Some photos from the 17th. Beks & I drove to Daytona to see Jess before she left. We were hoping to get there a little early. Beks drove on the way up (it was her saturn, me being car-less).
(credit: dams or beks, depending. nothing spectacular. we weren't creative geniuses)

We arrived at 9:15- way earlier than expected. So we wandered around in search of Starbucks, until we stumbled onto IBS. "There's got to be one around the speedway." Our chances seemed dim...What do ya know, a mini-Starbucks was hiding in a Target. We could hear them testing the track. I like the sound of speed but I wouldn't want to live close to it.

Amanda & I, at the loud table in Jimmy-John's where Stephen kept us in continual laughter.

After wandering around in a circle with the Corks, we called Ryan to get step-by-step directions...and finally made it to Jess's somewhat-surprise going away party.

Is Rummycube always that intense, or was it just us?
"I am NOT going to sit in the backseat all the way home!!"
(laughing) "Yeah Beks, it's a little weird driving your car--with you in the back. Like a package. "
"I've never sat back here before. It's really uncomfortable."
"Hurry up, I'm getting lonely."
"Yeah well I'm scared!"
On the way home, Beks unbuckled her seat belt for something. It refused to come back out. So I made her get in the back to work on it since we were with the crazies on the autobahn. (oops, i meant i-4) It was really funny at the time.


"can't anybody tell me what christmas means?!"

{isreal. by rachel.}

"In the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. All who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told...[they] returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen..."

What would've it been like to be those shepherds? Imagine living in Old Testament Israel. Just another night keeping an eye on the village sheep. The usual companions, the same stars. Then a bright light pours from the sky...You hear unearthly voices, singing about 'peace on earth'? The Messiah??!! The promised one your grandparents and great-grandparents spoke of? Imagine the shock of hearing that HE had arrived!! You'd almost forgotten...after all, this Messiah had been "coming" for how long? Isaiah's long dead. Israel has been to Babylon and back...yet he is real...and he's in Bethlehem, of all places! Dazed by wonder you follow your friends to town. Their excited chatter is lost in your swirling emotions. All expectations are shattered by the angel's words. You never dreamed of the Messiah as a baby. You'd imagined a warrior, raising an army and wiping out the Romans. Or maybe a great king, becoming more powerful than Cesar. A hero! Calling down fire from heaven to free his people. But a baby? Wonder of wonders...
You could never imagine this helpless child 33 years later; beaten, torn, and bloodied...Dying on a cross for your sins. Becoming the final atonement foreshadowed by the old testament sacrificial rituals. Satisfying the Holy God's wrath against sin. Yet, offering the greatest proof of the same God's mercy and love--destroying forever the veil before the "Holy of Holies".

Merry Christmas.
the start of the end, that was the beginning.


building a sorrowful lovliness

When the morning breaks
When the evening fails
I will write Your word upon my heart, oh Lord
When the fires burn
When the rain comes down
I can feel Your grace flow through me
Without a sound

Nothing is certain, but I'm certain of You
Pull back this curtain, let Your light in this room
And all that's true, I find inYou
The more I drink of Your word
The more I thirst for You

When the world dissolves
And the sun just flickers out
I will write Your word upon my heart, oh Lord
When the stars crash down
At the end of the age
I can feel Your touch
As You wipe my tears away

Building a sorrowful loveliness
Out of the darkness
Out of this furnace
I find You

Excepting the second verse (last I checked the sun was still shining behind the clouds) this song describes what God is doing in me right now. Better than I could. HE is constant, faithful, sustaining. I'm learning to love being sustained by Him. Not as if there is ever a time when I'm not sustained by Him-far from it! And that is not to say I have to learn to love it because I don't like it. It's because the times when I feel sustained the most, are the times I'm wondering how long I'll be "stuck" in circumstances I'd rather not walk through. Yet at the same time, the harder it is, the more dependant I am; the more dependant I am, the more I grow; and the more I grow, the more I love Him; the more I want to grow...Part of me is grateful for darkness. It's the same part of me that longs for home. It's what shows the Holy Spirit to be living and active in my life. It goes back to that old, old story...All of this would be impossible without the cross.


{photocredit: rachel claerbout, via emial from isreal}

"Remember these things, O Jacob, and Isreal...I formed you, you are my servant; O Isreal you will not be forgotten by me. I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! FOr the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Isreal." Is. 44:21-23



(the glasses survived.)

