We had biked over 100 miles. Blair drove us all the way back to the beach where we were greeted by our oh so supportive friends and an incredible sand sculpture of sponge bob square pants riding a bike.
The beach was AMAZING. All of a sudden I had plenty of energy to swim and swim and get buried in the sand. Pictured is Ben, Joanna, and the two headed Mara- "which is her real face?"
On the way home we stopped for dinner and I eaten about half of my subway sandwich when my body started to shut down again. It was kind of like I had just enough energy to stay awake and sitting up, so thats what I did, and nothing else. I didn't even think. It was a strange feeling. Not bad, but definately not good.
Sunday morning, I was amazed at how good I felt. Like everything was back to normal. My knee was a bit sore, and we still had welts on our feet. But, other than that, I felt great!
Morals of the story:
1. Fire ants are really nasty, and they have a very appropriate name.
2. Google maps is USUALLY right
3. God is the one who sustains me and gives me life and breath and energy. I can do nothing apart from His grace and I can do everything through Him who strengthens me.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Why? Because I think dreadlocks are super cool looking and I have wanted them for years. Various weddings, interviews and rational fears have prevented me until now. my friend Danish (Diane) has inspired me as she had some sweet dreads and much of her hair survived when they came out.
what else? they are fuzzy. I will have 27 when its all done. My sisters really love me. my mom tried to talk me out of it. i like dreads. i don't smoke pot.
photos to come soon.
Monday, August 11, 2008
We have been mourning the death of their newborn son, Asher.
In the midst of sorrow and not understanding, God has made it clear to us- He is good! He is sovereign, and therefore, He is the one who took Asher. But He is good! Praise Him! We do not mourn as those who have no hope.
From Lamentations 3
13 He drove into my kidneys
the arrows of his quiver;
14 I have become the laughingstock of all peoples,
the object of their taunts all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood.
16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
17 my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
18 so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.”
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
29 let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope;
30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever,
32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve the children of men.
34 To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth,
35 to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.
37 Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
39 Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?
40 Let us test and examine our ways,
and return to the Lord!
41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands
to God in heaven:
42 “We have transgressed and rebelled,
and you have not forgiven.
43 “You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us,
killing without pity;
44 you have wrapped yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can pass through.
45 You have made us scum and garbage
among the peoples.
46 “All our enemies
open their mouths against us;
47 panic and pitfall have come upon us,
devastation and destruction;
48 my eyes flow with rivers of tears
because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 “My eyes will flow without ceasing,
50 until the Lord from heaven
looks down and sees;
51 my eyes cause me grief
at the fate of all the daughters of my city.
52 “I have been hunted like a bird
by those who were my enemies without cause;
53 they flung me alive into the pit
and cast stones on me;
54 water closed over my head;
I said, ‘I am lost.’
55 “I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
56 you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
your ear to my cry for help!’
57 You came near when I called on you;
you said, ‘Do not fear!’
My dad is recovering so well! He is walking a mile at a time now and not even feeling much pain. I have only talked to him on the phone but he sounds better every time. I am super encouraged.
Yes, my faith was a bit pathetic for a while there. I think all the anxiety and fear and emotions just crashed down on me after the surgery since I did not have much time to experience them before. I was rebellious about pouring out my heart to God too. (meaning, i didn't) It was a fight and fighting with God is never good. But He is SO faithful and gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. He changed my heart and renewed my love for Him and my joy in salvation. And what joy!
Dana reminded me that God gave my dad a new heart. He spared his life! That is something to be thankful for! I have been learning to trust God in a new way- this whole thing has reminded me that God is sovereign. He gives and takes away. If my hope is not in Him, I will be dissapointed, I will fall, and be flung into despair and hopelessness.
So, its a miracle. God gave the doctors understanding and knowledge to perform such an intense surgery. God provided all the technology and medicine through other people who he gave wisdom, and God is healing my dad. So glory and praise be to God!
Did you know that in bypass surgery, they stop your heart, put you on a machine that pumps blood and breathes for you, and they take your heart out, and put it on a table while they operate on it? Is that not amazing?! Then, they put it back in, sew you up and you are up and walking around the next day. Tell me that is not a miracle. (I know, i doubted too).
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Alison and are handling this similarly. We slept for the hour drive home and then took naps in our beds. Emotional exhaustion is the term we use. Anna went swimming.
Again, thank you so so much for praying and encouraging me with phone calls and scripture. Please keep praying for my dad's recovery- Oh! He is breathing very well, so pneumonia is not even a big threat right now. And pray for all of us to find our strength and hope and joy in God and trust Him. Oh I need much strength right now. And give glory and thanks to God for hearing our prayers and showing His healing power!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Great news! We got to see daddy around 5 pm today. He was sleeping and still had a breathing tube, but he looked SO good. Not white or cold at all! He just looked like daddy sleeping. THEN we got to see him again at 8:30 and he was awake! Praise God! He was possibly not going to be awake until midnight. Anyway, so we got to talk to him and he was funny and himself. We decided that a catheter could be useful for not having to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. He is going to market it using the following awesome slogan. "clap clap catheter" (clap on, clap off). Yes. And he was so encouraged to hear about all of you praying for him and you care and concern. And Andrew, Alison's boyfriend sent flowers. (awwww) And daddy really appreciated that. I am so thankful and relieved that he is doing well. All glory to God! Praise Him that he is so faithful and the healer and He hears our prayers! He is healing daddy quickly!
