The Election.

This is my one and only post about the election… probably at least until the election is over. 🙂 It’s finally gotten the better of me and I thought I would just express my thoughts since this is MY blog and I’m allowed to do such things on MY blog, on MY time. What you think may be different. Post it on your blog. This blog is mine.

If you think you know me at all, you know who I’m voting for. I’m not going to belabor that point. The election is just a few days away; I don’t intend to persuade or dissuade anyone. I just want to verbalize some concerns I have.

My parents and I lived for two years in the grand ol’ city of Montreal, in Quebec, Canada. I was actually born in Canada, so while there, I claimed Canadian citizenship and lived like a Canadian for two full years. During that time, I experienced some pretty major medical problems with my thyroid and with what we thought was appendicitis. Canada, as much as some of them hate to admit it, is a socialistic country. They don’t claim that completely, but most of how they do government and business is socialistic. Some claim that’s GREAT. Some Americans look at it and think, “Wow, I wish WE had health care like that in OUR country!” I am not so excited about it.

We know that one party is leaning more towards big government and the government getting their hands in our healthcare system. I have to admit, when the race initially began, I was desperately hoping that the Democrats would have something to offer in the way of healthcare. I have been without healthcare for four years now and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of being approved for health care… and denied coverage for anything having to do with my thyroid, the only reason I need healthcare. People, that’s not healthcare. I don’t care how you look at it – that’s not helpful! We refuse to pay $500 per month on my health insurance alone on top of all the medical bills, medicine, blood tests, etc, that is needed for my thyroid. Ridiculous. So, we opted to go healthcare-less and have been better off for it. Except we can’t go to the doctor and we can’t afford children. So, I was hoping SOMEBODY would have something to offer.

But, when our dear Democratic nominee started describing his plan, I immediately wondered what country I’m in! “Am I back in Canada?” I pondered. What he is spouting is exactly how it is in our good neighbor to the north. Let me fill you in a little on how life was in Montreal, in case you’re thinking this isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be.

Where to even begin? Honestly, I have so many stories I could share. Let’s see, how about our friends who were, shall we say, older – who needed to have serious medical procedures. Two of our friends needed surgery for cancer; one needed a hip replacement. But, since all were not in their “prime”, they were told they had to wait. One man was told his cancer was critical. He waited a solid year for surgery and chemotherapy. One lady was told if she didn’t have surgery, she’d probably lose sight in her other eye and the cancer might spread to her brain (she was already blind in one eye). She waited about nine months and subsequently lost her other eye and is not 100% blind. One good friend got pregnant with her second child. It took her four months to find a doctor who could follow her in her pregnancy. Everyone else was busy. In her eighth month, she was informed that doctor was going on vacation and would not be delivering the baby. She had to find a new doctor. But, that doctor wouldn’t give her references or referrals or any help whatsoever! She found another doctor about two weeks before she went into labor. Doctors in Quebec are told they have to see a certain number of patients per hour. Say “goodbye” to any kind of personal attention! You literally ARE a number. When I needed immediate medical attention when we thought I had appendicitis, I was brought into the emergency room and had an interview. They asked me a few preliminary questions and then asked how bad the pain was. When I said an eight, they saw me within a half hour. People who were brought in on stretchers were still lying on stretchers in the middle of the emergency room hallway when I was leaving at 5:00 that night (we came in around 9 that morning). They never told me what was going on and they separated me from my family for the entire day. I was hooked up to all kinds of IV’s and machines, apparently to prep me for surgery I didn’t even know was an option, and then wheeled off to an X-ray around 2 in the afternoon. It took all day for them to decide, “Oh, guess it’s not appendicitis. You can go home now.” That was my first encounter with doctors in Canada.

