"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.


"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..."



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,



home. i like that word. just cause one loves travel doesn't mean that one doesn't love and enjoy coming home.
drove back from nc yesterday. mum and the kids drove up wednesday to drop off the "next generation" (mira & bre) and stay a day before dragging back the original generation.
fun times in the mountains. busy. doing what i'm not sure...certianly not working. the furnace no longer exists, so we didn't traipse off to carpentry/wood barns & collect scrap wood. no log splitting this year. past memories: finding treasures, splinters, inhaling sawdust, tossing around huge chunks of wood (that were really too heavy for us) country rides in pick-ups, cuts and bruises...those were fun, hard working summers.

damsta and beks (muahaha) had a crazy fun 2weeks. 60 degree mornings, a whole mountain to roam-what more could you ask? i should post 10 highlights or something. ya'll aren't interested. besides, my dad's editting a wedding behind my head. he's working with music the bride gave him. it's throwing me off track to hear keith urban, coldplay, and a most depressing not-love-song all in the same minute.
glad to see my fam. and sleep in my own bed. and see my grandpa's truck we have on loan. that i cant drive. :(. at least i can look...

2 funny things about being home: 1)can't believe how FLAT this peninsula is. Thank God He put me in the single hillish part of the whole state. :) 2)forget how humid it is...stepped out of the car at home and the heat slammed into me like a mac truck. gonna take some re-adjustment!
its good to be home.
i miss my little spunky. Bre is staying there for a week with Mira. her 1st time away from home with no family with her. i'm sure she'll have a blast. GP making her laugh and teasing her; Grammy taking care of them; and Tante Lisa providing fun times. It'll be 3 weeks of not seeing her by the time she's home. can i make it?


o brother where art thou

(the title has NOTHING to do with this post)

first of all. this post is the 108th i've done. i guess it ought to be considered a milestone since my 105th passed by without any fanfare. how sad.

second, this blog will be quiet for awhile. the author is running around in NC. falling down mountains, taking pictures, seeing snakes, eating real meals (it feels strange to be home for dinner every night!) and all that stuff. not much time for blogging.

BUT since my fam never hears much from me when i am on trips (it slightly annoys them. i'm trying to do better) and they always want to know everything but i never remember and they don't understand half my pics...beks and i came up with the idea of doing a tripbloggish thing to keep them updated. (another milestone. that's got to be the WORST and longest run-on sentance in the universe) or at least slightly more updated than my short weekend phone calls and one sentance emails.

so if you get bored enough you can go check it out. it might be interesting. most likely not. www.merryandpip.blogspot.com
and please tell us who ralph is. we don't know a ralph....
sorry if this is jumbled. or doesn't make sense. i'm talking to beks and looking at mountains while writing.


:life. [&laughter]

hey ya'll. how's it goin'?

Beks is going to point out I never finished writing about the 25th floor. Probably never will. (except to say that if joe has a steel pole in his hands, you'll feel much safer. until you realize the opposite end of it is at eye level... if he swings, it'll take out your head in the process.) I believe she'll survive the trauma.
Don't have much time, getting ready to hit the road for NC. We would be on the road right now. If it weren't for my bad habit of spinning out suburbans and slamming them into overpass barriers. Really need to kick that habit... (i hit a patch of fl ice. therein losing control. wasn't anything i could've done. i was even being careful, about 30mph. not drag racing again or anything...[joke])

found this on another blog. i nearly died laughing. can they take themselves seriously?! ((do ya'll canadains have a 'rock paper scissors' league? haha))
" Judge Rules Dispute to Be Settled By 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' MatchBy MATT SOKOLOFF
June 7, 2006-- A federal judge ordered two attorneys to settle their dispute by using the children's playground game "rock, paper, scissors." The ruling yesterday by Judge Gregory Presnell of the U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla., stated that he was so dissatisfied with the case's "latest in a series of Gordian knots" that he is fashioning "a new form of alternative dispute resolution."

In the dispute at hand, the two attorneys could not agree about where to take the sworn statement of a witness in a case concerning payment of insurance claims.
The judge's order states that the game will take place on June 20, 2006, at 4 p.m. at a "neutral site." If the two attorneys can't agree on a neutral site, the judge said they will have to meet on the courthouse steps. If one of the lawyers disputes the outcome of the game, he can appeal it, Presnell added. Presnell wouldn't comment on his unusual ruling, but he isn't the only one taking it seriously.

