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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

five years later...


thoughts of him come often...

None of us had any idea how October of 2009, when he learned he had cancer, would be the start of so much change.  

But that's how it goes isn't it?  Each day can be the start of a grand change.  


He was never too fond of pictures but I forced him into them and don't regret it one bit.  

This was taken the weekend he shared the news.  He told me like it was nothing to be frightened of or surprised by.  He did not find himself to be so special as to escape cancer.  This is one of my most memorable moments from that season of life.  Yes, he and my mom had their rough days with treatment after treatment, but there was no bitterness at being given this lot.


December came.  

I had just finished up finals and made it home for his last appointment which would determine if he was all clear.  They told him he looked better than they could have expected.  He was able to ring the victory bell for patients who survived cancer.  


It was quite bittersweet to watch as a he walked through the office for the last time.  My parents and the staff had become like good friends what with all of the regular visits.  There was much joy for the healing but sadness that the visits were coming to an end.

A bit weathered from the storm as you can see but he had made it out.

Then on this very day five years ago the unexpected happened.  He collapsed and never came back to us.


We were filled with so many questions and so much struggle as we tried to understand why.  Why would he be healed and then taken away?  What could we have done to prevent this?  What were we going to do now? Lord, what is your purpose in all of this?

We have fought hard against those 'what if' questions knowing that they bring no satisfaction.

After the initial shock of things had passed I can remember desperately praying not to fall into depression.  I didn't want to be bitter and waste away my life.  Somehow I came upon Romans 5:1-5.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us

This passage carried me through so much hurt.  

I didn't want to just be void of depression though.  I wanted to be filled with joy.

James 1:2-4 kept playing over and over in my mind.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

In the days soon after his death friends would come over to visit.  Joy filled the house.  Come to find out later, they were concerned that the reality hadn't really set in.  Though there were many dark days to follow, looking back now I can say without a doubt that joy came from the Lord.  There is no other explanation.

While I do wish to have been given more time with him I know that my Lord brings about all things for my good (Romans 8:28).  That is a sure-fire promise.

I can honestly say that this has already proven true. 

Since that season these passages ring in my ears during difficult seasons.

Each year is different.  Each year brings on new thoughts of him and more memories.  


He seemed to understand and misunderstand me unlike any other person.  

When I was little we could often be found sleeping, me snuggled between him and couch, as he tried to catch up on sleep in between shifts.

I would follow him around like his shadow as he tinkered with this or that in the garage.

We would spend all morning in the kitchen on holidays cooking.  Well...he cooked and I got to observe his ways and wash the dishes so they would be ready to use in mixing up another dish.  Being raised in a Czech household, you go big or you go home when it comes to cooking.

We would often begin to giggle and jest about his pre-snore that start before he even fell asleep to which he would become alert and exclaim that he was wasn't snoring.

He was a man of few words.  He didn't say much when it came to advice but that just made you pay attention all the more.

Thoughts of him come often especially as of late.  Not so much sad but simply reminders of him.  


It is hard to believe that it has been five years.  Typing these words here brings everything on so fresh like it's 2009 again.  

Yes, there are many times when I wish...

I wish I could ask his advice on a million random things.
I wish I had learned more recipes from him.  
I wish I had forced him to teach me how he refinished furniture.
I wish he was still here to share in the future.

No, he wasn't perfect but he was my father, my family.  I am learning more each year how irreplaceable family is.


So I bring my memories here, to this space.

Memories have a way of sticking with you that make five years later seem like five minutes later.

They keep people near even when they are gone.


For that I am grateful.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

a soft landing when the letdown of the world comes

Track with me for a moment, imagine your boss giving credit to your co-worker about a project but not recognizing your contribution.  Or that girlfriend of yours who forgot that today was really important for you.  Or a friend who makes an off the cuff remark that cut you deeply.  And on and on the list of being let down continues.

When we are hurt, it usually stems from the actions of another.

Relationships all have a common denominator, they all include fallen people.  Each of us is fighting our own battle, working to survive.  We are all dealing with our own struggles with sin. 

Just recently the Lord gave me words to share with a friend, “We, as humans, will always let each other down.  It is unavoidable.  God is the only one who cannot fail us.”  I should have known then that the Lord would make sure those words sank in deep.  Since those words came out God has been driving them home in just about every part of my life. 