The second time was a little more traumatic. I was told in Wisconsin while in college that I was extremely sick and needed to see a doctor immediately, but since I didn’t have health insurance, he suggested I go back to Canada, where I’d be seen for free. I had ONE WEEK to get in to see a doctor because that was all the time I had off for spring break. My parents contacted their family doctor, but they said he didn’t have an opening, even for an emergency, until July. This was April. Here’s how things work in Canada: You see a family doctor who refers you to the hospital for blood work. You have the blood work at a specified hospital who then sends the results to their doctor on staff. That doctor reads the results and sends them back to your family doctor who sets up another appointment with you. You see your family doctor who then refers you to whatever specialist you happen to need. You see this doctor, whenever you can get in, who sends you to the hospital for tests and then you begin the whole process all over again. Before you can get medication, you must see both doctors – the specialist and your family doctor. It is literally months before anything happens up there! I had ONE week. My parents shared with their Wednesday night prayer meeting group the problem. One man stepped forward and said his sister was an emergency room doctor and if I knew what blood test I needed, she’d write the request. This man’s wife said she knew a lab tech in the radiology department in a downtown Montreal hospital. She could get me in for my tests whenever I got back. The only problem: the hospitals are closed for Easter Monday and the only days they do thyroid tests are on Mondays. What??? This wonderful lab tech got me in on Tuesday! And Wednesday. And again on Thursday. One NEVER sees the doctor who works in the lab; they just read the report and send it back to the family doctor. This lab tech got my dad and I in to see the doctor. Who turned out to be the best radiologist in Quebec. She asked who my family doctor was; I told her I wouldn’t have one until July. She said that’s too late. She made a personal phonecall to a radiologist across the street who saw me that afternoon. He gave me medicine and told me if I had come in even in May when school had gotten out, I would’ve been immediately hospitalized. In four days, I got treatment for something that would normally take three months! We call that a miracle in my family.

Between all of that and the busloads of cancer patients (including high-ranking Canadian officials) who come down to Vermont every year for cancer treatments, I have every reason in the world to believe that the government paying for healthcare for everyone is NOT a good idea. There has to be a better way. In case people have forgotten, the government sticking their fingers in everybody’s business IS socialism. And socialism is just a nice word for communism. I’m sorry. I live in America. We don’t do that here.

The only last thing I want to say is that I’m SICK, literally SICK, of Christians telling other Christians to look beyond our basic moral issues and vote for “bigger” issues. Basic moral issues meaning pro-life and anti-gay marriage. While I agree that can’t be ALL we base our vote on or that would be naive, I think those should definitely help sway our votes. I remember a few key cities who didn’t care about homosexuality: Sodom, Gomorrah, and Pompeii. [Dare I say New Orleans or would that be offensive?] I also remember another government system that decided the lives of children and the elderly didn’t matter as much as everybody else: the Nazis. Hmm… and where all these people today? When you kill the innocent children, that is merely a stepping stone to the elderly and the “feebleminded,” those that don’t really “contribute” to our society. And where will we be if we begin to do that on a regular basis? Where does it end? The same with homosexuality. There are some sins that God utterly despises and that are repulsive to His very nostrils. Homosexuality is one of them. Am I talking about the people? Absolutely not! I’m talking about the CHOICE of an EVIL lifestyle. “Evil? Wow- that’s harsh. Some of the nicest people I know are gay!” some might argue. True, but let’s look at what GOD says about this in Paul’s amazing letter to the Romans where he argues the case AGAINST humanity:

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.  24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.  28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.  – Romans 1:18-31

5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. -Romans 2:5-7

I’m not overly excited about who I’m voting for. But, at least I know he won’t be ushering in big government and getting rid of key moral issues that God will hold him accountable for in eternity future. Just remember, God holds US accountable for our decisions as well. Don’t forget to vote.

And now you know why I’m not allowed, by my husband, to join political debates, arguments, or discussions. 🙂 Also remember, if you choose to comment, this is MY blog, not yours. Comment wisely. I have veto power. Begin your own blog if you want to rant and rave against me. Don’t do it here. I AM entitled to my opinions.

My Psalm.

Welcome to winter in October! It snowed 14″ here Monday night! Pretty, huh?

This week, our small group leader, during our prayer time, suggested we all take five minutes and write a Psalm to God and then share it. Hmmm… The suggestion was on his sheet and we all thought it was kind of hard! Five minutes isn’t very long to pour out your heart in a Psalm! So, we decided it’d kind of be our assignment for next week. I took the next morning during my devo time to write my own Psalm. Here it is. I’m not a poet; this is just what I was feeling at the time.

