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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

To Know Him More Fully!

Psalm 42:1-2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

"When we look to God, we trust. When we look to things, and circumstances, and surroundings, we grow anxious." ~~J. McConkey

"[Salvation] is where we begin [to know and pursue God], but where we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awful and mysterious depths of the Triune God neither limit nor end." ~~A.W. Tozer

"The deepest fact about us is our desperate need of God." ~~Unknown

I would like to share with you something that I wrote in my prayer journal a few weeks ago. As I looked back over the things I'd written, these quotes came back to me as going hand in hand with it. I hope it is a blessing to you!

Prayer Journal, entry for ~July 30, 2017
Lately God has been teaching me an invaluable lesson. It is one that many others have learned, and even written about, before me. It's a lesson that, sadly, we can't seem to learn second hand. We must each find our way through it on our own. It is the path of realizing that there IS no complete and total fulfillment outside of knowing God. I will never find the fullness of joy in writing. In music. In a relationship. In a friendship. No mere thing and no mere human can ever take the place of the deepest longing of my soul--that of knowing and communing with God. Nothing can fill that hole. The more I try to fill it, the more weary and heartsick I will become. He is my strength, my Redeemer, my portion, my salvation, my Rock, my Fortress, the lifter up of mine head, the One True God, my King, my God. He is all. He. Is. All. Only God.

And another glorious wonder? God wants to know me. I am priceless and full of worth in His eyes. I have done nothing worthy of the God of the universe even noticing me, and yet He tells me that His thoughts of me are more numerous than can be counted. He loves me. How? I will never know. He is God. He is perfect. He is The Holy One, and yet He condescends to care about ME. I, who wanders away from Him at every turn. I, who is foolish and ungrateful, and does not love or praise Him as He deserves. He loves me. He wants me to know Him, He wants to fill that deepest longing of my heart. Wonder of all wonders, I am His. And He is mine. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Fun Post: July favorites

Here we are, in the beginning of a new month!

WHAT?!!? *hyperventilates*

Ok, I'm good now. ;P Seriously though, this year has gone by SO fast!! Somehow even when there aren't any huge plans in place at the beginning of the summer, it does seem to really fill up quickly! :) Here are some things I've been up to this past month:

Wings of the Wind, by Connilyn Cossette. This was the third book in the "Out of Egypt" series by this author, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them!! They follow the journeys of different young women throughout the quest from Egypt to the Promised Land. I read the first two, and this one hadn't come out yet, so I had an impatient couple of months of anticipation for it. ;) I am way too cheap to buy books on their first release, so I always wait till the library gets them, which adds a bit of time as well. This book was worth the wait! Mrs. Cossette is one of my favorite authors now! :)

An Assembly Such As This and Duty and Desire, by Pamela Aidan. My friend Jenny recommended this trilogy to me, and I'm now into the third book. This lady wrote a series about one of the most famous literary characters of all time, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. :O Trying to write in the style of Jane Austen is a pretty tall order to fill, but Pamela Aidan does a marvelously good job of it!! There have been many times as I've been reading this series that I've totally forgotten that they weren't written by Jane Austen! She writes in a style so similar to her, and of course stays true to the original Pride and Prejudice, while filling in details and silent places (of which there are many), with her own story of Mr. Darcy. And let's face it...who didn't wish to know a little more about Mr. Darcy? ;P There are a lot of long spaces in P&P where we don't really know what's going on with him, (such as when he is in town during the time that Jane is also in town. What is he doing?! ;) Anyway, there is a bit of true to the period language, which is annoying, but there isn't too much of it. Just a caution for young readers. :)

 I am currently in the middle of around 6 other books as well, but I am not sure if I can endorse all of them yet, so I'll save some for next month's favorites post. ;) On my reading list for the very near future is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I have heard SO much about that book and I'm really looking forward to reading it. 