((photocredit: dad went to see the car in the junkyard and took pics. i don't get why{?}))

I intended to write nothing about tuesday. But I've been persuaded otherwise, because it's a testimony of God's grace. & such excitement isn't an everyday occurrence...

Driving to work that dreary Tuesday morning was just another day. The usual cars ran the usual stop signs. I noticed a Ford 250 hauling a trailer facing me, waiting to make a left turn. Common sense said he'd be there a long time. My car was less than 20ft away when he started turning. I slammed my brakes...it was so fast there was no time to think. As the dust settled, I realized it wasn't a little fender-bender. My ford's hood had slid under his bumper. My seatbelt wouldn't come loose, my door was jammed; toxic smoke mingled with airbag dust. Claustrophobic fear washed over me as I stared at the truck grill inches away from my cracked windshield...God showed me such kindness. Not only did He stop the truck from coming through the windshield, but also He surrounded me with compassionate people. The truck driver told the cops the truth (I had the right of way). The driver behind the truck stopped and turned my eyes upward: "God's watching out for you. You've no idea how He took care of you today". The firefighters were hilarious & kept me laughing so I never had a chance to cry. ("where's your pulse?" "she doesn't have a pulse, she's dead.") Mum came and helped me get my life out of my car. (despite my ridiculous phone call. "hey, can you tell annie i'll be late to work? i've been in a wreck i'm fine. but the car's not. click.")
I didn't go with the firefighters to the hospital cause I was fine. I thought I'd make it to work in the afternoon...haha. By the time we got home, I was so dizzy and sick I could hardly see. I lost my breakfast & my right side went numb head-to-toe. Mum dragged me to ER. I was to out of it to protest. I don't remember much...signing my name best I could when I couldn't see the line...praying...involuntarily breaking down in tears, just wanting to sleep so I didn't feel any more...crying more cause I felt bad for whining...at some point dad came and prayed for me...the IV kicked in, pain lessened to bearable and I just felt like a fool. I laid there wondering why I wasn't dead, why I wasn't in a coma, why God saved me. Meanwhile, Mrs J called Mum for something and Mum told her. It seems half the church knows. My parents never even called anybody (i would kill them). There was nothing wrong internally so the ER folks let me go with prescriptions. I thought it wasn't that big of a deal, but Mum said maybe everything was clear because so many people were praying. I don't know. I don't think it matters. God is faithful. I have good friends either way.

One good thing to come out of this is that I'll pray more earnestly for the people I know battling cancer. They endure pain on such a grander scale that I can't even imagine. I can't imagine endless IV's, drinking contrasts, CT's, chemotherapy, needles, etc being my everyday life.

My fam, doing for me everything I couldn't do for myself, putting up with my out-of-it-on-painkillers-good-for-nothingness, (and the mockery) and telling me that forced sleep isn't laziness.
Beks, for bringing me P&P and dark chocolate and visiting with me
"the guys" for the prayers and thoughtful suggestions. "take her chocolate"
everybody else who took time out of their busy day to pray for me and call me. I was blown away. I'm sorry I was loopy, tomorrow is my last day on meds so I'll be more alert Sunday.



some random things I'm thankful for:
the gospel
getting off work early
God's word
my fam
cold weather
the beks (+ my whole 2nd fam)
yummy food
good books
emma (job #1)
michaela, alyssa, chloe, olivia (job #2)
the lindseys driving down to hang with us
dell and corning
and last but not least...for God's sovereignty...
and for new chemo treatments being effective.

seriously, we have so much to thank God for. sometimes i think we forget how incredibly blessed we are. because we don't live in places like cuba or the streets of orlando; we look at all the things we can't or don't have. Rather than the wealth of blessings God has poured out on us. The fact that we can walk into a store like Publix and even have choices is mind-blowing to our brothers and sisters in some countries. i should live in a constant state of gratefulness--surely God's work on the cross is more than enough reason! have a good {american} thanksgiving. if you cooked for it, get first dibbs on the best seat for the football game. if only to sanctify the guys. haha.
say cheers to beks for a good post on her lonely blog.
// i stole mum's template. just for now. //


isaiah 40

"Lift your eyes to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing." (v.26)
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; the will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint." (v.28-31)