"When someone uses rock, paper, scissors to adjudicate any kind of dispute that is a positive moment for the world," said Matti Leshem, co-commissioner for the USA Rock Paper Scissors League.

Leshem says that he does have some concerns about the rules they will use. He wants to know the number of pumps before the throw or if "illegal" throws will be allowed. To make sure official USARPS rules are followed, Lesham said he and his staff are willing to fly down to Florida to oversee the match.

"We will make sure that rock, paper scissors is not made a mockery by the legal system. When people take rock, paper, scissors into their own hands, mayhem can occur," he said.

The USA Rock Paper Scissors League is getting ready for its national championship on June 12, 2006, where the winner will receive $50,000. The tournament will air on A&E. "

"postive moment for the world" ..wow. ((article courtesy http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2050910))


prayer requests

break from the series.

1) please pray for my mom's fam. her parents. specifically you can pray for her dad, who's been dealing with gangrene in his right foot since winter. he had 4 toes amputated in april and went home right before NA. now he has it on his left heel. they say he'll lose the left leg from the knee down. we've no idea how soon. he's the last person i can imagine losing his independance...anyway, for now he's in the hopsital here in otown while his wife is in t-town undergoing chemo. it's hard on them to be apart; each feels like they should be taking care of the other.
2)also pray for my mom, her sisters, and bro. her whole family relies on mom (and sisters) more than they know. she's such a comfort. serving heroically and lifting spirits. she's showing me how to honor God while walking through fire. She knows how to be strong in the strength of grace, with all reliance on God. she amazes me.
3)pray for a little girl named Emma and her fam. she was run over by a van today and was airlifted to rochester, ny.
4)pray for whitney, my friend. she's going to Iraq!

sorry if this isn't very uplifting. i couldn't do a lighthearted post with all this on my heart. it would feel like lying. God is gracious and faithful--but sometimes it's harder to see.

out to look at the stars


the afterglow v.2.0

((this will most likely bore ya'll. but beks is a good friend. also she's gotten this idea about becoming as stubborn as i am & i'm not up to outlasting her. *grins*))

Day 02. in which jess, pam& dami discover the 25th floor &get lost.
Not sure how I'll remember this... 2nd day starts with worship & message by Mark Dever: "The Story: understanding the story line of the bible". Very good, very fast. You should download it right now. He spoke some about how the OT customs foreshadow the NT gospel. (not a whole lot but something i love studying)
Pam, Britt Hall & I stood in line for 1 hr & ate a quick lunch with random folks. I left early for the hotel to get Pam's jacket. Somehow I took a wrong tunnel & ended up at another hotel. Thanks to the sczebels I had a close seat anyway. Mike Bullmore spoke on applying the gospel to all of life. Excellent. Are we making gospel connections? "A man is not so inclined to give up when he sees in panorama".

After the message, we prayed for Beks who wasn't feeling so hot. Pam, Jess and I went back to our room. She wasn't there. We figured she couldn't sleep, but we couldn't find her anywhere. We ambled 'round the hotel taking random pictures. Of chandeliers, mirrors, each other, people we didn't know, staircases, elevators... (thankfulness for the delete button.)
Pami remembered a set of elevators she'd discovered by the causeway. We decided to go see if we could find a shortcut. Stepping in, we became girlish excitement because they had more floors on this side than the normal elevators. All the way up to 25. A sense of the unknown waiting to explored. We decided to hit the top first. Up we jolted...

((to be continued. singles are going to a movie tonight &my fam is celebrating my birthday first so i'm off))


Happy Birthday Kanga(dami)

haha ive hijacked d's blog!(with a little help from mom) i just wanted to tell her how much we all love her. d you've always been a great big sister and one of my best friends, you've been second mom to me, nate and bre for as long as i can remember! God has given you so many gifts and talents. Now you're eighteen and have matured alot from the little girl who would lead her gullible little bro into all kinds of trouble(i.e eyelashes, and late night benie baby wars!) your such a gift and i love ya kanga,


p.s this is the only hijack don't worry!


the afterglow-- v1.1

I'm taking responsability and posting. Even though I still feel the least qualified (being the most clueless). This doesn't let Josh off the hook. I'm giving ya'll something to read til he has time to write a post that makes me say"that's what i was trying". The curse of me: taking twice as long to say anything worthwhile.