My grandparents in Salem, Oregon. We had such a lovely time with them, though it always feels a bit too short. ;) Both of our lives are so crazy, we don't get to see them but a couple times a year, so we try to enjoy every minute of it! We went to a park and a carousel, (and I got Oma to ride the carousel with me, which was super fun!!! :). We had our cousins over for a very jam packed evening of fun...I have 16 cousins on that side, though only 12 live in Salem. Counting our family's kids, there were 20 kids, and including the adults, there were 27 people there. ;D Like I said, pretty full place, especially since my grandparents' house isn't that huge. We always have tons of fun though. We went on a few nice walks, and shopped at Costco, and went to the Salem YMCA...I like our Y here in Wenatchee a lot better, but that's beside the point. ;P On our last night, we had a huge dinner out on the back porch, and then played ladder ball for a long time. I absolutely love that game!! It was such a blessing to be able to spend some time with them. :)

For the first time in 7 or 8 years!! I hadn't been camping in forever, but while some of the kids were at church camp, we got the opportunity to have a free night's stay at a campground about half an hour away. We had a blast floating around in a shallow part of the river, playing volleyball, roasting marshmallows on the grill (absolutely no campfires are allowed here during fire season), and waking up at 5:15 when it got light. ;P One thing that was SO cool was that the tent my dad bought last year has a mesh top, so I could see the stars as I was falling asleep. <3

Listening to...
The Planet Earth II soundtrack. It's on Spotify, so I love listening to it as I work. (It's on YT too, but then I can't  turn off my phone while it plays. ;P) Some of my favorite songs from it are Planet Earth II Suite/Main Theme, Garden of Ice, Starlings, and Flight over the Alps. You should go listen to at least those ones on YouTube. Like right now. Look, I'll even give you a link to the playlist!!!! LINK THAT YOU SHOULD REALLY CLICK ON. Can you tell that I just absolutely love this music? ;P

Taking pictures of...
Tons of stuff. ;P I got an iPhone 6 Plus for a very good price this past month (yes, I switched over from Android very reluctantly. No, I am not a full on Apple maniac. ;P) I admit they have some advantages for sure, but there are some things I really miss about Android, such as haptic feedback and the back button. ANYway, moving along... ;D One thing I love about my new phone is how good the camera is!! It has been really fun being able to take good pictures, and I've enjoyed playing around with editing on Snapseed. I'm not a photographer by any means, but having a nicer camera is sure fun!! :)

Thrilling with excitement about...
My upcoming missions trip to Fiji and Samoa in November!!!! I've refrained from saying anything on here about this until I was sure, but it does look like The Lord is working things out so I can go both to Fiji for the missions trip with my church, and afterwards to go back to Samoa with my dear friend Abby for a visit!!! She and I are sooo excited about both of these incredible opportunities, and would appreciate your prayers as we prepare for it. I have a fundraiser page that gives some more details about the trip, you can view that here.

In an area I never knew had hiking trails! Last week a church member took us up to Mission Ridge, about 20 minutes from my house, and we hiked up to two sparkling lakes in the mountains. It was an amazing time to go, because all the wildflowers were in full bloom. I have almost never seen any place so beautiful in my life, and I've been a lot of places! It was so peaceful and quiet. Some parts of the woods were bright and sunshine could reach to the forest floor, making tiny ferns and plants reach through the layers of pine needles. Other areas were dark and still, with black beards of lichen on the trees. When we got to the lakes, it looked like a painting with the trees mirrored in the perfectly glassy water and flowers of every color lining the banks. I saw a tiny snake with patterns like a fancy necktie gliding along the top of the water. On the way down, I gathered an armload of wildflowers, and you'd never be able to tell where I picked them, they were so profuse. It was such a stunningly breathtaking display of creation. 

Going out...
To the park every weekend for outreach. Wenatchee has a massive amount of public parks, and one in particular usually has a lot of people walking around in the evening during the weekends. We have been going every Friday night and Saturday morning to witness to people, and have had some really good conversations. Besides getting to walk through the beautiful riverfront park! I love Wenatchee. :)

Insanely happy with...
My new rolltop writing desk that I bought on Craigslist. I love it SO. MUCH. Ahh!! I could just sit there all day!! ;D

Thankful for...
The perfection of summer evenings--When it's been hot during the day, and then it cools off, but the ground is still holding some of the heat, so it's the most comfortable weather there could ever be for watching the sunset...just wow. :O Kombucha. Old tv shows. Snail mail from friends. Unexpected letters telling me a poem I entered in an online contest went to the semi finals and they are going to publish it in an anthology?! Cookie dough. Having church in the park with a BBQ and potluck afterwards. Playing Settlers of Catan with the kids. Singing "Prince of Egypt" songs at the top of my lungs. ;P (That movie was my childhood, ok??) SUMMER. 