I wasn’t actively putting anyone on a pedestal for them to fall from but he has continued to show it in little actions.  He puts the same tagline at the end of each let down, “I have yet to fail you and never will.”  I haven’t had a terrible life filled with unfortunate events; a classification in which God tends to get the shaft for not preventing what we perceive as bad things from happening.  I also wouldn’t say I’ve had an easy life, I don’t believe anyone does. 

No matter what sort of life you have and continue to have God is the only constant that will never, ever fail.  His devotion to us is unwavering.

Each time that I have experienced the let down since saying those words the moment I turn to God he has brought peace over me just in the fact that he always hears me. 

When no one else is available, he is. 
When you have no one to talk to, he listens.  
When no one else understands, he does. 

He is present with you at all times.  He delights in you reaching out to him.  He does not desire to simply be there for you in the pain but also in the good. 

Being constant means he is already there, it is your choice to partake in his presence.

Note I did not say he took the pain away.  God’s constant love can come and the struggle still remain.  His comfort does not remove the work that needs to be done in relationships.

Perhaps you are like me and begin to panic about all of the people you might have hurt.  Be careful not to jump on that train.  Our sin can have a tendency to blind us from seeing how we hurt others be it intentional or not.

By remaining in his presence we can better avoid letting others down and even make the pain of receiving letdown a little softer.

Maybe you need to lean in to his steadfastness to survive the letdown, or maybe you need to lean in to his steadfastness to avoid letting others down.

Read that again.  Do you realize that remaining in his presence kills two birds with one stone?  We have a complex God but it seems like his way of multi-tasking makes our task simple.


Reap his promises for you by leaning into his presence.  Enjoy him.  He enjoys you.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

halloween memories


As a person with some rather horrible memory, (No really, I have memories of the memories that my family remembers, not of the actual event.  Tragic, I know.) I don’t recall a lot of specifics from the many years of trick or treating but I do remember the feeling from it. 

I loved Halloween.  It was never scary, nor was it ever a bad holiday to celebrate in our home.  It was simply the best time to stock up on candy!

My two older brothers and I were intense when it came to collecting candy.  Of course we were raised to be polite and receive what we were given without asking for more, but we took full advantage of our rather large neighborhood.

We would take our pales and go door to door in one section of the neighborhood until they were full and then return home to dump them in our candy storage, a good ole’ worn out pillowcase. 

I can remember one year we hit one part of the neighborhood that didn’t see much action.  They were so happy to see kids that I can remember getting a whole 10-count package of reese’s peanut butter cups.  Amazing!

While the three of us were raiding the neighborhood my mom was at home dressed up as a witch.  She would crack the windows open and turn on a Halloween CD (yes, a CD) with creepy sounds like doors creaking open with screams and cackles in the distance…

Our front door had stairs that led up to it and there was a rail around the platform.  Sometimes she would scare the smaller children so much that they would have backed off the platform had it not been for the rails.  At this point she would calm down a bit on her level of excitement.
  

I stumbled upon this photo a few months back when I was going through photo books and couldn't resist snagging a picture of it. 

Things to note:

1) VHS tapes piled high in the background
2) See those guns up?  My brothers made me stronger
3) Check out my brothers faded jeans.  I'm pretty sure those are back in style now.
4) I loved the pink power ranger so much I wore the costume two years in a row.

With my brothers being 6 and 4 years older than me they grew out of trick or treating way before my time was up.  However, they were my escorts and they did not back down from the costumes.  My last year of trick or treating one wore a scream mask with a black cloak and the other went big and painted his face to look like death warmed over.  Many of the homes we stopped at knew they were well over age but were impressed by their effort and rewarded them for their costumes and escort service to myself.


To do this day I still love Halloween and all of the fun it entailed.  If I could, I would still trick or treat…no doubt.

(For the month of October I am linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the twenty-first post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

we interrupt this program for an important update...

(cue news sound bite) We interrupt your normal programming for this important message…

MIA

Slacker

Lazy

Absent

There are many ways one could think of to describe my lack of posting during a 31 day challenge…to write.