Sitting here in the afterglow of NA. What do I write? Wonderful messages? Incredible worship? Funny stories? Talking like a smoker? 25th floor?4 days of very little real food, less sleep, rich teaching, good friends and falling down escalators has all blurred together. I still feel glowish inside. Full of the light of the Glory of God. I know that's so lame and sappy, but when I got home after a most interesting 17-hr bus ride Dad says: "I came home to see the glow of Christ on your face and I'm not dissapointed." Conviction. Why can't I live like that? So close to God that even when I can't stand up straight my face reflects the gospel. What a testimony to the world! Alas. Hopefully even when the glow wears off our faces we'll keep it burning in our souls. Finding gospel connections, thinking globally, living locally and killing fuzziness.
Dang. Haven't really even started yet and I'm over the word limit! How 'bout 1 post for every NA day? Seems like too much; but it's the only way I can think of to keep my posts in semi-managable bites. (I told ya'll not to make me do this) Then ya'll can skim them over and find a little something from each day. I may abandon ship if anybody writes a brilliant post that renders my words no longer needed. here goes.

Day One. In which we meet Pami & use a revolving door for 1st time.
Jess D, Rebekah and I get to the Galt at 11:30. We somehow avoid fighting over the shower after the all night bus ride and exclaim over our room.(look a fridge! & a wardrobe!)I meet Pam in the lobby. For the first time. Hugs, both of us talking, laughing...
After fulfilling our desperate need for Starbucks we explore Louisville. Wandering the city, getting to know eachother, taking pictures. This is the 1st escalator incident. Jess & I decide to go up the down. Finding it risky fun, we race. My foot got caught & I end up falling down several stairs, barely saving my face. literally. For dinner we go to the Spahgetti Factory with the Sczebels. Or not. It's packed beyond all reason. They drag me away from the fascinating chandeliers and off to Subway. A ghetto subway with no door. Finally the boys head for a meeting so us girls continue alone. Our street becomes increasingly ghetto so we go "home".
The main auditorium is decked out. Coloured lights & round screens that remind me of hanging trampolines.
Josh Harris spoke on Rediscovering Humble Orthodoxy. "What does it mean for us to be a generation approved by God?" ((handle the truth carefully, live it personally & represent it humbly)) Go download the messages. Hear them for yourself.
My family group is interesting. We're all pretty tired and don't make sense.
All take note: Jess is wise and goes to bed. Beks, Pam & I wander. When I do crash I'm starting to feel the 43hrs without sleep. ..
~the end~
((being the first day there wasn't much interesting. the other ones won't be so boring i promise. i think. after all, we haven't met beks "him" yet. HAHA ;))


NA in a paragraph

Hi. I know ya'll expect a NA post. Can't do it. Yet. (josh is better qualified to write a good deep post anyway)
To tide you over, NA in a paragraph:
Spiritually, it was incredible. Worship was awesome. Some new songs. So much rich teaching. Trying to absorb it all at once is like trying to eat a whole cheesecake. You know you can't get it all. I feel like I need a week to study my notes and pray! Message highlights: Eric Simmons on Evangelism; C.J. on Isaiah 53; and Mike Bullmore on Applying the Gospel. My spririt feels as refreshed and alive as my body feels exhausted and dead. Now to get out there and share it.
Great times of fellowship with friends from New Orleans, Texas and Canada. Lots of laughter, starbucks, escalator running, some good correction, a little food; even less sleep.

I'll attempt a real NA post. someday. I haven't been able to do anything but alternatly eat and sleep. I'm to tired to even put sheets on my bed. I keep falling asleep on the floor anyway.
Wondering if she'll sound like a "little smoker" for the rest of her life,
the damsel.

"Jesus paid it all. all to Him I owe. "


florida icicles

These pictures are of our orange trees, after one of our Febuary freezes. (yes, fl gets freezes every winter). Orange season runs Dec.-March. But they're not freeze hardy trees. You have 2 options to keep your oranges from getting destroyed: 1)Cover them with frostcloth or 2) Run your hose all night so the water freezes on the plants. (this also keeps your pipes from freezing and consequently bursting) I forget the scientific explanation of how freezing trees with water keeps them from "freezing"... Every year, I beg to hang a hose in the branches so we can make icicles. We never do. But this year, the trees were too big to cover. The next morning, we went out and took pics of the rare sight. (actually, i doubt they'll be shrinking so we'll have to do this every year now.)
There you have the not-so-strange tale of how we get icicles in Florida. They melt rather fast. But it's fun while it lasts. (especially the standing around in 30 degrees in flip flops. not wisdom.)



