Saturday, December 15, 2007

"You love Africa."

After 8 days of being sick in bed, I finally made the long journey last night down my stairs to Rachel's apartment for some much needed fellowship:). As she is so faithful to do, Rach asked how I was doing. I am not good at answering this question in short format, so started once again on a drawn-out tangent of my current state of mind. She interrupted me to say, much too matter-of-factly, "G. You love Africa." The simplicity of her statement caught me off guard, but I had to admit that yes, I do. I also had to admit that I have been trying desperately to forget how much I love Africa, and embrace with all of my heart the culture in which I find myself. What is even more sad is the moderate success I have found at doing just that. Since it just seems too painful to "care" too much, it makes more sense to just stay busy going about life and forget about the things that used to break my heart and drive me to DO something.

This morning I watched "The Pursuit of Happyness", a movie (based on a true story) about a father who is trying desperately to catch a break and provide for his young son. I saw this movie in the theatre in March, while in South Africa for the Hands at Work International conference. After seeing it then, I was distressed for days. How could it be that there were honest people in the world sleeping in public restrooms while burning the candle at both ends, yet STILL unable to make it? How could it be that four rich people in a convertible could just drive by a line of hundreds of the homeless waiting in line for a free room, and not even blink in their direction? I was flabbergasted and broken by it. Today I watched that movie again. I found it sad, but had very little other emotion. Nothing to make me want to change my lifestyle or lose any sleep. It was a "shame". But, after all, things turned out alright in the end with no input from me.

So, maybe I have succeeded in my quest to be happier in my current situation and think less about painful things. But this is a success that shames me, and I want no more part in it. With tears in my eyes last night I admitted to Rachel what she knew already. I would give ANYTHING to be back on a plane to Mozambique. My original plan was to go back in January, but the Lord has made it clear that I am so stay here for now. And I know that He is able and WILL work this out for good. I'm excited to see what He does... and am hoping that someday that return will be a reality.

Merry Christmas, my friends! Amidst all of the hustle and bustle and trying to stay on top of all of the festivities in the "spirit of the season", lets try to spend time focused on the REAL reason we celebrate. And as we say "Peace on Earth", lets PRAY for just that, and look for ways we can help to bring it...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Best Date Ever!!!

Yes, you did read correctly. I did, in fact, go on a date... and it was, in fact, my best date ever. Yesterday afternoon after work I went for a run in what has quickly become the dead of winter in North Dakota. Well, I say a "run", but it probably resembled more of an eskimo waddle with all of the layers I needed to wear. When I got back to my house my dad was there to take me out! We went to dinner at my favorite restaurant, caught a movie, raced back to the car (my dad was a sprinter and can still beat me), went to a another restaurant for dessert and coffee, and then sat at my apartment talking late into the night like two long-time acquaintances truly discovering the other for the first time. I went to bed marveling at how crazy it is that people can live in the same house for years and still not really get to know the depths of the other. I've always been completely proud of my dad and known that he loves me more than words can say. But we have also always lived in two quite different worlds, and I'm thrilled that those worlds are colliding!! When sharing the story with a pal today, she said... "I wish my dad would do that! I can't even imagine such a thing." Needless to say, I've really been blessed. It'll be tough to beat that date!!!

Christmas is coming! The festivity in the air is easily caught, and I find it delightful. With the first big snowfall last Monday night I was decorating my Christmas tree and brainstorming best possible gifts for all of my loved ones. Then I took advantage of "Happy Hour" at Moxie Java. Coffee shop "Happy Hour" just rocks, because you can get the expensive, 16 oz. soy latte for $1.89 instead of $47.63 or whatever we are required to pay for two shots of espresso and steamed milk these days. Give me a break! Anyway, with coffee in hand and back behind the wheel I was free to sing along to "O Holy Night" at the top of my lungs... going for the high notes and caring little if I reached them or not. The beauty of singing in the car is that a person always sounds good there. Perhaps not as good everywhere else, but definitely good in the car. SING ON:)!!!