What really happened is life, the very thing I desire to write about.  I came down with a cold and my schedule was still keepin me busy.  Writing became a weight rather than a joy.  The obligation to write something just to keep up with each day took my heart out of the equation, so I stopped.  I apologize for not explaining myself sooner.  There was a measure of guilt there…and exhaustion prohibiting me from explaining why.

Anyways, I will be finishing out with 31 posts but will not finish by October.  But that’s ok. 

Yesterday I read this post from the woman who is hosting this little writing challenge and I knew after reading it that I needed to let go of my desire to stick to the rules.


So stay tuned.  I will be posting about some Halloween memories later today.

Monday, October 20, 2014

the trouble with control


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the twentieth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

Today a quote stayed fresh on my mind.  God has been moving and working within my life much over the past few months.  I am thankful to be aware of it and seeking his direction rather than trying to map out my next moves.

However, over the past couple of weeks the urge to slip into old habits of doing this or saying that to manipulate my future has been more prevalent than I like.

source

So I read this and am immediately humbled.  I will not progress under my own direction but only hold myself back.  This has been a test of faith in him to step back and allow him to determine my steps but I am tired of interfering and ending up two steps back.  May he have free reign to play out the course he has chosen for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

a look into my Sabbath



(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the nineteenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

So today I am actually finishing up helping with a Disciple Now for 8th grade girls but normally my Sabbath routine follows the pattern below.

Earlier this year I was blessed to attend a retreat which emphasized the importance of taking time to rest.  Like, literally scheduling in an appointment you cannot miss.  Obviously things come up but I try to never miss 'Sabbath time' two weeks in a row or I will find a few hours one evening to recoup.

Growing up I was taught the concept of taking a day of rest but along the way it got lost and filled with other things.  The retreat was a beautiful wake up call in the midst of my overly scheduled life.  I am blessed to be a part of an active community but I had lost the ability to say no to activity.

I happen to have my Sabbath on Sunday but that's only because it happens to be the best day for me.  Its not a full day as I have church to attend but I usually get in a good 7-8 hours.  In learning the importance of rest I also learned that if you can't find a whole day to devote to your Sabbath don't give up.  Take what you have for this season of your life.  The importance is in the soul-rest it provides.

Note that I said soul-rest.  A Sabbath does not have to be all nap times and lazying around the house.  You can be active or do chores just as long as it is something that brings your soul rest and is life filling.

So much of our lives are spent giving out life that we need to take time to be filled as well.

So I will stop my ramblings and give you some examples of how I enjoy spending my Sabbath.

Oftentimes I will go to my favorite urban coffee shop and sit with my coffee, journal and a book.  My favorite part is the people watching.  The coffee shop has two floors but you can still through to the second floor.  So I park my self in one of my two favorite spots by a window and watch as people fellowship or walk the streets outside.


This time of being still has often led to a renewed love for people and a desire to show them love.

Other times though I find I am more productive staying home in my pj's while I drink from a favorite coffee mug.

No matter what location I end up at some of the ways I employ my time are:

finding a high place in the city to watch the sunrise
reading books
creating things with my hands (sew, knit, craft decorate)
writing out passages in the Bible
reading the months latest Hope*ologie
catching up on some blogs
hang in retas the hammock
laugh and giggle with roommates
journal
clean any and all surfaces
go for a walk


Those are some of the things that I do most frequently.  Some days it is helpful for me to have a to do list and others it can be discouraging to my rest.  Try to get all of your 'need to's' out of the way beforehand so that you can avoid the discouragement of them filling up your time to rest.

I find that when I do not rest I can tell the difference which means it no doubt affects those close to me.  While the concept of taking a day of rest seems old-fashioned there is a sweet thoughtfulness to it.  God himself took a day of rest to enjoy the life he created.  That is what he is calling us to do, to enjoy that which he created in us and around us. We are to remember the beauty and purpose of life Life can begin to feel like a weight that bogs us down by responsibilities.

I keep my focus on the direction God desires for the time to take.  Some days are hard and entail dealing with sin that has taken root keeping me from rest and others are light and filled with all matters of fun.