Well, this post turned out to be a long one, so if you're still hanging out with me at this point, congratulations and thank you!! :D I hope each and every one of you is having a lovely summer! <3 Love,

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Refuge from the Storm

Psalm 62:7-8 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

When the sky is black and thundering,
And the fierce winds howl and moan.
When frightened hearts are wondering
How to face the storm alone.
When the world you've known comes tumbling
Down around your ears,
And your heart is weakly stumbling
As you struggle to face your fears.
Oh, child of God, why linger
In the shadow of the storms?
When your Saviour promises refuge
In the shelter of His arms.
He will hide you under mighty wings
He'll give you peace and rest.
When the mighty wind and rains beat down,
Lean on His gentle breast.
He holds out nail scarred hands to you,
His voice calls out your name.
In the fiery trial you're going through,
He'll walk with you in the flames.
He shed His life blood to redeem
Your soul from doom in hell--
Is He not able to keep you, then,
When life gets rough as well?
The choice to put your faith in Him
Will never cause regret.
When all around you things look grim,
He's a solid rock to stand upon--
Oh, my friend, do not forget!
Sometimes He'll choose to calm the storm
With a whisper, "Peace, be still."
Other times He wants you just to rest
In His perfect, precious will.
A refuge from the storm awaits you,
But you alone can choose;
Will you follow Christ in the path He takes you?
Or wander from Him, lost and confused?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

But Thou Broughtest Us Out...

Psalm 66:10-12 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

There is a song that I really love, and listen to often, that is called "Though You Slay Me". Here are a few of the lyrics:
"You struck down to bind me up--You say You do it all in love, that I might know You in Your sufferings. Though You slay me, yet will I praise You. Though You take from me, I will bless Your name. Though You ruin me, still I will worship, sing a song to The One Who's all I need!"

What powerful words! When I first heard the song, I thought it was a little extreme in some of the wording..."though you ruin me"? And yet what other word than ruin could you use to describe the trials of Job? Or the dark, painful valleys that so many of God's saints have walked through with the help of The Saviour? 

Sometimes, for reasons that are perfect and just, God chooses to try us in seemingly extreme ways. In His infinite wisdom, He knows that we need that particular valley at that exact time. He takes us into the net, lays affliction upon us, causes men to ride over our heads--He brings us through fire and through water. 

And what does the next part of our passage say? "but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place." God shapes our lives like a sculptor molding something masterful. He prunes us like grapevines that must be cut nearly to the earth in order to bring forth rich and beautiful fruit. He leads us like a Shepherd, taking His flock through a fearful canyon, to reach the fertile green pastures on the other side.

The experiences that seem to shatter our souls into shards of pain and grief are stepping stones to the new, more radiant person that God desires us to be! Sure, we may collect a few scars and bumps along the way, but just like physical markings, they tell a story. A story of how God is lovingly, faithfully shaping us to be more like His Son, Jesus Christ. 

There is a very popular saying that is running around that goes like this: "God will never give you more than you can handle!" Let me just say right now...

That. Is. Not. True.

It's not! In 1 Corinthians, God's Word tells us that we will not be TEMPTED above that we are able. Temptation to sin will never be more than we can handle, because God provides a way to escape. 

But trials? God absolutely will give you more than you can deal with--in your own strength. God doesn't want you to handle everything on your own! He wants you to be continually leaning on and trusting in HIM to give you strength! He wants to be your Help, your Shield, your Guide, your Light, your Father, your Shepherd, your Everything. So when trials come, YOU should not be the one handling it...God should be. He will carry your burdens for you. In the very words of our Saviour: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." What precious words of promise from One who wants to carry and comfort you as you walk life's path!