O Lord, my God, hold me. Hold me close. Hold me near Your heart. I want to feel Your nearness, but I also want to feel Your heartbeat. I want to know what You have for me and how I am to accomplish it. Calm my fears, Lord. Steady my trembling heart. Why am I afraid? I do trust in You. But, I see the waves, God. I see them coming! Stand in front of me so Your view blocks the waves from my sight! Stand behind me so I can lean on You, have Your arms wrapped around me. Stand on either side of me so I can be steady when the waves hit. Hold me. Hold me close. Don’t let me fall. Don’t let me even falter! Be my rock when my world starts to spin. Be my high place when the storm comes raging in. Be my anchor when the waves are overwhelming. Don’t let me move. Hold me close. You are my Abba, my Jehovah-Jireh, my Savior… my God. Make me remember You! Make me never forget how You’ve always taken care of me! Remind me daily of Your goodness. Remind me daily that You are near. Remind me daily that You hold me. Hold me close, my Lord, and m God. Be my peace, my calm, my lighthouse, for You truly are all that I need.

Face Me.

This week in our “Patriarchs” study, we went over Jacob wrestling with God. It was really good. Not unlike every other lesson Beth Moore does. 🙂 [If you got here from WOTH, did you know that Beth Moore is coming out with a study on Esther on November 15?! Very exciting.]

The video session went over the entire encounter of the wrestling match in Genesis 32. During most of it, Beth talked about fighting with God and knowing you’ve done something wrong and need to meet with God about it. While I have been in that place before, I’m not currently there now. More recently, though, I’ve been in the place where I just need to honestly speak with God and tell Him what’s really going on. I began that process during my time at Panera a few weeks ago (see my post on “Soundtrack to My Life”) and at first, I thought it was silly. You know, picturing God having coffee across from me and just venting and telling Him what’s really on my mind as I would a good friend. But… it worked.

Now, after doing this week’s session, I realize that doing that was actually a good thing! I’ve been terrified about leaving, terrified about traveling, terrified about whether or not I’m even qualified for this job… just all-around terrified. The one quote that got me this week was: “When we dread facing something or someone, what we need most is to honestly face God.” She went on to say that it’s as if God is saying, “Lift up your face and talk to me! Don’t hang your head in My presence!” I am a firm believer that God does speak to us. In our minds. In a voice. I know He does. I’ve heard Him speak to me and I know it was Him and not my imagination. When I had coffee with God the other day, I heard Him say, “Look at Me. Lift up your head and look at Me. Tell me what you have to say to My face.” Before Jacob could face up to his brother that he had wronged, before Jacob could move on with his life, before Jacob could be blessed by a new name and a new reputation, he had to face God. He had to wrestle with Him. Fight with Him. Let Him have it, if you will. And then when the Lord asked to be released, he said, “Not before you bless me!”

I picture Jacob gripping His collar, leaning close to His face, and saying that command with the last breath and ounce of energy he can muster. “Not … before … you … bless me!” And then, in the stillness of the night, God responds, “What is your name?” Jacob drops his grip and his head and whispers his reply: “Liar.” God puts a hand on Jacob’s shoulder and says, “Not anymore. You are Israel.” What’s in a name? Everything. When it’s given by God Almighty.

I loved how Beth brought us then to Revelation 2:17 where we learn that we will be given a new name in heaven and only God and the person who receives it will know it. Only God because only God was there. Only God was there in Panera. Only God will be there in our little 2-bedroom house in Picapiedra. Only God has been there every time I’ve cried out to Him in Vermont, Montreal, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Only God has listened every time to every word. Only God has caught my tears and kept them in a bottle. Only God has been there and will be there through every triumph, personal or otherwise. When He gives me that name, it will mean something – just between the two of us.

I remind people who come to me for advice and prayer that it’s okay to fight with God. It’s okay to question Him, even yell at Him. It’s okay to be brutally honest. He’s big; He can handle it. Jacob wrestled with God! Wrestling has never been, in my mind, a very beautiful sport. Jacob wrestled with God and let Him have it. God won’t let you win. But, He also won’t let you go without blessing you. I’ve always come away from a straight talk with God feeling much better off about whatever it was I had to talk with Him about.

Here are two more quotes from the lesson: “In every struggle, do not let go until the blessing comes… When we struggle through the crisis with God all the way to the blessing, we are glorious redefined!”

We’ll be having coffee a lot more often from now on.

New Information.

This is a picture of part of the IBYM campus where we will be living next year.

A week ago, Brian and I were able to meet with our Peruvian directors State-side. It was kind of a bittersweet time for us. We were supposed to arrive in Peru in September, knowing that our directors were to travel to the States in October. So, we would have been getting settled and then they were to be gone for a week and when they got back, they were going to help us get more accustomed to life on campus. Obviously, it didn’t happen that way. So, instead of being back in Peru waiting for them to return, we were here in the States, waiting for them to arrive. Bittersweet.