No matter what kind of day it is I remember that this day/time is about soul-rest.  It is to be filled it with what brings you life. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

fall, I will find you


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the eighteenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

So there is this season called Fall.  It happens to be my favorite.  It also happens to be the shortest season in my part of Texas.

We maintain toasty days and then if we are lucky we will have about a month of consistent Fall weather and then Winter slams down.

The trees actually struggle.  The temperatures are so bi-polar that they confuse the trees.  Because the temperatures are not consistent the trees don’t change until December and it’s like the fall color is gone in a week.

I used to experience this wonderful season back in college and loved it.  The roads I took driving home from college were lined with trees and it was my favorite time to visit home.  They were gorgeous. 

This is the only picture I have from last year’s Fall.
  

This picture just beckons me to do one of my favorite things, go for a walk and listen to the rustle of the trees, crunch my feet on the fallen leaves and feel the cool breeze flow over my skin.

Suddenly, the song Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas is on repeat in my head...

This year I am determined to find the Fall amidst the city and document it.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

current music go to's


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the seventeenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

Over the past year I have begun to be more observant in how music affects me.  I grew up with a range of genres and actually enjoy pretty much anything I hear, except for scream music.  That I can’t seem to get on board with…

I love to crank up fun, upbeat music especially when driving with the windows down but what I’m talking about today is music that I will listen to anytime.

I love music tend to lean towards music that is more introspective.  The kind that I can play in the background while cleaning or just chillin at the house.

So in no particular order…

Sara Bareilles


I feel like she never fails to bring what I want to hear each time she puts out an album.  She has a nice combo of upbeat and ballad songs with an indie/pop vibe.  She does not shy away from exuding her strength in her music and lyrics. 

Jimmy Needham


He puts out a range of styles in his albums.  I enjoy the variety of pop, indie and R&B.  He writes lyrics that draw you to dig a bit deeper into yourself.  Through it all though he maintains a soul-full style that seems to bring it all together. 

Audrey Assad


Her music is deeply introspective.  When I need to reign in my focus I seek out her music.  Some of her musical influences are Paul Simon, Carpenters and Feist and Jack White.  It seems that each album goes a bit deeper into thought and fresher musically.

These next two have been the most constant on my playlist recently.  They both came out of nowhere to me but I’m so glad I stumbled upon them.

Steffany Gretzinger


She comes from the Bethel Music family and is featured on recent albums.  Bethel tends to be more worshipful in its albums so I was really surprised when her album was more storytelling and introspective.  She speaks directly to the struggle and joy of the process of life with a tender musicality.


Johnnyswim
  


I came across this duo while reading a guest post on Pioneer Woman’s blog last summer and have not stopped listening to them since.  This was around the time that The Civil Wars were splitting so I was grateful to learn about them.  At the time they only had an EP with five songs but thankfully they are gaining some speed and put out a new album this summer and have a Christmas album coming out this year. 

There are speculative stories about how they came about their band name but nothing directly from them to confirm it.  They are a married duo with a folky, soulful, blues and pop style.  They are at the top of my list to see live but so far have been unable to go when they come to Texas due to prior commitments.  One of these days though…  


After pulling together this list I am realizing the trend of Indie style musicians so if that’s not what you’re into sorry for wasting your time. J

However, if you enjoy one of these artists then you will most likely enjoy the others so check em out!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

retas the hammock


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the sixteenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

Meet Retas.  Pronounced rey-tahs


So earlier this year (I feel like that’s the fifth time I started a story with ‘earlier this year’.  It seems like a lot happen in the Spring.) I took the leap and purchased a hammock.

If you are like me the first thing you picture is a rope hammock like the one below:
 

However my friends introduced me to the parachute hammock.
  

Although my picture above gives you the impression that it should be used to protect your landing that is not the case.  The only thing parachutey about it is the material.

This material will change your life.  Your body can be completely sweaty from setting it up and then 10 minutes in the hammock and you are sweat free.  It’s amazing.  Most breathable fabric ever.  Too bad it is not a common fabric for clothing…

Anyways…

You may be wondering how Retas came by her name.  I knew she needed a name but I am horrible at coming up with names.  For example my car is nameless.  I just never felt a name for it.  Perhaps it’s because my own name is not a nick nameable name.  So it seems like nick names are intimidating to me.  Ok, enough of that rabbit trail.

