Wednesday, July 25, 2012

end of summer list

This summer has seriously flown by. It's been a different summer. I've learned so much and grew in the process. But -- there are several more days left to summer and a few more weeks before we move to the little white house in town and start school again.

I decided to make a fun list of things to complete before school comes around and everyone goes back to work. Plus I added a fun little photoshoot of my sis at the bottom of the post. enjoy. :]
  • make juice popsicles. 
  • run through the sprinkle + get wet in the hose one more time.
  • stay up till midnight writing and writing only
  • stay up till midnight watching movies. 
  • spend a good part of an afternoon working in the garden (even if we're going to abandon it when we move).
  • first day my new running shoes go in the mail, go for a run. 
  • have a huggee photoshoot around the farm before we move. 
  • make somebody teach me to tune my guitar. 
  • go for an hour walk at midnight around the farm, praying and thinking. 
  • spend a morning/afternoon at the library. 
  • read another novel in a day. 
  • eat a picnic at the park. 
  • camp out with Lauren and Rachel in Lauren's backyard. 
  • be in bed before nine. 
  • buy a large blizzard at dairy queen. (mom said this one was gross and i couldn't do it. oh well.)
  • take a hike. 
  • make a summer video. 
  • go for a run through the pasture and cornfield before we move. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

give thanks

My heart is overflowing with joy. I feel so grateful. So blessed. I feel like I belong, not here in this earthly home, but in the group of believers I've come to know.

I can get to know them, without being afraid I'm going to have to move and tear down those relationships. Even if we do go back overseas (which probably won't happen for awhile -- we're buying a house not fifteen minutes from here. eeekk!), I know I'll still have people to be able to call and talk to if I need it. And I mean the real talks. If I'm struggling with a certain sin, or when I want to talk about how great God is. That doesn't weird out these people.

I feel more focused now. I'll admit it -- I'm not generally a shy person, but it takes me quite a long time to be able to talk to someone about anything. I've let go of that though, and stopped worrying about what people think about me, stop worrying about trying to be normal. We're in the same boat, all trying to love God and other people. Not trying to please other people. But showing them truth and grace.

So that's what I'm thankful for, my youth/community group, all the Godly ladies I look up to in church, and even the men. I'm glad God put us Jesus freaks all in the same boat together.

ps: pictures taken by friends in the church. ;)

pps: I've had a few photography sessions lately -- click here to check them out.

ppps: I just realized how much I wear that red 5k race shirt...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

God changes things.

I got back from Philadelphia early  yesterday morning. To start out, let me say one thing: I was worn out.

It wasn't like any other trip I've taken before. I expected it to be a little more like a field trip, I guess. But I am so so glad it wasn't. Two of the six days were driving to Pennsylvania. I had time to bond with the youth group (it was a youth group mission trip, if I didn't explain that earlier. first time going somewhere without my parents or grandparents.). And then we got to the Salvation Army Church, where we were staying. From ten to three everyday we worked with a kids camp.

The kids were the worst kids I have ever met. They hit, they punched, they fought, they climbed on chairs, they ran and screamed in the sanctuary, they had dirty talk, they had no respect at all for their elders. So that made things . . . a bit challenging. ha. I knew there wasn't time to make them obedient perfect children. Instead I prayed, I took a deep breath, and decided to just love. Just play with them, just sing with them, talk with them and hug them.

At the end of the four days we had a different group. The kids were playing board games. BOARD GAMES PEOPLE. I prayed with two little girls. Actually, they were the ones who decided to pray and they took off. Never ever would they have prayed even if I had told them to earlier in the week. Never. So God worked. I was worn, my head hurt from so many little girls playing with my hair, my back was aching for so many piggy-back rides, my mouth hurt from smiling and my legs hurt from chasing so many kids. But God worked, and I didn't want to punch Henry-the-trouble-maker  (different kid than my brother by the way) in the face anymore.

At night I helped with a VBS. Dude, those kids are perfect compared to the ones earlier in the day! I had a good time with them. And tried not to fall asleep.

Then two of the four nights we packed lunches, water, Jesus comics and headed to some of the most horrible streets in America. Drug addicts were scattered along the street. Fights broke out. Dunks stumbled along the sidewalks. Ambulances screamed as they raced by.

Yet God was still there. We laid our hands on people and prayed for them. It was the first time I met a bisexual, first time I touched someone who was drinking beer right in front of me. I'll be honest. I was mad on the way home. Mad at God. I wanted to do something about it. But I felt like everybody was too lost for me to do anything. After talking with one of the youth, I realized God did care. He just has His reasons. And I'm a limited human. Instead of whining about how He doesn't save everybody, I needed to go out and share His love.

I asked God to help me do that the next night we went out. And He did. I was filled with this passion, this...hurt that I would've never had on my own (hey, I'm too selfish. just saying). I stopped being afraid of the violence and the filth. Stop worrying what they thought about me. I saw them as people, people like myself, people who needed healing. Who needed Jesus. And I listened to them, laid my hands on them. While they poured out their hearts to me, to God. I saw how hopeless these people are. They're so hopeless that they have no self esteem. They're broken people. They need an awesome Savior. I actually started crying (ok, sobbing) when I was praying with a lady who said she had just found out her mom died. These people have nothing. Oh, how they need Jesus! And how much I need Him...

It was challenging. I learned a lot. And I'm so going back next year, if we don't move too far. (speaking of that, more news on the move is coming soon.).

I became more passionate, saw God work, now have a close group of friends, a million inside jokes, and can say I ate a real Philly cheese-steak. Go to Philadelphia, hang out with the inner city kids, and pray on the streets if you ever get the chance. You won't regret it.

ps: more pics coming soon. cheers to dinky cameras!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

our not-so-little garden

Our garden is exploding with produce. Squash, beans, sunflowers, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, herbs, potatoes, and (soon to be) corn. The other day I spent three hours watering it, and we spent most of the morning picking and picking.

It's hard work to garden, but it's so worth having fresh vegetables on the table -- especially when you know you helped make it grow!

Have you ever tried to have a garden? Growing anything special this year? Comment and let me know. :)

ps: going on a mission trip to Philadelphia this week - so excited! I won't post for awhile but when I get back I'll tell you all about it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

so much

Too much time spent wanting, too much time spent not being content. Only when I look around do I realize how much I do have.

I forget the years I spent overseas and soon America seems to be all I have ever known. All that matters. I forget the hungry faces, the people that have no freedom. They can't decide what to believe, they can't worship God freely.

I think that to be really thankful for something, you have to know what it's like to be without that something. You can't really be thankful for running water until you don't have it. You can't really be thankful for a washer for your clothes and one for your laundry until you're without it. You can't be thankful for your toothbrush until you're without that toothbrush.

Okay, I'm not saying you should stop brushing your teeth. Be thankful that you live in America, and if you have a good family, be thankful for that. Be thankful you can celebrate what you believe. But just remember. Some people can't be thankful for those things. So be extra thankful.

Anything you're especially thankful for?