God is good.


life comes at you fast

photocredit: whoever snapped the "just engaged glow"}

Three little girls huddled in a confidential circle, whispering long after they were supposed to be asleep. Sharing secrets? No, they were wedding planners. 10-yr-old Steph was sharing her vast wealth of knowledge on the subject. Thier own weddings seemed too far away to even be certain--after high school, years of college...who knew where they'd be scattered? So they made a "pact": promising to fly to each other's weddings.
10 years later, that night is long forgotten. The three girls are still friends, still staying up long after they should be asleep, and high school is a thing of the past. But on this particular November evening they're flipping through bridal magazines...planning weddings? Not exactly. One wedding. Steph has a guy and his ring on her finger. "Beks, can you believe we'll be bridesmaids in 6 months?" "Yeah, we get to be pretty!!!" (hhmmm...)

Beks & I said she'd be engaged by December. I was prepared. But I wasn't prepared for my emotions to be so involved. (my fam didn't either. they're laughing at the change: a dams who gets suddenly hyper for no apparent reason, who became girly overnight) Steph has truly been a good sister to me. She's blessed me with her transparency, sharing what God was doing through the courtship. She made us laugh with her hyperness after dates, and told us all about the preciousness of mike. (who has set an awfully high standard!) There is something almost bittersweet about the first of your closest friend's engagment. It feels like we're big people for real now...it's more fun than we thought, eh beks?
"I give you leave to like him. You've liked many a stupider person..."

(i've always wanted to use that quote. steph and mike are very much jane and bingley!)


"Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous...For the righteous will never be moved, he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries..."
psalm 112:4,6-8

i want my heart to be steady in the light of His gospel. Even when crazy things happen, when joy and sorrow are strangely mixed. when loved one's cancer counts are up and the chemo becomes ineffective. when one of your dearest, closest friends becomes engaged (big cheesy smile!!!) my desire is to stand firm in the strength of the Lord, to be able to celebrate whole-heartedly with one's great joy after comforting one's great sorrow-in the same day.
the peace that surpasses understanding comes only after i surrender completely and trust in the One who rules the universe. great joy comes in the knowledge that i can do none of it on my own, that His grace is sufficient, and from the overwhelming truth of the gospel.


psalm 27

[photocredit: robin hood]

The Lord is my light and my salvation
The Lord is my stronghold, whom shall I fear?
When the enemy attacks, and I'm surrounded
I will not stumble, cause Lord you are near.
One thing I ask

One thing I seek
Is to dwell in Your house O Lord...
Just to gaze on Your beauty
Just to gaze on Your beauty...
Don't hide Your face from me...
We will see Your goodness
Yes we will see Your goodness

{psalm 27 as paraphrased by telecast}


canadians in florida.

recap of sczebelness. (amber this is for you, hon.)
short version: i kidnapped als & joe friday. swam in the ocean. got sunburned. saturday sutters, sczebels & my fam at seaworld. spent the night at sczebels hotel. went to metro. it was fun, als is funess, the sczebels are fun(ny), joe's shoes are fun. the end.