When you come to Him for strength in the trials that come your way, you'll be able to look back and see where those hard and weary times were being perfectly orchestrated by The Master Planner. They were all for the beautiful purpose of bringing you out into a truly wealthy place. <3

Monday, July 10, 2017


John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

I pass them on the street each day,
I see them as I work.
Shattered, torn up people, trying to hide their hurt.
They turn their brimming eyes away,
So none can see the pain
That attacks like ravenous beasts that show
No mercy to their prey.
Some will drown their sorrows
In addictions of all sorts,
While others simply will deny
The despair that haunts their hearts.
Oh why can't we foolish humans see,
Our hearts were made to love!
Why cannot we lift our eyes to God Who dwells above?
He wants to bring us healing and peace,
Far greater than we know. 
And yet He will not force us--
The choice is ours alone. 
Yet who indeed would choose to live
A shattered, torn up life?
When deliverance is promised when we turn from sin and strife?
Oh, Broken One, He's waiting with open arms for you!
He gave His very life to save and give you a way through.
Just ask Him, weary soul, and He will grant you life anew.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fun Post: May and June Favorites!

This summer has been pretty busy thus far, so my posting hasn't been quite as consistent as usual. I'm sure all of you guys have awesomeness going on as well! :) Here are some of my favorites from the past two months. I've been:

Burning Sky by Lori Benton. I texted Kimberly a picture of this book a minute after I finished it and said, quote, "THIS BOOK. It made me laugh and cry and pull my hair out and grin like a monkey as I read the last page. YOU MUST READ IT!!!" Not very elegant language, but hey, those were my immediate thoughts on the book. ;P It's absolutely awesome with tons of plot twists and amazing characters. <3 

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar. I am an avid follower of Tessa's writing and would pretty much love anything she wrote. I did really enjoy this one, although it didn't feel quite as utterly raw and real as some of her others. It was still a very good book, definitely worth the read!! 

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson. Wow, guys...if you want to learn a lot about WW2 and also cry, read this book. :'( It's not as intensely tragic as "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", but still pretty heartbreaking. It's a really well written autobiography.

I did quite a bit of reading in the past couple months! These were just a couple of my favorite selections. :)

A personal prayer challenge. Kimberly sweetly offered to help keep me accountable for this, and that really helped me to remember to stay on top of it. Basically I committed to praying for a set amount of time per day, of just prayer. Sitting down and looking at my prayer list, and spending the whole time just being still and praying. It was really a blessing to form that habit again...prayer is really the thing I tend to let slip the most. :'(

A lovely BBQ dinner at church with my ladies! We had a super fun mother/daughter dinner around Mother's Day. We all dressed up in Western style clothes, and ate out of little baskets with red and white checkered paper in them. My dad and Bro. Chris made SO MUCH MEAT. Seriously, you would think we were a bunch of T-Rexes or something!!! ;P Haha! We did eat a lot, because it was absolutely spectacular meat, but there was quite a bit leftover for the guys back at home...snap, they were disappointed to have to eat up the extra meat. ;) We played charades too, which is always hilarious. :D

An antique mall about 25 minutes away that I had never been to before. I took Mama there for a slightly late Mother's Day outing, and I was...blown away. The building houses 75,000 square feet (over half the size of the average Costco warehouse), of every kind of antique booth you can imagine. It was so. big. I couldn't get over it!! We were there for over 3 hours and didn't even come close to seeing everything. There is a 50's diner on one side of the building, so we went there for a small lunch of onion rings and a milkshake, while laughing at some hilarious old movie playing on a big screen. It was so darling and incredibly special to spend that time with my mom! <3

The liberation of my friend Jenny from the cold iron shackles of school!!!! (Commonly known as a graduation party. ;P) I traveled with her and her family to Moses Lake, spent the night at Katie's apartment, made delicious peppermint bars and worked on decorations, and then spent the day at the park. We had a blast playing games, talking, sharing memories, meeting new and old friends, and just celebrating with her. Congratulations, Jenny!

How to witness more effectively during an evangelism conference we had at church this past month. It was really good to have that conference...sometimes I know the right things to do, and yet it takes a reminder like this one to stir me up to start doing them faithfully again.