I am really happy to be at home right now (in silver spring).
Please keep praying. Pray that God would continue to strengthen us as it is very draining to be in a waiting room all day. Pray that I would learn to rely on God's strength and not my own. On my own, I would not be able to do this.
Pray I would be bold to give glory to God.
I am so thankful for all of you and your care for me and my family and for your encouraging emails and phone calls! I praise God for you!
May you see God's hand in this situation and love Him more because of it!!
Even if everything does go well they warned us that he will look bad when we see him. He may not wake up completely until around midnight. He will still have breathing tubes and all that stuff and "white and pasty and cold" is the term that the PA used. uuhhg
I have struggled to pray- maybe I am doubting that God will hear, maybe I am afraid to ask God to keep him alive because I don't want to think about all the risks. I know his chance of coming out of this really healthy and recovering well is very good, but it is still scary. I mean, it's open heart surgery. That is a big deal. But this morning I was able to intercede a little. I am thankful. Oh! I am so thankful. I am thankful that my dad went to the hospital when he did, and that he is at a good hospital. I am thankful that I was able to get here quickly and see him before the surgery. I am thankful that not even this can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus! I am thankful that God sustains us and keeps our hearts beating. I am thankful that the waiting room has plants and big windows. I am thankful that money is not a concern. I am thankful that we have 3 pounds of peanut butter that Alison insisted we bring. I am thankful that they were able to operate today and not have to wait until tomorrow. I am thankful to be with my sisters now. I love them so much.
Please pray that God would heal my daddy quickly. That we would trust in Him. Pray that we would love God more because of this. And beyond that, just pray as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Friday, May 30, 2008
So, the first project I will be working on is helping to get ready for the the Dead Sea Scrolls! What? I get to help set up the copies of scripture that the early Church read!! How amazing is that. I was not so sure about the job a week ago, so I was praying that God would just make it clear to me what I should do if they offered it. And He did. He gave me such and excitement about the job.
Thanks for reading and sharing my joy. Glory to God.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The mouse with a belly to hold my hand
ergonomic and healthy, it passed the test
the price was right, cheaper than the rest
I brought the mouse home, shining with pride
I wrestled with the package and almost died
finally free of the plastic cage, I saw the truth
this mouse was not for me and my apple
the pc connection was not a USB
Target mouse laughed and mocked me
returns at target can be hard
they tend to frustrate and annoy
but if you have your receipt or debit/credit card
the whole process is a joy
an open package will be no worry
if it didn't work out that's fine
we can fix you right up in a hurry
unless, of course, there's a line!
today a new mouse came home with me
It boasts the desired USB
target team members were on the ball
we made the exchange in no time at all
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
So, this week I have a structured plan of praying, reading, seeking advice and listening. The goal is to figure out a plan. My plan to find a plan. It is a luxury to not have to go crazily searching for a job right away. I am so thankful.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Pottery. Maybe I could do pottery for a living. I love to work with my hands.
Maybe I should be more concerned about getting a job. Obviously I will look. So, what if I cant find one? I have never had to worry about money- I mean, I have always had enough money- and I know that has not helped my character. I enjoy pretending that I don't have the money I need- I mean it seems glamorous to have to live paycheck to paycheck and know that if something unexpected happens, I will not have the money to pay for it.
O, to grace, how great a deabtor, daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, Lord, take a seal it, seal it for thy courts above.
What to do:
Back to school:
Graphic design- non-profit
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I love the hope of heaven that we have in Jesus. I love that she is worshipping God face to face and no longer struggling with pain, sin, sorrow, and all the trials on earth. She went peacefully they said, I think that means she went in joyful anticipation.
Today was the funeral. It was a good time to really process the fact that she is gone. The hardest thing for me was to see my Grandpa cry. They were married for 67 years. The pastor read a poem that Grandpa wrote to Grandma before they were married. He called her his "sweet girl" and said that he could not get along without her. When we all stood to go he was having a hard time walking (partly due to his health, missing a dr. appointment, and low blood sugar) so he sat down in a pew and just cried. I will never forget that. He was also still telling jokes on Monday at the hospital. A couple months ago I saw him standing behind Grandma and stroking her white hair in silly, fun, but loving affection.
The last thing Grandma said to me- in a hoarse voice and short breaths- I love you very very much. She actually said it over and over. Her mind was sharp, she wanted me to remember. She was thinking about other people even as she was dying. Praise God for His spirit in her.
What a comfort to know that our God is all powerful. He is good and His ways are good. So much higher than our ways. Wow! Grandma had SO much love for SO many people- that could only come from God. Praise Him for showing His love through her!
In case you care to read about a past chapter of my life you can look at marainmexico.blogspot.com
So, I live in Raleigh now and I am (by God's grace) surprisingly content. :)