This living alone thing is becoming something that I really treasure, and I'm thankful that God knew I needed it. He is showing me again the beauty of silence, the wonder in little things in life, and the peace found in trusting Him and being content.

Tomorrow I am going to watch my sister play basketball and plan to be as obnoxious as possible. Then my brother, sister, and I are headed to Minneapolis to watch the Vikes take on the Bears this Sunday!!!! I can hardly wait...

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Last Tuesday I was sitting in my dad's office and we were having an awesome conversation. It was my third awesome conversation of the day... coming on the heels of one with a good friend who I haven't talked to in quite some time, and lunch with my pastor. Anyway, I was busy pouring my little heart out to my beloved pop when I noticed there was a mouse sitting at our feet. To my great delight, I felt completely indifferent towards the mouse. Instead of screaming and jumping onto a chair like I would have done 2 years ago, I simply said, "Oh, there's a mouse." It was a triumphant moment in the life of this scaredy-cat:). Now if it had been a rat, that is an entirely different story. Don't even get me started on rats...

BBC News

BBC News rocks my socks. I am often on their website, trying to keep up with what is going on in the world... clicking primarily on the "Africa" link. Tonight I found this great article about conjoined twins in Tanzania. It both blessed me and broke my heart. If you want to read it, here is the link.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Last December as Sarah and I, quite literally, BAKED in Mozambique I made a promise that I would never again complain about snow for as long as I live. It seemed like the obvious remark to make at the time, with sweat pouring off our skin and our faces pressed as close to the fans as possible without getting our noses caught in the blades. Back in North Dakota, today marked day #1 of flurries, and so far I am doing well with my promise:)! Ask me again in two weeks and I will probably have failed miserably, but today I loved the snow. In fact I am rather impatient for enough to fall so that I can build a snowman, have a snowball fight, and of course, go sledding. A new tobaggan may need to be purchased this winter, as my unstoppable, lightening-quick, inflatable, 3-person snow machine sustained a terminal punture wound at the end of winter 05-06. That sled was amazing.

With Thanksgiving just a few hours away I am faced with the happy obligation of thinking through the myriads of things for which I am grateful to God. He has blessed me with much... opportunities, relationships, health, family, toys, imagination... I could go on and on. The more I think on these things the more I feel like a brat for asking anything else of Him. "Yes, Lord, I am thankful for these things... but if you would just give me _______." This is often my attitude, and I wish that would change but I don't know how to completely change it while still being honest.

It is a simple thing to remember last Thanksgiving with fondness. Sarah and I made an extremely untraditional meal of chicken (we couldn't get turkey), potatoes, veggies, and apple cake for dessert (pumpkins didn't appear until April/May). Even without the traditional cuisine, last Thanksgiving was beyond memorable and loaded with thanks. We celebrated with our family, Carlos, Pascua, Nysha, and Tabitha Giua. The evening began as all evenings do in the Giua household, with fervent prayer and lots of laughter. I remember the smell of their home, the way their chairs felt, the coolness of the floor, the noises outside... everything. It's such a wonderfully real memory. Just as I missed my American family last year, this year I will miss my Mozambiquan family.

At this moment I am fighting the urge to start a list of things I am thankful for. After all, there is no way I could possibly do justice to such a list even if I were to type all night long. Hopefully if you know me well you can hear the things I do not say...


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Treasure

It amazes me that friends I have now who are incredibly dear are people that I didn't even know when I got home from Mozambique! God has really blessed me with treasure, and an awesome place to be involved in reaching out to the community. Here are some photos from a concert event tonight. Fun!!!

This is my sister-in-law, Sarah. She is the greatest!

With both of the Sarah's! Did you know that "Sarah" means "God's princess"?! Cool, huh.

Sam, Sarah, Justin, and I sporting our sweet t-shirts.

Lookin' good, Ross!

4 hours, 13 minutes, 24 seconds!!!