Yet, it turned out to be a very good meeting time. Brian was able to meet them in person for the first time; we were able to get the first, initial awkward meeting out of the way. We were able to ask lots and lots of questions before arriving. We had time with them to talk about more serious issues, again, before arrival. These were things we didn’t think would happen. I’ve been struggling A LOT lately with even wanting to go to Peru still and this meeting helped restore my excitement and has made me look forward to the move again. For that, I am very grateful.

Some interesting things we’ve found out that we didn’t know previously:

  • We will be building our house on the edge of the campus, kind of off by itself, with our back view being the mountain and our front view, the soccer field.
  • We will be able to have our own washer, but no one owns a dryer.
  • We will be able to get a gas water heater and we won’t have to worry about electric shower heads!!
  • We can borrow a car whenever we’d like to leave campus, meaning we won’t need to ride the bus every time we need to buy soap.
  • Sounds like Brian will be doing most of the traveling to the Amazon; I won’t necessarily have to go every single time. *phew!
  • I will be able to be involved with teacher training – one of my heart’s desires!
  • We are going to want to bring our own clothes down there because it’ll be hard to find clothes that fit that aren’t super expensive.

We talked briefly about customs and things to look for in Peru. We talked about eating arrangements and work responsabilities. It was wonderful! We feel much more prepared! January still seems really far away, though.

“Some People’s Kids.”

The title is one of my father-in-law’s favorite sayings. He says it all the time when somebody does something foolish. I wish you could hear him. He says, “Ah, some people’s kids” and then shakes his head like, “stupid people.” It’s hilarious! But, when my brothers-in-law do foolish things, I normally turn to him and say, “Ah, some people’s PARENTS!” He just smiles. 🙂

Friday evening, Brian and I went on an overnight retreat as chaperones. There were 4 other adults going… and 19 3rd-6th graders! Fifteen of which were girls. Brian definitely had it easy. Our church does a Word of Life program called Olympians. I help out Sunday evenings, but Brian isn’t able to right now. But, he was able to chaperone, so that was fun. I wish I could’ve gotten pictures, but didn’t realize the special battery for our camera was dead. Sorry! The weekend went something like this:

  • Leave church at 6pm Friday for the 45 minute drive up into the mountains to the campground.
  • Stop at 7:15 on a backroad and discuss how bad the internet directions are.
  • Stop at 7:30 and are led to a different road (after backtracking the last few minutes) by another chaperone’s boyfriend.
  • Stop at 7:45 and turn around again.
  • Arrive around 8 (check in was between 7 and 7:30).
  • Snack at 8:30, during which time the children discover the cappuccino machine in the cafeteria. I quote a 4th grade girl, “This hot chocolate tastes funny.” Me: “Did you take the one labeled ‘French Vanilla’?” Her: “Yes. It tastes like coffee.” Me: “That’s because it IS coffee. You took capuccino!” Her: “Oh. Yum!” (big fake smile)
  • Chapel around 9.
  • Crazy scavenger hunt outside, in the dark, with one flashlight (that worked more like a strobe light in the hands of a 5th grade boy), all over the campground for close to an hour.
  • “Lights Out” at 11. And again at 11:30. Flashlights out around 1am. Flashlights out again at 1:45. Talking loudly stopped around 12:30am. Whispering stopped around 2am. Then began snoring and talking in their sleep. The funniest was one little girl saying, “Mommy!” really loud and another girl saying, “Hi” (in a really cute, sing-song voice), then another girl who was actually awake saying really loudly, “Who are they talking to??”
  • Awake at 6. Three of us lady chaperones decided to shower in the morning and were planning on waking the girls up at 7:15. But, on the way to the bathroom, we got passed by a 4th grader running as fast as she can down the hill, yelling “GOOD MORNING!” Needless to say, we didn’t have to wake anybody up.
  • Breakfast at 8, followed by activities. We did a craft and a giant game of Dodgeball in the morning. I have not played Dodgeball for years. It was… scary. Have you seen the movie “Dodgeball”? I don’t recommend it, but it would give you an idea of how it went. When it came to Leaders vs. Children, we lost. But, we lost after I looked around and realized I was the only one left on my side, holding one ball, facing 20 kids (we played with another church), holding six balls. I think they all felt sorry for me because I just stood there and said, “Wait – seriously??”
  • Chapel. Then, lunch. Followed by two more activities: a hayride and a hike (which all four female chaperones skipped out on. Going on less than three hours of sleep was rough, to say the very least!).
  • Finally – HOME! What took us 2 hours Friday evening took us 30 minutes Saturday afternoon.