I asked one of my roommates to assist me with naming her and she told me her families clever way of coming up with unique names.

First, you pick five letters of the alphabet.  So I named off my five favorite letters.  A, E, R, S, T.

Do you have favorite letters?  If I play hangman these are always among my first guesses.

Second, you must begin coming up with combos until you find your happy match.  I can’t even remember what some of them were anymore but Retas suited her best.

It had been much too long since we went hanging so today after work I listened to my impulse to stop by the park on the way home for some good reflection and journaling time.


I'm pretty sure I received some weird looks putting it up in work clothes but who cares.

It was needed and worth it.

where my thoughts lead


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the fifteenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

Sorry this post came a day late.  I fell asleep at the early hour of 8:30 pm.  Apparently my body needed it.


Yesterday I grabbed the book Rest of God by Marc Buchanan and opened it up to a random chapter.  It just happened to be the perfect chapter to read at the perfect time.

You know how oftentimes we will just grab the Bible and open it up to a book because we need a pick me up and yet never really study the context or read the parts that aren't so thrilling?  This was kinda one of those moments (not that I recommend that kind of reading style).

I am not one to read chapters out of order, this time however it was as it should be.

This book offers guidance in learning how to rest and the importance of it.  In the chapter Buchanan singles out a verse in Proverbs.  I was delighted by this as I have started writing out Proverbs.  I love how God will keep bringing things up in life to emphasize its importance.

Anyways the verse is
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways
but the folly of fools is deception.
~Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)

I read over it a couple of times so that it would sink in.  For the past several days I have been in a test from God.  Yes, I believe that God sends tests our way to see if we are faithful and I was aware that I was in one.

I knew that this verse was his gentle urging to remain faithful to my focus on him.  For the past few months I have been seeking to break old habits and replace them with new ones specifically in relation to my thoughts.

I love how the New International Version speaks directly to thoughts.  I soon began looking at other translations
The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his ways,
but the foolishness of fools is deceit.
~Proverbs 14:8 (NASB)
Bringing these two translations together I began to understand the verse.

Those who are sensible think on the direction of their thoughts.  Those who are foolish lie to themselves about where their thoughts lead them.

Satan attacks us in our thoughts before they ever become an action or are vocalized; and our thoughts become our actions and words.  Thoughts determine the direction we take on our path.

I let this sink in heavy.  My thoughts were currently under attack but this verse reminded me that my thoughts do not control me.  With God's strength and wisdom I can change the directions of my thoughts.

This has quickly become a verse that remains on my mind.

Instead of wasting my time planning and worrying about choices out of my control I can release it up to God.
Instead of being concerned about how others view me and I can speak life into how they view themselves.
Instead of trying to keep up with the Jones' I can find contentment with what I have.

I do not say all of this to recommend thoughtlessness.  That seems just as bad as deceiving yourself.

I do believe though that I occupy myself with meaningless and unproductive thoughts.  And so I choose to guide my thoughts to those that lead me down the path of joy, righteousness, faith, understanding, discernment and so much more...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

two old men and a little laughter


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the fourteenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

One of my roommates is a nurse and currently in Grad school.  Once of her teachers loves to show videos to supplement discussion in class.  A little while back she shared this gem below.  I get tickled every time I watch it.

Enjoy.


(In case the direct link above doesn't work click here.)

I'm not gonna lie, they make the prospect of aging enjoyable because they just live out who they are.

These two have become a part of our everyday life.  Upon entering a room you will often hear, "Hear we are!"

They. are. precious.



Monday, October 13, 2014

getting there – moment by moment


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the thirteenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

Today I am terribly aware of what a work in progress I am.  It’s not a depressing awareness but a healthy reminder that I have not yet ‘arrived’.

I have no expectation that I will arrive before this side of Heaven.  We will not arrive until we are face to face with God in Heaven.

This past week has been a gentle reminder that we are on our way.

We are image-bearers of God.  Our very definition of self is God-like.  This floors me every time I read it. 

I think growing up in the Christianese the term image-bearer tends to pass right over me but this has sat with me since I heard it recently.