The marathon is over, and it was beyond fantastic. I was able to finish faster than my goal pace and had a delightful time. Some of my favorite moments were the heavyset tuba player at mile 7, who was simultaneously playing the tambourine. Talent! Another was the harpist at mile 8, the 62 year old 11-time marathon runner who I came across halfway through the race (I want to be like that!), the beyond beautiful trees exploding with autumn color, and crossing the finish line. What a feeling! I was pumping my arms and leaping for joy as my feet crossed. To my delight, the announcer said, "YOU DO THAT ALL YOU WANT, GIRL!" Haha, I did. To make matters even better, I had my mom, my sister, and my best friend there to cheer me on. They found me eight times! I think that's pretty outstanding. I posted pictures at and will post some videos up there very soon.


"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Most of you know that it has been a difficult 3 months for me, transitioning to life back at home. I never anticipated struggling so much, and have rarely had times in my life where I have felt really down. With that said, this deep agony has caught me by surprise. In 12 weeks I have had many periods of lows followed by short seasons of feeling like everything was going to be okay... only to find my heart breaking again. I've cried a lot, and asked God "WHY?" a lot. I've asked Him why He has put in my heart such a love for a place far away when He is not allowing me to go back. I end up letting my mind run races trying to discover what it was that captivated everything in me so completely. I wonder and worry about whether or not I could ever be as happy anywhere else doing anything else. But today I'm quite sure that I can and WILL be... since what God has is always above and beyond what I could ask for or imagine.

In the past 3 months I have often had a cynical and judgemental attitude towards God and the church. It's been a bumpy road. It has only been recently that it has been hitting me how much I just MISS Jesus... I miss pouring my love on Him and experiencing Him pour His love on me. I miss knowing with total confidence that no matter what life brings, He's got me and I've got Him. It's good to think things through. It's good to question, to process, to discover. But one must be careful not to let those things eat away at being madly in love with Christ. Sometimes I find it a chore to read my Bible and pray. Then I realize that there must be something seriously wrong in my heart and seriously lacking in my understanding of who God is. There are a handful of people in my life who I think are out of this world fantastic. If I could, I would spend every waking moment with those people. I want to be near them... to catch their life... to share their joy. In a similar way, if only I sought to get glimses of who this Jesus really is, there is NO WAY I would want to be anywhere but pressed right up against Him, as close as I could possibly nestle. That is the earnest prayer of my heart now: "Jesus, show me who you are!"

Monday, October 15, 2007

Poor and Needy

This morning I sat in the lounge of a large hospital, reading Psalm 40. "...He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD..." I could feel the tears coming, but pressed on to the end. "Yet I am poor and needy, may the LORD think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; oh my God, do not delay." I looked up to see the top of Sarah's very familiar curls bouncing in the door, and was glad for a familiar face. We went together to the new employee orientation day, and talked about Mozambique most of the way through it. All evening I have been unpacking box after box in my sweet little apartment. Freshly painted, new appliances, with many little projects to work on as I go. There are 3 other apartments in the house, one inhabited by my dear dear Rachel. My immediate neighbor in the upstairs of the house is a girl named Ryan, who works at a sewing shop in town. Rachy and I are positively thrilled about this, as both of us need to learn how to sew.

This evening Sarah's dad, Rich, came over to help me assemble my new bed. 100 pieces of wood, a bag of screws, and an instruction manuel are worthless to me. His assistance was an unbelievable blessing. There are people in the world who are so close to Jesus that His kindness just pours out of them. When we had finished the bed I was pulling it into the corner and caught it on my toe, which instantly started bleeding quite heavily. Rich dropped to his knees and began wiping up the blood, holding pressure on the toe while I reached for Band-Aids. He didn't need to do that and it cut deep. I felt the love of my Lord through a selfless act of servanthood extended to me.