"So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power,; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body....the first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the second man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have born the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed....When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gave us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
~1 Cor. 16:42-58

"The I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away...I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven for God, as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be thier God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away....

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing down from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city...No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them lgiht. And they will reign for ever and ever."
((Rev. 21:1-4; 22:1-5))

waitin' for someday...



"Our own world...is only a shadow or copy of something in [His] real world"

"C.S. Lewis paints a beautiful picture of heaven in the final book, The Last Battle.
"There was a railway accident", said Aslan softly. "Your father and mother and all of you are, as you used to call it in the Shadow-lands, dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All thier life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page. Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which on one on earth has read; which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before."
"I have come home at last! This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this." ~Randy Alcorn, In Light of Eternity

"I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same." ~ C. S. Lewis

"I'm standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She's an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky come down to mingle with each other. And then I hear someone at my side saying, "There, she's gone."
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminshed size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says "There, she is gone" there are other eyes watching her coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout "Here she comes!" ~19th century clergyman Henry Van Dyke {on death}

"It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one". ~Lewis

((this is completely seperate. nothing to do with eternity...my bro and dad just came home from paintballing. i've never been. not because i've never wanted to, but because either i don't have time or it's guys only. considering what a mess my guys are now, it looks like alot of fun. jos says i'd love it. so i should have a girls only paintball trip. any of ya'll up for it?))


I don't think of believers in other countries very often. God's people, called out from those around them to be pinpricks of light. Often they are abused and persecuted for following His call. What would it be like? To live surrounded by spiritual darkness, working faithfully to spread light--yet seeing little fruit? If any! Been convicted lately that I should be praying for these places and people. Much more than I do.
After all, who knows which of us might find ourselves in similar situations someday? Our lives are not our own. God could use any of us in any way He chooses. Amazing. Maybe a little scary?


nothing redeeming in this post

THE DELL IS BACK!! here's a bit of randomness from yesterday's adventure before i go to a pharmacy and pick up pain(meds) for dad:

The best scenerio for eating cinnamon buns: Run out and buy (pick up irish cream coffee too) at your friendly neighborhood Albertson's. At midnight with 3 friends. Then you must go home and watch The Village while eating them and drinking coffee. Not sure how that makes them taste oh-so-much better, but it does. Probably the music more than anything else.

if your friends have older brothers, it's okay if your car runs out of gas. just so long as you tell them beforehand. (don't bother trying to explain how highly unrealistic thier logic is)

if you know somebody well enough, the two of you can plan a good prank using facial expressions and well-directed looks. verbal evasion might be neccessary, if the person you intend to prank is sitting between you. even if you don't carry it out, they'll be paranoid. I.e. "i hate it when you two get that sparkle in your eye! i never know if you're planning or if you've already done it!"

last but not least. biblical fellowship is possible at 2am. but after 3, don't even attempt to be serious. by then everything becomes hilarious. and you feel incredibly stupid, decide to not talk in an attempt to be quieter; yet all comes to naught if you so much as look at someone you're laughing again...

good times were had by all.


the gift of brothers

Brothers. What would life be without them? Calmer? Maybe. Certainly boring. Sometimes we talk about brothers like they're aliens sent for our sanctification. In reality they're a precious gift. I can't imagine life without my little-and not so little-brothers.
Sometimes they are incomprehensible. Other times you look over and know exactly what he's thinking, causing you to burst into laughter at seemingly nothing. Bros know how to push your buttons just right till you get mad-but in such a way that you're laughing to hard to do much about it. They make incessant fun of you for getting upset; but in doing so remind you that it really doesn't matter in light of eternity. They hate to see you sad and will do anything to cheer you up. They can't find anything: They'll stand in the middle of a room saying "I can't find it" until you walk in and see it somewhere obvious. They're always willing to help you with something technical. They teach you more than you ever wanted to know about guys. If you try to explain how girls think, you get a blank stare of confusion. Later they surprise you by doing exactly what you need when you need it. (making you wonder how much they know and don't let on to...) They give you the ability to laugh hysterically at your friends from all-female-families. They break into a wrestling match in the middle of your room, create an authentic-looking war zone.

There is a point to this gushy rambling. J, (my not so little brother) is 14. He'll be driving next year! I remember when he was just a toddler, happily following me into whatever trouble I found. He's becoming a God-honoring guy. I can't wait to see how God uses him. He has stuck with the piano 4 years and never given up. He's a better artist than I could ever hope to be. He's got good rhythm--fools around on the drum set in the garage and gets a good beat going. When I take him somewhere, he's willing to stick up for me in any situation. He can be thoughtful. He's quite creative--in such a completely different way from me that his insight brings a perspective I'd never think of.
I want to thank him for being such a great "little" brother. After all, I'M STILL TALLER!! 2inches may not seem like much but it counts.