Friday was crazy, my driving was crazy, my phone rang like crazy. my first time being tour guide. i was atrocious. we had fun anyway. We went to the beach. First i took them to publix to get lunch. they laughed. i guess it's unusual? (after the northeast's sketchy grocery stores, i love publix. cause it's not ghetto.) they saw gators "in the wild". Als had the funniest
shark theories . I never heard of the-fear-of-sandbars-breaking-up before... A good sport. Joe didn't punch out a shark's tooth. but he has one, without a cool story. We saw teal jellyfish & made important discoveries about "chris evans". he likes puffins. eventually, we found Ron Jon's. after i nearly drove into Cape Canaveral. "dams they'll arrest you!"At Ron's the cashier thought I was canadian. {sweetness!} & told joe about a drink involving coke & whiskey."you get drunk fast & you don't even know it!" i won't share it or your parents might block my blog. haha. Saw Beks & Matt at work, hung out, matt to gave als a coconut candle she liked. we returned Joe. Als & I went to Amber's on the other side of the world with a stop at ghetto Kmart-a glorified Zellers. Als had her own cake. I think it effects her worse than dark chocolate. she talked almost 2hrs straight! even in her sleep. (next time you want to yell at josh, don't do it at 2am okay als?) The rest of us enjoyed her hyperness.
Saturday. Sutters, Sczebels& us at Seaworld. Rode Kraken mutiple times. Even Pat-once. Als saw sharks & found out my lie about being too small to hurt. oops. kay & sam are cute as ever. they STILL think i'm a kara. oh well. als, amber, joe &i went to chik-fil-a. they had a mocking-me fest. fun times. i laughed pretty hard. next was a starbucks stop. where i was promised i wouldn't be mocked about *it*. joe mocked me to sunday so i guess that was fake. thanks guys. way to keep our promises hey? amber, als& i went on a target run for toothbrushes. ended up on a "feminize als wardrobe" mission. amber is the style queen! "i thought i was fashion conscious!" "SHELL!!" traffic was awful. joe called & informed us we didn't have to stay till it closed. we almost felt bad for being gone so long but got square gum to make up for it. watched baseball. "i have a candle for ambiance." ate cinnamon buns. which civilized people eat with forks. amber is civilized. (als & i could've been, but we have brothers who ruined us.)sunday went to church. it was a little odd giving "the tour" & introducing als.
After saying goodbye, i sat in my car, knowing amber was near tears. i couldn't think of anything funny. till stephen suddenly leans in my window & says "hey dams, do you want a jar of soup? it's been rolling around in my car for 4days now" oh my lanta. way to save the day stephen. we laughed.
:the end.
there's a super-long sketchy post on a weekend with sczebels. (did i mention i love that family?) it'll be another year or two before we see them again. isn't it so God that we could have friendships on the other side of the continent?

tv shows. starring:
als-"doctrinally dyslexic"
dams-"little betty in a big world" (i think ugly betty is better...)
amber- "civilized style"


faithful wounds~

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend..." {prov 27.6a

How true! I was on the recieving end of the sword of truth today. A dear friend and I were discussing Benny's message over lunch. I brought up an area where I was "doing battle"and she cut through my confusion and helped me see how I could grow. ((laying out my sin like a full-colour photo. ouch.)) It was a faithful wound. I'm grateful for her gentle insight into my life.

There are times when we know of sin in our life; but our view is clouded. We don't know half as much as we think we do...we need help identifying our sin. We need somebody to speak the gospel into our lives from the outside. God knows we can't grow on our own; He knows we can't trust our own hearts. He could've made us differently. But He made us to not only want relationships but need them. It is nearly impossible to seriously apply the gospel to daily life without godly friends.
grateful to overflowing,

"I hear the Savior say
thy strength indeed is small
child of weakness watch and pray
find in me thine all and all..."

{if you want to read a good post that will make you laugh, check this out...}


don't take me seriously...

figured i'd ramble on the unfairness of cable tv. light-hearted posts are good. here goes:
there might be some hope this season. we are 1-2. what a great start! compared to last season. which was what, 0-10 or something? if we at least beat the team-that's-a-shame-to-american-football i'll be happy. oh wait. thanks to the greedy cable companies. it's not like i can watch any games. {i can't stand to waste my weekend watching tv. monday nights are different. if it's not a brilliant game i end up ditching my dad at halftime...but that's beside the point...the point is monday night football should be free}
you can't take football off free televison. you just can't. it's un-american! it's greed. the cable companies KNOW american guys are addicted to their monday night football...now the few who don't have it will buy cable just for the games. i'm cheesed. we should make them bring it back.
the end.
this post brought to you by:
the lindseys. i hold them fully responsible for my tolerance of football. it was all the fam gatherings where i was the only female cousin and therefore subjected to many football games. i had no choice but to start liking it! :)
my dad. cause he makes endless fun of my team (i know he's trying to hide the pain of being a denver bronco fan). it was this conversation the other night that i thought of when i wrote this:
{i'm informed there is no more dad-daughter football time on mondays}
Dams: "NO!!!" the packers play the eagles next week! if i don't watch it and tell blind brett where to throw they won't win!!"
Dad: "they won't win anyway"
Dams: "this is unconsitutional!! it's prohibitting every american's free right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!"
Dad: "you are so right. start a petition. write about it"

now that you're laughing at me, have a good weekend.



O God of the highest heaven,

Occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist they holy war;
manifest thy mighty power, and make me thine forever.

Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul,
served with my every act of life.

Thou hast loved me, espoused me, received me,
purchased, washed, favoured, clothed, adorned me,
when I was worthless, vile, soiled, polluted.
I was dead in iniquities,
having no eyes to see thee,
no ears to hear thee,
to taste to relish thy joys,
no intelligence to know thee;

But thy Spirit has quickened me,
has brought me into a new world as a new creature,
has given me spiritual perception,
has opened to me thy Word as light, guide, solace, joy.

Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part me from thy sympathy,
for thou hast drawn me with cords of love,
and dost forgive me daily, hourly.

O help me then to walk worthy of thy love,
of my hopes, and my vocation.
Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;
Protect me that no evil befall me;
Let me lay aside every sin admired of many;
Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm,
hold converse with thee,
That henceforth I may be salt of the earth
and a blessing to all.
~{valley of vision. regeneration..}

every morning, i get to start my day in fellowship with my Savior. may i not take this privilege lightly! it should never become something i do because i must; but because it is a joy, because my soul needs it so desperatly. while i am ashamed to admit it, the fact stands that without His grace i would not desire His presence. may i never forget that it is mercy beyond reason that He allows me to see it for what it is: an undeserved delight.


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the Name! I'm fixed upon it,
Name of Thy redeeming love.

Hither to Thy love has blessed me;
Thou hast brought me to this place
And I know Thy hand will bring me,
Safely home by Thy good grace.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Bought me with His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood-washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send Thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

i love the words to this hymn. it reminds me of the fact that i am nothing. i wouldn't love God apart from Him giving me the desire too...i wouldn't have chosen Him on my own...i wouldn't even desire holiness, much less pursue it; if not for His grace. what a comfort! in knowing that it's by grace alone i strive for godliness. i need not despair at my great weakness, for it is when i am aware of my own inadequateness that God is glorified. it is then that i am more aware of His strength, and most reliant on His grace to sustain me. it is then that i centre my life on the gospel, the one truth that makes all this possible.
what a most blessed hope is this great and wondrous gospel.


oddness on a monday

i agree with Carolyn McCulley. everybody needs a laugh on mondays. check out her blog.
which may or may not make you laugh.

"i'd rather be a loser then have an average blog." ((cj mahaney))
i take that as good news. it seems to imply that one cannot be both a loser and have an average blog at the same time. therefore, i must not be a loser. big news!
(don't pick apart my logic. let me believe my delusions.)
oh wow. i think the heat in my head is affecting me adversely. i am beyond random ramblings...
trusting that God will carry her through the work week and keep the kiddos from getting whatever it is she has,

"i give you thanks, o Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods i sing your praise...give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word...all the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord..."


when God uses everyday language.

wisdom from my best friend.

"Yes, He is faithful even when we are not. Or when we choose to throw tantrums instead of quietly trusting. He brings us to Himself, and then keeps us there by His own mighty hand. Such is His benevolence to us. So why are we tempted to turn and pout instead of pressing into Him when we face trouble? We can do nothing for ourselves. We are such tiresome creatures and yet He loves us so profoundly. " ~mum.

Thanks mum.
((i'm hoping i grow up to be half the wife, mother& friend you are.))



God's grace. Wow. There are a million ways He lavishes that gift on us. What a mindblowing gift it is...It seems I find a new, practical means of this grace evidenced in my life everyday. I seriously could not imagine going through life and not knowing this grace.

I am grateful for the insanity of my life right now, because it is showing me my incredible dependance (stealing als word there cause it's so true) on His grace.


"For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known..."
1 corinthians 13.9-12

i cannot say that i understand why people suffer. oh, i know all the 'right things' you're supposed to say, i know we live in a fallen world, i know about living through consequences of other's sin... but when suffering is staring me in the face, i know of no words to comfort. and the only thing i have to say is this: i know that we are in the hands of God. the hands that hung the very stars in the heavens. the hands that paint the sky every morning. the hands that made life in the first place. i know this One is good, faithfulness everlasting.

that is enough. for me.


God is good.
Faithful. Gracious. Merciful. Holy. Glorious. Almighty....