I've never lived by myself before, so this is a first. Sometimes I think it will be fantastic, and other times I wonder if I will feel lonely. I imagine that would be of God with a purpose in mind. In the morning I will go to work, meet new people, learn new things. I will come home and continue unpacking. I will go for a run through Lindenwood park and soak up every minute. I will drive to Wahpeton to meet with my new friends on the university campus there. And I will dream... always dreaming. This is life now. It is so different I can't believe it sometimes, yet it's really not so different after all. God still asks the same of me here as He did in Africa. To draw closer to Him, to look outward, to pray, to love people, to love justice, to be stretched, to press on, to grow, to listen, to follow. I am learning to be content... learning, even, to love this very moment.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

From the Weekend

Hittin' the road with our mascot, the cinnamon bear. We named him "Piguin", because he didn't look much like a bear but he did look a lot like a pig and a penguin.

Stopping in Sartell to make a surprise delivery of peanut butter bonbons to Joel's high school. The beautiful blonde in the picture is my cousin, Charlotte.

It was a STUNNING drive. We couldn't have picked a better time to drive through Wisconsin!!

Every trip to Wisconsin involves a stop for cheese... more specifically as far as we are concerned... cheese curds.

Rachel and Carina can't even wait until we get inside to start munching on cheese!!

Char-baby taking advantage of the free samples.

Finally in Chicago! Here is Rachel with her sister, Hannah Banana.

At the marathon expo!! Oh my, this is serious.

Carina playing "drinko".

My Grand Am is just as nice and has loads more character:).

It would only be a simple matter of breaking the world record to drive away in this lovely automobile.





The countdown clock

This police officer was too funny. I love Chicago:)!!!

Our World Vision pasta party. Talk about a carbo-load!

Rachel bought Colby Jack a polo shirt!


Waking up at 4am to a living room decked out with toilet paper streamers!!! Thanks, Stephen and Joy!!!

Chearing us on.


We'll be fine.

The Secret...

I would say that as a general rule, a marathon is not portrayed as a "fun" time. Most would probably think about 26.2 miles and groan. But over the past 8 months I have often wondered why, if running this distance is so horrific, there are people who have run copious amounts of marathons. Why put yourself through one miserable experience after another? I am about to tell you the secret. Running a marathon is, in fact, FUN!!! So fantastic in fact, that I am going to run another one in a week and a half:). The reason for this possible insanity is that I didn't get to finish the Chicago marathon. For the first time in history, the marathon was canceled due to heat. I was nearing mile 21 feeling not too shabby and excited about the finish line. No news could have been more disappointing at that moment, and I was devastated. But now knowing what was going on I understand why it needed to be done.

It truly was wicked hot, with the actual temp in the upper 80s to low 90s, but the temp on the road due to 35,000 runners on pavement soaring over 100 degrees. Evidentally people were dropping like flies, and in spite of increasing ambulance and medical staff before the race and adding more water to aid stations, there was simply no way to keep up. At one aid station we didn't get any water or Gatorade, and as we ran through a park about a mile later, many people were jumping into a large fountain and cupping their hands to drink from it. That was a scary (and thirsty!) point. But after that I didn't experience much trouble staying hydrated. However, people were passing out all over the course and eventually there were no more medics to care for them. One man from Michigan died on the course, and several others remain in critical condition.

For the most part I was in blissful ignorance to these happenings, and had fun running through every hose offered by spectators (which was MANY hoses). By staying soaking wet the heat didn't seem to bother very much, although I did get annoyed with having wet, squishy socks! The crowds were unbelievable, and the city of Chicago a delight to run through. Everywhere we turned there were more people lining the streets cheering us on by name (we wrote our names on our shirts). It didn't matter who you were or where you were from. There was a unity among the throngs of people that I have rarely experienced. My fellow runners were fabulous, and I felt a constant sense of comradery with them even as we fought our own personal battles to press on. Everyone had their own running strategy, which I found fascinating and learned valuable information just by watching other, more seasoned, runners.

It seemed that just when I was starting to feel tired, I would hear my name being screamed with more gusto than the spectators who were just reading the name on my shirt. I would turn to see the familiar face of a friend or one of my cousins and then have the delight of running with them for a couple of minutes before they sent me off. These moments were priceless! I scanned both sides of the crowds while running, often experiencing the weird sense of expecting to see faces that I knew wouldn't be there but wished they could be and somehow expecting to see them cheering, with cold drink in hand. It was the most surreal day.