God desires so to share himself and his glory with us that he would place his very name in who we are. 

God-like.

Breathe in and out. Rest in that for a moment.

Having trusted Christ as my Savior I have the Holy Spirit dwelling within me.  And so I move forward with my end goal being to bring glory to the one who has saved me from myself.

This brings me to where we started, a work in progress.  Sometimes this thought can be so debilitating making me want to immediately stop trying.  Satan would love nothing better.

And so the song Getting There by Steffany Gretzinger has been playing on repeat today. 

Further seems forever
Until you've seen, until you get there
Until you feel that promised land beneath your feet
There's a reason for the journey
There is purpose in the learning 
Not everything in life comes naturally
No, not everything in life comes easily

But we're getting there
We're determined to discover
All that You have hidden for us
Along the way
And we're getting there
Your presence is the promise
There is nothing that could stop us
We're on our way

We've tasted of Your goodness
We know that You are for us
We could hear the sound of heaven cheer us on
Every day begins with mercy
Every moment filled with beauty
Knowing You have gone before us with the sun
Knowing You believe in us with confidence we've won

And we're getting there
We're determined to discover
All that You have hidden for us
Along the way
And we're getting there
Your presence is the promise
There is nothing that could stop us
We're on our way

And we will see You in 
The land of the living
We will find You in
The mystery
Your presence is 
The joy set before us
For now and all eternity

We're getting there
We're determined to discover
All that You have hidden for us
Along the way
And we're getting there
Your presence is the promise
There is nothing that could stop us
We're on our way


The truth within this song has washed over me and been such an encouragement. 

Being in this imperfect world I will struggle but I am to continue moving toward God.  That is where hope is and fears are suddenly a distant memory.  I often want to jump ahead but he steadily reveals himself more and more as I am ready to receive it. 

So I am not discouraged by the ‘getting there’ and the ‘not yet’ because he is a force that cannot be stopped and that force lies within me.


an act of kindness


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the twelfth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

So I went to my favorite little coffee shop for Sabbath time and had not been inside more than two minutes before a young man came in asking the cashier for a pen and paper.  He mentioned that a car in the parking lot had been hit and the person had driven off.

I was still operating without any coffee in my body so it did not dawn on me to ask if it was mine until after he walked back out the door.  I peered out the window but could not see anything abnormal and so knowing that there was nothing I could do I decided to go find my favorite table.

I enjoyed some much needed catching up on journaling and several minutes of gazing out the window at people and cars passing by.  It is in taking time to just sit back that my soul finds rest.



Shortly thereafter I packed up my things and walked out to my car.  Something within me knew that I would have a note on my car.  Perhaps it was the fact that a flatbed work truck had been parked next to me.  Sure enough there it was under the windshield wiper.

It read, “I was drinking coffee and saw a truck hit your car and drive off.  The license plate number is ____. My number is ______ if you have any questions. –Josh”

I was so struck by his kindness and thoughtfulness to grab the license plate number.  His act of kindness made my day and made the damage to my bumper a little less disappointing.

His thoughtful use of five minutes of his day ended up making my day and leaving me with conviction to be kind to others.

Do something for others without expecting anything more than how it will bless them.

I am reminded of a well-known verse that has been on my mind often lately. 


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.               ~Gal. 5:22-23




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thugbert - a short story


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the eleventh post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away where the streets were mean and the struggle was real there was a gnome who was chosen to guard the precious and lovely treasures who were without protection from the mean streets that were filled darkness and danger.

He came upon a British unicorn named Winston (not pictured, obviously) like a thief in the night but he had no intention of stealing anything but there hearts.  His name is Thugbert.


Being well associated with the streets as proven by his rap sheet and street cred amongst the gnomes of the hood, he will not be crossed.  Coming in knowing you only die out, he has fought the good fight and gained the respect of the OG's of his crew to leave that lyfe.

And you wanna know why he's left that lyfe? He got tired of the brutal violence of the streets and chose to live for something better.  He saw those lovely treasures and knew that they were more valuable than the riches of the hood.

After a short while there came Cheeky Chester who uses his shovel is for more than digging.


He was an outsider having been pushed to the side all his lyfe.  Thugbert, being changed from his former ways, welcomed him because he saw that Cheeky Chester valued the treasures just as much as him.