"a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. i would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour. No good thing does he withold frpm those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!"


i miss these kids. jo the man, little snugly, & 'precious' bre. they should be home by 8pm. joyousness!
ouch. i'm realizing those photos aren't very kind. i hardly had any to choose from. i'm thinking i didn't even take these ones. (my bros are making funny faces to entertain the californian's toddlers.)
no photos of mum. at least none by herself. what is it with my fam and avoiding pictures?

"Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring & the mainstay of our joy here. It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. Here we are weary &toil worn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labour shall no more bedew the workers brow, & fatigue shall be forever banished...Here we are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted within, that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we shall enjoy the victory, where the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, &the sword shall be sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, "Well done, good & faithful servant." We have sufferedbereavement...but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves are unknown things. Here sin is a constant grief to us, but there we shall be perfectly holy...Oh! is it not joy, that you are not to be in banishment for ever, that you are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inhereit Canaan? Nevertheless let it be never said of us, that we are dreaming about the future & forgetting the present, let the future sanctify the present to hightest uses. Through the Spirit of God the hope of heaven is the most potent force for the product of virtue; it is a fountain of joyous effort, it is the cornerstone of cheerful holiness."
~ Spurgeon


before the throne. of grace..

((photo credit brianwells//wyoming06))

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of Grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God

a random song spun off the computer. wasn't even in a playlist. it became a means of grace. causing what had been a struggle for joy to become no longer a fight, but a definitive choice. the overflow of a grateful heart--grateful for mercy, grateful for the cross, and grateful for the amazing grace God pours out daily. that grace that gives strength to make it through the longest days, the kind of strength that no starbucks can ever bring.
starbucks is a good metaphor...coffee acts on our minds like grace acts on our hearts. it awakens and energizes.

so. go read romans 8, get an iced caramel macchiato with a double shot and then worship God all the way home. it's the best way to recover after physio-therapy that i know of. *



"this is true..."

{what i found on my bed. &dark chocolate on the island. sweet of them, hey?}

i'm home. finally. took longer than planned. several hours passed between airport arrival and home arrival...but i'm here.
no matter how much wanderlust one may have, home is still oh-so-nice. that is, when your fam is in it. without them it's just a place to crash. it doesn't feel so very nice after all...that's how it was a few minutes ago. sad to say, i wasn't having a very God-glorifying thought pattern. there i was with multiple things to be grateful about/for (the greatest that should be ever present in my mind&heart: the gospel). i wasn't thinking about even one of them! ouch.
God wasn't content to let me wallow in my sin unchecked. He broke in. Holy God shoved aside the sinfullness of my mind. This perfectly sinless, righteous God was merciful enough to speak to an unholy being. One who is sinful-beyond-all-reason...but is covered in the righteousness of His Son. what a happy thought indeed...what grace there is in a gentle rebuke where He opens blinded eyes to see things in the light of His Holiness...

dams. aka :betty:

((no mom, i won't forget dad in my sleep-deprived state. i'll be at the airport at 10:40 to pick the bomb.com up. and i wont be "4yrs too late". haha. only since it's night time i'll have to wear my glasses-made ghetto by kay. we shall see how that works...))


oh canada

the rumours are true. i'm leaving the country. haha. well, at least for a week. now when i appear to have fallen of the face of the earth, you'll know that i'm really just camping in the wilds of lake whatever. (or my plane crashed over texas. haha. *joke*)
i leave tommorrow in a delta plane on a northwest flight. confusing, eh? **credit goes here to dad who called the airline for me. i couldn't get through. actually, i didn't know what i was doing and was trying to get out of talking on the phone**

my fam is going to be scattered. i leave tommorrow. dad leaves monday for a business trip in denver. mom & the kids leave mid-week for new york. & virginia to hang with the lindseys. i'm kinda bummed about not seeing 'the boys', but i can't be everywhere at once. cousins are easier to visit than canadians.
there's my life for the next week. when i come home it'll be interesting. all night flying, get home, crash in an empty house; pick dad up from the airport later that night (no, we didn't plan that). work on tuesday. the good thing about coming home to an empty house is that the fam isn't all dissapointed when i fall asleep before telling them anything.
have fun. enjoy school. (muahaha)



O praise Him...

when life is not-so-very-nice and crazy-beyond-all-sanity; it makes me more grateful than ever for the cross. the cross where a King laid His life down for me. while i was yet hating Him and wallowing in sin...the cross that bridged this terrible chasm of sin. this cross that tore the curtain separating God and man. o praise God for the cross! for now there is no chasm between the two, and we can have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. (!) as if that isn't enough to blow my mind, i am allowed-even commanded-to cast my burdens into His hands and draw from His strength!