When the marathon was canceled, my first reactions were anger and resentment. How could God allow something to be taken from me that I had worked so hard to accomplsh?! But that quickly changed as I realized how much more exciting it will be to finish the next one. Once again God is teaching me patience, and to trust Him when things don't make sense and don't happen according to MY plan. While running I sensed God's pleasure. Even though the race got canceled early, I felt that I had done my best and can't wait for the next one. Now my struggle is this... it has only taken me one experience to discover that I love running marathons. I would love to KEEP running marathons, but not if I run them only selfishly. Can I bring great glory to God, serve Him and love my neighbor by running?! I hope so, and I am asking Him to show me how. This is how you can be praying for me at the moment.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


23 more hours and we will be running! It appears that the whole world has descended on Chicago this weekend:). We went to the marathon expo yesterday and picked up all of our gear, got a healthy dose of inspiration, met some of our World Vision teammates, and scored a bunch of free stuff. AFter a nice, Italian dinner we came back on the train to watch Blood Diamond. Oh my, I don't even have words to describe how much my heart broke during that movie.

The weather is unexpected... it is HOT here!!! The high for tomorrow is 88 degrees and partly to mostly sunny. Yikes!!! We had not prepared for this as an option. Cold, yes. Wind, sure. Rain, definitely. But HEAT?!?

Please pray for endurance... there are 1.5 million people coming out to watch so we will be cheered every step. I can't quite imagine what it will be like yet, but I'm excited!!

It is easy to sign up to receive text messages from the marathon telling you exactly where we are on the course throughout the morning. Go to if you want to get those messages! The race starts at 8am but it might take us 30 minutes just to get to the starting line. There will be a chip in our shoes that activates when we cross the starting line... our time starts then.

23 more hours!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Autumn Wonder

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." Psalm 19:1-3

I guess I got a little off the beaten track:)

Thought bubble... "WHY have I never gone for a run here?!?!?" Tomorrow is the day.

Leaves crunching underfoot. Warm breeze sweeping through my hair. Sunshine. Silence. Golden beauty. "If only every day could be this perfect," I thought. "Well, maybe I don't wish for that, since it certainly would take away from the awe of such a day when it comes."

On the downside, the Vikings lost AGAIN and it's looking like another disappointing season. Oh well, I will still love my Vikes. Regardless of what happens in the NFL world, this is without question my favorite time of year. It is easy to love God on days like today... days when He is full of romance and all I need to do is show up. Days when He whispers to me and points out yet again my incredible smallness and His incomparable beauty. There can be little doubt that as much as possible in the coming week I will be raking up piles of leaves for the sole purpose of jumping through them. Childish, perhaps, but I am more than okay with that! No matter how long it has been since you have danced through piles of autumn leaves, this year is the perfect time to re-discover the joy of such a thing. Join me!! If the idea seems scary, find someone to push you in... that's what I would do!!

Truly all creation sings in praise of God.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicago Marathon Preview

Here are two links of Chicago marathon videos. The first one is done by World Vision and the second is a general one that shows the course through Chicago. I'M SOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!! I'm even dreaming marathon these days:). With only 9 days to go until October 7th, I've been reflective about how God has used this season of training in my life. I have thought often of Hebrews 12:1...

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..."

Back in early April when our training was beginning to extend far beyond my normal exertion level, I remember finishing a run and being completely discouraged. It was hot, I felt like I was slowing Sarah down, and my feet were covered with painful blisters. I wanted to quit at that point, but I remember God saying... "I want you to endure." That's all I needed to hear. Training for this thing has taught me discipline, which is extending to other areas of life where I have needed to be more disciplined. Running gives me extended periods of quiet, and is an awesome time to just BE with God and clear my head. He often paints beautiful sunrises for me to gaze upon, or sends a deer bounding across the road just when I need some encouragement. I have gotten to know my body... when to push, when to rest, what I should and shouldn't eat, etc. Pushing towards a goal that seemed impossible and now feeling like it is most definitely possible has encouraged me more than I can say. It has made me stop still more than once in total amazement at these bodies that God has so masterfuly woven together.