By far, the night was the most interesting part of the whole trip. I’m relatively new to a bunch of the children, so my authority was pretty much null Friday night. I did, however, hear a lot of stuff. Two 6th grade girls took up residence on the bunk next to mine and began chatting away. Other conversations floated around me as well. Here is just a sampling of what I know now:

  • If Barack Obama becomes president, we will have to write letters to him asking if we can go to the store.
  • If Barack Obama becomes president, we will have to write letters asking if we can go to a non-Satan-worshiping church. Unless Congress doesn’t let him. But, they weren’t sure what power Congress had over the President.
  • Hillary Clinton should not be running for presidency because her husband already did that. And women are lesser than men, anyway.
  • You know you’re pregnant when the skin on your back gets really tight.
  • It’s impossible to get pregnant in 5th grade. [*Note: the sad thing is that there IS a girl in 5th grade in one of the school districts who is pregnant. Unbelievable!]

What got me, though, was the two girls started talking about all their “friends.” It was like they had a mental list and were just checking them off. I heard them say during a pause, “Well, now who should we talk about?” Most of what they said was mean and rude, even if some of it was true. The worst statement was, “I don’t know if it’s true, but have you heard…?”

Since I knew their information on politics was obviously warped from whatever their parents said at home, I wondered where they were learning how to gossip like that? I know gossip is rampant among women, not excluding myself, but seriously – how young does this start?? Terrifying. We’re going through a Beth Moore study right now and one of the things she said was that if you want your kids to be different, then YOU be different now. Man, the last thing I want is my girls gossiping like that about their friends and acquaintances! Talk about a conviction for me to cut it out now, even if I know things to be true. I’m not saying I’m a chronic gossiper, but we all do it. It’s really easy to talk about other people’s issues, right? I hope my girls never learn to gossip from me!

[And yes, I know I should have stepped in and said something while this was going on. I’m kicking myself for not doing it, so don’t write me and tell me what an awful chaperone I was! 🙂 If I get a chance, I’m planning on talking to the two girls another time about it.]

Soundtrack to My Life.

In case you hadn’t noticed, music is a big deal to me. Almost as big as writing. Writing is an outlet; music is an expression. This is another entry about music.

The last few weeks have been really hard for some reason. I’ve been really down about a lot of things. I’ve been discouraged because I don’t “feel” like a missionary (whatever that feels like); I’ve been discouraged because I don’t feel “qualified” (whatever that looks like); I’ve been discouraged about the lack of support in the recent months and how “no one” reads our newsletters that we put so much time and effort into (although my sister told me “no one” was a hyperbole); and I’ve been a bundle of nerves about a million little things. This morning, I went to do our bulk mailing only to discover they don’t open til 10. So, I had over a half an hour to kill. I went to Panera Bread (one of my favorite places on earth), got my Asiago Cheese bagel with sundried tomato low fat cream cheese, and a frozen carmel coffee drink (even though it was supposed to be an iced caramel latte, but oh well), and sat down in the sun. And had coffee with God. I’ve been depressed lately, too, with my lack of friends out here and having to do everything with my husband (which isn’t always bad) or my mother (which has it downfalls), so this morning, I had coffee with God. I pictured Him across the table from me and we chatted. And I poured my heart out to Him (mentally, of course). And He poured His out to me. And for the first time in probably over a month, I have joy. And peace.

In the car on the way back to the post office, I heard my favorite song these days and so I cranked it up and sang along. It’s Natalie Grant’s “I Will Not Be Moved.” Here’s the lyrics:

I have been a wayward child,
I have acted out,
I have questioned sovereignty,
and had my share of doubts,
And though sometimes,
my prayers feel like their bouncing off the sky,
the hand that holds won’t let me go,
and is the reason why
I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved
Bitterness has plagued my heart,
many times before,
My life has been a broken glass,
and I have kept the score,
of all my shattered dreams,
and though it seemed,
that I was far too gone,
my brokenness helped me to see,
it’s grace I’m standing on.
I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved
And chaos in my life,
has been a badge I’ve worn,
and though I have been torn,
I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But i will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

Here’s the rest of my life’s soundtrack these days:

  • Big Daddy Weave “What Life Would Be Like“:

He made the lame walk and the dumb talk
He opened blinded eyes to see
That the sun rises on His time
Yet He knows our deepest desperate need
And the world waits while His heart aches
To realize the dream
I wonder what life would be like if we let Jesus life thru you and me

  • Brandon Heath “Give Me Your Eyes“:

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me you heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

  • Chris Sligh “Empty Me“:

Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds onto
Lord, empty me of me so I can be filled with You

  • Sanctus Real “Whatever You’re Doing“:

There’s a wave that’s crashing over me, and all I can do is surrender
Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but somehow there’s peace
And it’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see, but I’m giving in to something heavenly
Time for a milestone, time to begin again, re-evaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will or just climbing aimlessly over these hills?
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything – I surrender
Time to face up, clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out that I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

I daresay that songs express my life better than I ever can. This is my current soundtrack. What’s yours?

Thinking Out Loud.

A few months ago, I was lamenting my birthday.

See the true joy on my face? Oh, Brian and I share a birthday, by the way.

I have had a huge list in my head since I was a teenager of everything I wanted to get accomplished before this birthday and pretty much the only thing I’ve done off that list is gotten married. So, I was depressed because I felt like I had done nothing with my life. Today, I’m lamenting the fact that I am as young as I am. Amazing how the grass isn’t truly greener anywhere.

I’ve been saved for 21 years. That sounds like forever. It’s not, really, but it is a long time. However, that doesn’t mean anybody listens to my advice. I listened to someone this morning share some things on her heart and I had so much I wanted to share with her and encourage and exhort her with… but didn’t feel I should because of the age difference. She should be giving me advice, not vice versa! So, where do you draw the line between “setting an example,” like Paul told Timothy, and respecting your elders and keeping your mouth shut? And it’s not just with the situation this morning; there are a few things I’d like to offer my opinion on… but don’t feel I should because I’m “so young and inexperienced.” In reality, I’ve been saved longer than some of the people I’d like to talk with and I’ve also had some pretty unique ministry opportunities that would actually help people out. But, I keep my mouth shut. And it’s driving me insane.

Last night at church, a missionary family talked about their ministry. Afterwards, I went up and thanked the wife for sharing. She gives me hope that I’ll make it in Peru! They’re working in Niger and have nine (count ’em  – 9!!) children, the youngest just barely a year old. I think I’ll be okay outside of Lima. 🙂 But, I realized that I cannot wait for the day when Brian and I will come home on furlough and some young lady will walk up to me and say, “I can do it because you did it!” I want to be that inspiring woman. I’m not there yet. I feel so far from it, too.

Hard to believe two months ago I felt old. Today, I feel like I’m fresh out of high school. That’s not a good feeling. If you’ve read my “Who Am I” you’ve seen that I hide the fact that I’m a PK. I think I’m going to start hiding my age, too.

South Dakota.

My husband grew up in a small town in South Dakota. He first took me out there when we were dating for our first Thanksgiving together. I remember we drove all night and he woke me up about ten miles from home. It was pitch black out and freezing cold. But, the stars! Oh, the stars. They were everywhere! I grew up in Vermont, so I’m not foreign to seeing lots of stars. But, this was totally different. There are no trees out west to block the view. It’s phenomenal. The moon was so bright, Brian turned off his headlights and we drove for a few miles with just the moonlight as our guide. So incredible.

I had a hard time adjusting to South Dakota when we first got married. It’s quite desolate compared to Vermont or Pennsylvania. I had to laugh the first time I saw a “real life” cowboy with the tight jeans, giant bell buckle, and 20 gallon cowboy hat wandering through Walmart stocking up for the winter. But, as time went by, I grew to love living out there. We would drive for hours just for fun and never see anybody. We would drive up into the hills and go hiking for our Christmas tree every year.

We would stand on our porch at the apartment or in our backyard at our house and watch the storms roll through. We would stand outside and admire the sunsets that went on and on as far as the eye could see. The wind would knock us over (literally!), the blizzards would snow us in, the cotton trees made us horribly sick, and the sun gave me the worst sunburns ever. But, I loved it out there.

This morning on the radio, I heard a Rich Mullins song I haven’t heard in awhile. It reminded me of home. It also expresses a lot of what I feel when I’m in South Dakota worshiping God. So, here’s the video. For those of you overseas who read this – I thought of you when I posted it. Hope it gives you a glimpse of home, even if you’re not from out west.

October 2008
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