Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And This is Love...

So much took place this weekend, but I just want to take this time to share three wonderful examples of love...

First, there is Amos and Jess
This couple has two small children, just took on the extra hassel of having a sister (me) move in, and are involved in everything under the sun, from choir practice to football practice. There isn't much time for them, as a couple. But they make it. They make time for each other. To appreciate each other. To love each other. To just be a couple in love. Yes, it takes work and time and effort. But it is worth it to them. The love they have for each other is important. Does it take away from their love as a family, for their children? Definitely not, for it only strengthens it. And this is love...

Next there is Clay and Becky
Now I have really only spent time with Clay and Becky and their family together once, but have had several ladies nights with Becky and Jess. And yet, I learn more and more about Clay in the process. Why? Because Becky loves Clay and shares stories of what he does for her or their family. She loves to lift him up. She admires him, respects him, appreciates him, and they are a couple that works as one to raise a wonderful family. And this is love...

Then there is Chris and Sarah
These two have loved each ever since high school. They have faced certain challenges together but have found comfort and strength in one another. They lean on each other. They encourage one another. And they know how to have fun together!!! It amazes me how they each think of the other...always. And now they are sharing that love with a beautiful little boy from Ethiopia. And we all got to gather together and celebrate that love. And this is love...

If there is anything anyone can teach you, show you...let it be love...
Have you shown love today?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Will You Starve...?

I just had a tremendous weekend of awakening. I was blessed to celebrate the wedding of the Sanders' as they had a reception here in Indiana though they live in Utah. Saturday, of course, was the Apple Festival in Nappanee followed by some great time with my niece and nephew. I even get a call from a great friend letting me know how she thought she just saw me and that she was thinking of me. Seriously, it was a weekend that filled me with happiness. But the world is not as blessed as I am, as we are.

This morning, I saw the words, "Will you starve That They Be Better Fed?"

It is International Day of Prayer for Peace and I can't help but examine my life, the opportunities I have... to eat whatever I want whenever I want, to be lazy and watch football, to spend quality time with friends...to... I wonder how many times my wants and desires have taken away from others...how many times I got something and ended up hurting someone else in the process just because I wanted "it"...how many times I put myself above others.

Isn't that all at the heart of fighting with others, hating others, hurting others. Doesn't that lead to the destruction of others? Have I built others up? Have I showed others love?

We prayed for peace today.

I listened to a gentleman share his story of being a conscientious objector during the time of war. He chose to use his service to better a life. He was actually a part of the Great Starvation Experiement which was a controlled dietary experiment in which he was fed 1000 calories and expended 3200 calories a day. All to help understand the best way to rehabiliate those in other countries who are starving. You know he got my attention, as he willingly gave up food.

He wanted to build up others...

We prayed for peace today, and I prayed for an open heart to remember the effects of my actions, the love God fills me with to share with all, the peace that comes from life lived as He has commanded.

What is your prayer?
Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pressure...Do You Feel It?

Okay, so just yesterday, I get the second email from my amazing friend Carrie mentioning that she should start a blog...and we all agree (Jess, Jackie, and I).

So here it is! I know she reads this! and so it is time for a little blog pressure ;)!

I am going to be doing a series of blogs until she caves and sends us her new blog address!

The series of course is about Carrie and why she should start a blog. I ask that you dedicated readers and blog stalkers leave comments of encouragement for her.

Let me first, introduce you to Carrie

Carrie has been such a great friend throughout the 11 years we have known each other! We first met this fabulous person when registering for classes at Manchester College! Yes, college seems to create the strongest friendships. Who would have thought our lives would have changed with such a simple introduction?! It was a great welcome to Manchester and we were inseparable from then on! Doesn't she already sound like someone who should start a blog?

Stay tuned to learn more about our crazy adventures together...

Monday, September 15, 2008

There Just Isn't Enough Time!

As soon as I made the step to enter the international mission field long term, Jess and I decided that we would definitely take atleast one weekend and spend some great time together just appreciating the time we have together and the fact that we are SISTERS!

Everyone who knows us knows how close we are. They know how much we love each other. And it is just amazing the friendship we have! Just before we took off for this weekend together, I had to laugh. Because I am now living with her and her family. Yes, I see her everyday, and yet, we are leaving for the weekend to spend more time with each other! WHY?


show her how much I LOVE HER..

THANK HER for encouragement and support
tell her just how INCREDIBLE A SISTER she is
show my APPRECIATION for her
treat her even a portion of the KINDNESS and
COMPASSION she has shown me and others
and the list goes on...

We had a plan! We were heading to Indy to stay at a hotel, shop, eat at a new mexican restaurant, go to opera in the park, and then eat at a cajun restaurant. But our plans changed...only for the best!

We shopped!

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, with our brother Scott, at PF Changs!

Followed by Starbucks!

We explored Greenfield!

And hoped that Jess wouldn't blow away!

We ate nachos while watching football!