"Praise waiteth for thee,
and to render it is my noblest exercise;
This is thy due form all thy creatures,
for all thy works dislay thy attributtes
and fulfill thy designs;
the sea, dry land, winter cold, summer heat,
morning light, evening shade are full of thee,
and thou givest me them richly to enjoy.
Thou art King of kings and Lord of lords;
At thy pleasure empires rise and fall;
All thy works praise thee and thy saints bless thee..."

~valley of vision-'God Honoured'

(("your passport has been processed and mailed to you". oh happy day!!))


xtreme pics

since rebekah did such a great job of reviewing the best sermon,
i'll just share the fun &games i got on film. well, others used my
cam too, so i'm not exactly sure who took what.

^^kinda looks like a mini, square NA set, eh? .

the graffiti wall. {below}where lots of people wrote alot of things.
the beks. both of them! :)

hangin' with new orleans. katie, ericka & evan^^^
^the $3 dollar cards.

alas. tech failure. the rest of my pics are doing throwing the x-in-a-box tantrum.

SO gonna share some serious about xtreme after all. here we go. friday night. (ministry night) during worship, kyle stopped & told all the kids to go find their parents. then, the kids laid hands on them & sang "Your Name" over them. "Your name, is a strong & mighty tower; Your name, is a shelter like no other; Your name, let the nations sing it louder-cause nothing has the power to save, but your name..." Looking around at everyone & being there with Jos & parents; hearing all of us singing to just kyle's guitar...such a God's-Spirit-is-so-tangible moment...then the word for siblings. made me glad that despite our fights & sinfulness, we're pretty tight. good relationships. anyway, jos & i stood there with our arms around each other. it lasted like 5min. then our not-quite-so-touchy-feely-personalities made themselves known. it started feeling a little awkward. so we just grinned at each other instead. it was funny.

Another thing I've carried with me since xtreme: any time I'm tempted to complain or whine; I remember that tiny dot that's our sun. then the tiny dot of our galaxy & how i was completely lost in a headache by the 4th teeny dot. I wonder how God can stand our finite, miniscule-beyond-all-reason humanity. so today as i was feeling ADD, restless, & unable to focus; I remembered the greatness of God. Grant's comment (terribly paraphrased) "in light of this greatness...if we are ever 'bored' something is terribly wrong." It made me want to stretch my mind to the limit. find some way to discover more of this vastness. it led me (somehow) to Grudem's. I'm not brilliant. I proved it by an insane, sudden desire to read it cover to cover. haha. that's beyond my time/mental capacity. so i bit off a slightly smaller bite. still a challenge. hopefully by God's grace, He'll help me wrap my mind around 30% of it.
I've been overcome by a desire for theology/doctrine lately. i want to learn. but not earthly learning, I don't want to go to college yet. It seems so odd! I think it shows God's grace. I KNOW it's all Him. but now i'm confusing everyone; delving into what dams has been pondering lately& things God started years ago. since even i don't understand all of what He did/is doing; I'm gonna shut up. now beks will see why i've been staying away from the deep lately....out.

Praise is rising
Eyes are turning to You- we turn to You
Hope is stirring
Hearts are yearning for You-we long for You

When we see You, we find strength to face the day
In your presence, all our fears are washed awa

You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises
Hosanna, Hosanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome you here Lord Jesus

Hear the sound of hearts returning to You
We turn to You
In your kingdom, broken hearts are made new
You make us new


july 4th pictures://}*

a good thing about fl: gorgeous sunsets.
^the oh-so-adorable littlest meridith

"robin hood" on the far left; "peter pan" on the far right. bri-bri in the middle}}}

^waterskiing. ^
story here. beks and i are on the left. dad and joe are on the right. i couldn't resist challenging dad. (mr. competitive). i didn't know his waverunner went up to 70mph. ours? 47. that's as high as i got & i was pushin' it fast as possible. ours also had the wonderful trait of stalling every 5min. then dad--quite the gentlemen--would speed by & swerve. we got soaked. (i can't do it. almost threw beks off trying. sorry beks). i must say, when we sat there forever &it still didn't start, he came to our rescue. fun&fast times.