Happy Birthday. I love you. Thanks for all the laughter-and sanctification- you've given us. I'm proud of you (maybe in a few years we'll have a youth band...at least a pianist...i'm counting on you)

~still the kangaroo

{off to find a present. aaacck!}



O Wondrous Love

O wondrous love
That will not let me go
I cling to You
With all my strength and soul
Yet if my hold should ever fail
This wondrous love will never let me go

O wondrous love
That's come to dwell in me
Lord who am I
That I should come to know
Your tender voice assuring me
This wondrous love will never let me go

I?m resting in the everlasting arms
In the ever faithful heart
The Shepherd of my life
You carry me on
Your mighty wings of grace
Keeping me until the day
I look into your eyes

O wondrous love
That sings of Calvary
The sweetest sound
The sinner's ever known
The song of your
Redeeming Son
Whose wondrous love
Will never let me go

O wondrous love
That rushes over me
I can't escape
This river's glorious flow
You overwhelm
My days with good
Your wondrous love
Will never let me go

Sometimes the headlong pace of my life gets overwhelming. I start looking for something to "cut out". Sometimes, that's necessary. But in this season, there isn't really anything to "cut". What I really need to do is turn everything over to God. Letting Him not just lead me, but be my sufficiency. How easy it is to start taking things back into my own hands! Sometimes it's a choice. Other times it's me starting to sub-consciously attempt to control the seeming whirlwind. of life. But God is always quick to point out my sin when I'm blind. I'm not quick to see it. I don't want to know how black my heart is. But once I confess, His blood is there to wash it clean.
What a comfort to know I rest in His hands. To know that I am not in control, to know that I can't mess up His plans, to just rest. Rest is good. And it is possible to rest when your world is orderly chaos.

((isn't it great how we can still write when our voices get lost? mine is sneaking off to neverland. i suppose i'll be voiceless. for however long it's gone. i do hope it's not too long. after all, i don't think a voiceless greeter. will be very helpful. on Grace's first. official. sunday!!))


oranges and sunshine

((title has nothing to do with this post. it's orange season)) {{WARNING: this is a really random, rambling post like the older ones}}

What an insane good weekend. Many evidances of God's grace. Very little sleep. Lots of coffee, biblical fellowship and laughter.
Sunday was 'super-good'. It was great to hear Pat lead worship. He did a wonderful job. oh, but was it Awkward. I've just been sent out to plant a church and I'm back the next week! but Grace will be there a long time and our 1st public meeting isn't for 2 more weeks. A Sczebel is a rare occasion. The heart issue of why I didn't want to go was just pride. Not wanting others to think I was uncommitted lol. Thank God for mums who aren't afraid to show us our sin.
Another example of God's grace.....in a really funny story.
Sunday afternoon. Driving to pick up Britt's lil sis and take her to b-ball. The road is residential, but not a neighborhood. I assume the speed limit is 35 m.p.h. Not really paying attention to my speed. Guess what. Britt forgot to tell me. Cops like to set speed traps there. I was pulled over. 1st time.
Britt then tells me the speed limit is 25. What? The cop walks over and talks to me. I was doing almost 36. OUCH. But he let me go. I started laughing. Pretty crazy. "Wow God. Thank you so much!" "That is the best cop ever!" No I didn't cry, I can't fake cry.
dad doesn't know, I don't think. Unless he reads my blog. Umm hi dad...

Thanks to Pats for hangin' out with a bunch of crazy kids Sunday night. (and for the alligator wrestling demonstration) Thanks to Suzie & Steph for hangin' with us. And to the Sutters for hosting us. (mrs. s I still can't believe the starbucks thing!!).

Post Script:
THANKS ALY for the new mini sharpie!! Thanks to the Bro's. I heard ya'll helped.
And for the smarties. Canadian smarties are way better than the U.S. kind. And for the note. I wrote you a letter after reading it. As for the sharpie, I carry it around in my pocket. It goes everywhere I do. Used it yesterday. During physical therapy I colored my right pinkie. (my left is always intact). Then my thumbnail. And i drew on my hand. It worked. I didn't notice the torture as much. :) Thanks for reminding us why we liked Vancouver so much.

~off for real this time~~