I had such a great time with my wonderful brother, and my fabulous sister! I thank Scott for the time we had together, for allowing us to stay with you, and for being our brother! I thank Jess for always making time for me, for making me laugh, and for being my sister! It was difficult to leave. There Just Isn't Enough Time, but the time we had was INVALUABLE!

P.S. Check out the fun headlamp purchase for the trip. Do I get the mark of approval Matt and Jamie?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What Do You Get...

when you ask for help?

12 amazing friends surrounding you...

Incredible food provided by a family who are all great friends of mine...

How can you doubt the presence of God at work?!?

It was moving time yesterday evening, and I already was feeling overwhelmed as I had no idea how emotionally draining and physically tiring it all would be. I asked some friends for some help with moving some of the bigger boxes and furniture. And they all said "yes!". Becky and Clay even provided dinner for all of us! And it was delicious! It definitely beat the pizza I was going to order and it was such a huge burden taken off of my shoulders. By the way, Becky, we are all eager to get the recipe for the roast and fruit salad...oh and the cookies!

Kevin brought a trailer, which was such a help, and we were able to just make one trip. The guys mostly loaded the heavy items, as the rest of us ladies cleaned out the house and carried some lighter boxes all while watching the kids. It was amazing how fast it went and I couldn't believe all the support I had. Everything that needed to be stored fit nicely in my closet sized rental unit while Jess and Amos are able to use some of the furniture pieces. As I pulled down the door to the unit and locked it up, I felt the finality of it all. This is actually happening. And you know what? Everyone was there, understanding how emotional it was, and they just surrounded me.

I know I couldn't have done it alone, and I didn't have to! God provided the help. And He provided the love. I can do nothing but praise God for all of it!

Thank you Amos, Jess, Matt, Alicia, Kevin, Chris, Sarah, John, Jessica, Jamie, Victoria, and Jamie, Clay, and Becky for all your help and support last night! Your love was seen and so very appreciated!!!
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lifting UP

Okay, it is Monday, and I can't believe the weekend is over already. There is just so much to do and so little time, and it is a struggle as I don't want to miss out on great time with friends either. So it is quite the balancing act.

First, I am thankful for one last roomie hoorah Friday night. Dina and I spent our last night together as roomies around a pot of rice crispy treats and just enjoyed every minute of it. It was a great send off, and another great memory I will cherish. I am so grateful for her friendship!!! I am also thankful for some great scrapping time with Jessica, Alicia, and Jess on Saturday. It is just some good time to be creative and relax and eat of course. So thank you ladies for these times together. I am looking forward to our next one! Then I was able to meet up with Jamie and Sarah. Sarah and I cheered on Jamie as she coached and then we all met up to eat at Cerulean's for some delicious sushi! I will definitely be back, as soon as I save up some money for it. Thank you ladies for such a wonderful evening. And to top it off, you know I have to mention the incredible football game where the Bears were victorious over the Colts...

Go Bears!

Now you might wonder, what else is going on? Well, I am packing and preparing for missions too. There comes a point in the packing process where you just want to burn it all and be done with it. You wonder why you collected so much and what the purpose of all the "stuff" is. I am hoping that there are more garbage bags to toss than boxes to move. It definitely isn't easy. But what is easy, is the ability to get so overwhelmed with everything. And here is where my title comes in...

I need to lift up two ladies in my life who have lifted me up over the past few days. First, there is Sarah. Sarah has been an extraordinary friend. She has helped me relax by inviting me to some fun activities, she has supported me as I step into the mission field, she is going to help me move though she lives kind of far from me, and she has been creative to help me work out logistics in moving. It has helped tremendously and I just have to say Thank You. And of course there is my sister, who just listens to me and lets me cry when I just need to let it all out...when I just need rest. And I couldn't be more appreciative!

There is a lot more to do, but God is providing the strength and perserverence with a little fun mixed in and I give Him praise!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sounds of the Evening...

What does an elephant say?

I think Matt answered it quite nicely!
(forgive the "trial version", as it is the only software I have to edit videos)

This was a great initiation for Matt into the role of dad. He always made this sound for Grace, albeit, we always had her go and ask him this question as it always made us laugh. If I would of thought of it, Alicia could have been initiated into her role as mom by trying to explain to Grace what a wrap is. It took the entire trip to Buffalo Wild Wings to try to do that, and I ended up just telling her it was a sandwich!

But in reality, no initiation is needed for these two as they already are filled with the love of parents. Jess, Victoria, and Jessica did a wonderful job organizing a celebration for these wonderful friends of ours. Friends from all over northern Indiana came together to celebrate this growing family. And what baby shower is complete without dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings first? Yes, we decided to skip the fancy foods and punch and just enjoy some nice wings, or wraps, or chips, or whatever we were in the mood for. It was delicious.

Of course we did have some fabulous games and cake at Jamie and Victoria's who provided us a great location to share our excitement. You know it is a great evening when it is filled with laughter, and the occasional sound of an elephant!

I send a huge congrats to Matt and Alicia!
I know the journey has not been easy
As we celebrated I couldn't help but recall the following scripture verse...

~Micah 7:7
But as for me, I watch in HOPE for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me