Feeling bittersweet...
As I watched one of my best friends walk down the aisle. :') Hannah has been such a sweet blessing to me over the many years I have known her. (You can read a guest post by her here.) At her wedding, I turned around the instant before the doors opened at the back of the sanctuary and caught a glimpse of her face. I had a moment of the deepest empathetic joy and wonder and sense of the thrill that must have been going through her, and as much as I tried not to, I couldn't stop my eyes from filling with tears. What a blessing it was for me to be able to share in her special day! I wish her and Ron all of God's best as they begin their new life together in Alaska. Now I have yet another good reason to want to visit there! ;)

Thankful for...
The opportunity to have some extra online work this month. The sign that I designed and my dad carved into wood and painted. The fact that I'm getting better at racquetball. Reading the Bible together and playing Shoot, outside on the patio. Summer evenings. Lavender, pink, and golden sunsets like the one I watched last night. Days off. Getting a new phone with a good camera and no bugs. :) Kayson's NINTH birthday?!? The boys going on a camping trip. Talking on the phone with friends. Hot showers. Air Conditioning. Dutch Bros coffee. Playing piano at the public market, and actually making some tips! Getting my studio apartment downstairs all spiffed up (even *I* can sometimes get the spring cleaning bug. ;). Cherry season, and picking cherries with my family. Just so thankful for God listening to me, anytime of day, anywhere I am. He is so good to me!!

I hope all of you have a wonderful Fourth of July!! I look forward to hearing from you...what has God done for you lately? :) Love you all!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Are you a Chameleon Christian?

Psalm 31:19-20 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
Last night, I read this passage and stopped short. I've read it a million times but never really broke it down and thought carefully on it! (I know I'm not the only one here. ;) 
How great is God's goodness, which he has laid up for them that fear him, and trust in him before the sons of men. How many of us truly fear God and trust in Him, so much so that it's evident to the lost that we come in contact with? In other words, are you a Christian at home and at church, but once you enter the workplace suddenly all traces of your faith melt into the background? A "Chameleon Christian" as some have so aptly put it? Food for thought. 
A few days ago I stood near two of my coworkers who were having a discussion, and since we were in the Staff only area, the filters came off their mouths. The language that they used saddened me so deeply, because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh--what they were saying was evidence of the depravity of their hearts. (Note: I am not passing judgement on them, God's Word has already done that. I am simply stating the fact that the lost cannot do the things of God, because they are not His children.) 
This verse made me think, though--should I have stood by passively, or should I perhaps have stood up and said something? I don't know exactly what the best course of action would have been in this situation--after all, the conversation did not include me. But I'm trying to think it enough for me to merely NOT join in the ungodly conversations and actions that go on around me? I have had people tell me before, "Oh, you are doing great, the lost will notice and realize there is something different about you." Hmm...this sounds an awful lot like so-called "Lifestyle evangelism" to me. Something I wholeheartedly disagree with. Proverbs 29:24 says, "Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not." The person who hears cursing, and doesn't protest it is described as hating his own soul. Who could hate their own soul?? 
In the verses at the top, it says, "Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues." In the secret of God's presence. In a pavilion. Those sound like peaceful and truly pleasant places to be! What is the biggest fear that stops us from stepping out more boldly in living out our faith? My guess would be fear of man. For me, that's what it is. I think things like, "They are going to think I'm a nutcase if I mention the goodness of God in this difficult situation!" or "I don't want them to think I'm being super annoying by asking them to please watch their language AGAIN." (Even though I don't think any one of my lost friends would mind if I did ask them this). Wow. How much am I fearing and trusting God before the sons of men? Not nearly as much as I should be, I fear. :( And yet why do I fear this when I have God's promise that He is enough, that I can hide in Him, and that He will protect me when I obey Him?
God promises great blessings and goodness to those who apply this. It says He has wrought great goodness...that means He specifically planned out these rewards. How much of His special gifts am I missing out on?? I heard a quote somewhere (I think it was from Mark Cahill), that says, "Never let your fear of man trump your love for God." I liked it so much I lettered it out and hung it in my room. But is that all it is--a hanging on the wall? Am I letting my fear of man overrule my love for God and my desire to follow His commands? I would encourage you to think on this with me as we go throughout this weekend--are we living boldly and passionately for Christ all through our lives? Or just in the parts where we won't face any ridicule or weird looks?