Recruits are welcome.

~written by The Treasures



willing to be broken


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the tenth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.

Ann Voskamp has such a talent for bringing me to tears.  Her words flow to the rhythm of the heart.  You know when you can tell that people are writing not from what they have heard but what they have experienced?  Her writing reflects her blog title.  She shares her Holy Experiences.  Even if you are not an avid blog reader or a reader at all I would still encourage you to read this blog.  It never fails to challenge and encourage me.

As I was reading her post regarding storms here my soul understood that some storms come upon us out of no where and some come as a result of our choices.

Yes, I realize that I just stated the obvious.

It does not take a genius to figure this out.  But there is something important about realizing this for yourself rather than being told.  About applying the truth to your life in the storm.  As a person who learns from experience, head knowledge gets me no where.

Over this past summer during a Bible study a discussion came up regarding brokenness and how to avoid it.  How to help keep each other from having to go through the storm...

I can totally understand this thought process.  It is logical to try to prevent sin.  However, as this question was being asked I couldn't help thinking, "but I want brokenness.  I want the struggle.  In the struggle I have grown."

You always know that is the Lord speaking when you say you want to experience pain.  We are going to experience pain.  Your soul is at war.  The flesh and the holy in constant battle.

War does not accomplish its work without pain, without loss.

During small group discussion I walked into a group pondering brokenness.  We know that brokenness does us good but does that mean we should ask for it?

It was pointed out that we could not recall anyone having prayed for brokenness but everyone experiences it.  Instead we see that they have a spirit of willingness to experience whatever comes their way.

Our view of brokenness can be so negative.  It does not have to be a long drawn out life lesson.

Brokenness is simply the act of refinement
Brokenness is recognizing conviction of sin
Brokenness can lead to freedom

The struggle is worth the pain leading to freedom...


Thursday, October 9, 2014

transitioning out of the comfort zone


(For the month of October I will be linking up with The Nester (link to her website here) to write every day. I hope you join me. This is the ninth post in a series of 31 days of Life & Learning.  If you want to check out other topics people will be writing on everyday in October you can visit the site here.


Below is the draft of a post I typed up earlier this year but never finished.  I have left it raw and unedited.
You know that moment in life where you simply want to curl into the fetal position and be held so tight it hurts?  Most everyone has experienced this moment.
I tend to feel it when it seems like my life is slowly (or quickly) crumbly and turning into something I no longer recognize...the assurance of the familiar is disappearing.
I feel as if the Lord is removing from my life many of things that I have come to rely on.
No real tragedy has occurred in my life.
It is happening in small areas where I have placed too much priority and dependence.  Due to the fact that I have held onto them so long he is having to rip them away.  It is by my choices that the pain is coming in what seems like a most excruciating manner.
Those comfort zones no longer offer the comfort they once did.  He is removing the assurance they once offered me and leaving me unsatisfied with their results.
They aren't enough.
I have come to realize that if my depth with God is going to grow then these things will no longer satisfy no matter how much I try and force it.  I will continue to come up empty.  It is no ones fault but my own.
It is what I have asked for.  I wanted a deeper, communicative relationship with him.
I have asked for these things.  He immediately tried to fulfill my request but I did not take him up on the offer I requested.  Our God is quite persistent though and determined to give it even if he has to try several different ways to reach us.  By my lack of response to his offer I chose this path.
This pain of feeling tiny, unwanted and insulted because relationships have changed.  They had to if I was going to communicate more with God.
He has a way of leaving me speechless.  I can't seem to describe how much I appreciate
Here I was feeling so frustrated with the emptiness I was experiencing and although I didn't blame him directly with words, my heart was saying it.  I was so off-track of his path that I was angry to receive the very thing I asked for.
Do you ever have those moments?

While I am in a different type of transition than mentioned above it is a transition into the unfamiliar.

The Lord is transitioning me into something new.  His purpose is never for evil but always for good.  He is freeing me from some things to be available for the new.  As much as we want to be able to do everything we cannot.

We must say no to good things so that we can say yes to great things.

So I hold on tight to the only sure and familiar thing I have, Jesus.