nice swing mike. haha.//

it was so neat out on the dock, around 7pm, sunset. the lake was smoother than glass.

july 4th post 1.2 & work

Independance Day. I never was too patriotic. That was before a course in school I expected to be boring & pointless. (government). I was mostly right. Yet it wasn't just government blah; but how the US government came about; why; etc. Historical stuff that should've been boring but wasn't. Reading it made me realize that being an American isn't something to be ashamed of. In fact, I totally saw the hand of God in our history. (not to say it's limited to ours. we just have the best. *joke*) The constitution is pretty dang good. So now I'm patriotic. Technically, "my kingdom is in heaven..." to {mis}quote Wayne Brooks. There's my late Independance day post...
This year several fams got together. Good food made by moms, fried chicken, waverunners, tons of kids/few adults ratio, football...yeah. It was like the good old times.
>>>& Here is where I somehow deleted all the uploaded photos. and it says i need a new post? oddness.
i feel like a really lame postaholic.


an average day

8:20 am. I'm in the kitchen scrounging up breakfast when dad says "When were you supposed to go to Annie's?" "8:45". "No, she's on the phone. 8:15." Can you say frantic? I made it to her house in record time. At least she laughed. Never done anything that blonde before.
I work for the wonderful Mcleans. Michaela (k-k)-8; Alyssa(lissy)-6; Chloe(chlo) 4; Olivia (livi)-1. I first started babysitting for them around 14. Now I nanny. Of sorts. I do laundry, errands, organize, help with homework, & take care of the girls. It's a good job.

Today, I got alot more FMT (future mom training)than I wanted. We went to Mcdonald's for breakfast. Livvy's sin nature was showing. She was a screaming, back-arching, i-want-my-way-NOW little thing. Throwing food, climbing out of the seat onto the table, spilling things. Attracting the attention of the whole resturaunt to an 18 yr old girl fighting a baby. Humbling experiance...I forgot how exhausting toddlers are. A problem with playing mom: your ears haven't developed the tuning-out ability...Next she raised all heck leaving the library. Michaela told me Chloe brought a book we didn't check out. AFTER I'd wrestled Miss strong-willed into the carseat. No alarms went off when she "stole" it, but when I went in, they came alive. It's all by God that I remained un-stressed. On the way home, I discovered a use for Zradio: calming a screaming toddler for 5min. After 5min, it serves as a drowning out effect. The older girls were great: not whining, trying to entertain Livvy, making me laugh with their crazy nicknames & sayings. After that it gets boring....etc. A long-ish post for the sake of my writer's itch. (yeah, i know this isn't real writing, but it'll do for now. my wrist is too sore to hold a pen)
thankful for God's grace.
&thinking she's glad not to be a mom at this particular moment in time,



Happy Birthday to my very favourite Sczebel!! 15, eh? Fun times! She can now learn the art of driving...maybe. I don't know Canadian rules. Or sczebel rules for that matter.
Anyway, a birthday is a day to honour. Something I really stink at when it comes to using words. I'll try. I just wish I could see her great smile. Since she'll probably laugh at me when she reads this.
Where to begin...
Alysha Lynn Sczebel is precious. {she's gonna tell me how cheesy this is eventually, i may as well start now. :)} But really, that's the word that comes to mind when I think of her. Funny, loving, adorable. She's got a gift for encouraging. Even if she doesn't think so. More times than not, an everyday email from Aly encourages. Especially if it's a hard day. God uses her to make me laugh. It's like seeing a zinnia in full bloom during a rainstorm. (hence the pic. it should be one of her but I have no recent ones) She's not afraid to confront you. Often she convicts me without even knowing. But if she sees something that needs to be corrected, she will. And she does it in humility. She's also "wise beyond her years". When I first met her, I thought she was 16. Not 14. Admittedly, she gets crazy on too much dark chocolate, but that's got nothing to do with age. (java, java, java- haha!) Her pursuit of godliness provokes me. She loves Christ and wants to bring Him glory with her life. Something she does already. It's gonna be neat to see what God does in her life this year and how she grows.
Have a fun birthday! Miss you terribly. All this pink is for you...

feeling cheesy but with a great big grin on her face anyway,