Hopefully this marathon won't be the first and last!! Next year I'm hoping to run 2 half marathons and 2 or 3 full marathons, with a long-term goal to qualify for Boston eventually. For this I have a long way to go:). 3 hours and 40 minutes is the required time, and for next Sunday's marathon my goal is 4 hours and 30 minutes (and if I don't get it I won't be surprised). So I need to speed up... cut my time from 10 minute miles to 7.7 minute miles.

A friend once said to me that just because a person runs, that doesn't make him/her a runner. I laughed at this, but often find myself thinking about it. I wonder if it can also be applied to us and to God, and if it can, then how? One of the many things I think about during the miles and miles...

There are a few more days to donate to Team World Vision! I am running for a 5-year-old Ethiopean boy name Fuad. He's adorable! Again the website is

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This may disturb you...

Here's a link to the promised video:)!!! I LOVE showing this to people, haha. Reactions are priceless.

My family is totally great. Since I didn't get a birthday celebration this year, tonight we celebrated my half birthday in conjunction with my dad's birthday:). We fondued... our family favorite. My parents gave me Rosetta Stone's Portuguese language program. I've been hoping and hoping to get that and am excited to start!

Here is a photo from Nina's birthday party last week. My cousin Charlotte came as a special surprise. She is a freshman in college this year, going into nursing at NDSU!!! I'm so proud:).


Without question, the biggest news from the past week is that I lost my black toenail. The whole thing just came right off one afternoon leaving an ugly, and now undisguisable, toe with no nail:). We captured the event on video so it just might be a youtube hit in the near future. You never know!

Second to that, I suppose, is the job! I was hired at Meritcare's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. At the interview I knew that I would love the position, and was even more convinced after touring the unit and meeting some of the staff. The reason NICU seemed like the best option is because it's a wonderful combination of challenging nursing which will really stretch me while at the same time being constantly relational. What more could I want from a job? My start date is October 15th. Not far away! I am happy about all of it because I know that it is right. It is probably not what I would consider my heart's desire, but it is what God's will is for me right now, and it IS my heart's desire to follow Him! After accepting the job this afternoon, I needed to grieve a little bit. The decision has been made... I'm not going back to Africa in January. STILL HARD?! Yes, still hard. It is almost a full moon tonight, and stepping outside into the brightness reminded me of tired but joyful nights under the moon in Mozambique. I remember walking in the dark, gazing up, never wanting to leave my place on the log, feeling happier than I ever thought a person could feel. Then the guards would walk by and shine their spotlight into my face, and chuckle. They must have wondered what it was about the night that I loved so much.

But being at home definitely has its perks, and I feel blessed! Today I spoke to a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. Of course I am not a mother of preschoolers, but since I want to be one someday, they let me in:). It was fantastic! They wanted to hear the details of life for mothers in Africa... down to specifics about childbirth (and boy do I have those specifics, haha). Every time I speak, which has been quite often lately, my heart starts aching. God is not allowing it to heal, and He is not allowing me to forget. Mozambique is constantly on my mind... it presses hard. The faces of friends... the laugher of children... the birds that would sing beautiful melodies to each other... the sunrise over the hills... imagining a house in the mango grove. Staying. Maybe someday.

A gift that I truly treasure about being home is having the chance to get to know Sarah, my new sister. I've always imagined being the best of friends with my brother's wife, and God has seen that desire of my heart and blessed it. We have had so much fun! She is beautiful and mysterious and infinite layers deep and full of delightful wit and talent. She is already my encourager, just like Josh, and a joy. Tonight we led worship together at Intervarsity (believe it or not, for several weeks now I have been playing my guitar IN PUBLIC!!) and I think it was the first of many years of doing that. At my grandpa's funeral she was by my side... holding my hand, reassuring, letting me cry. She is also an irreplaceable ally in my SLIGHTLY incomplete understanding of all things farm-related:). Today when I arrived to help paint their bathroom "sensual silver" (it's an amazing color!) she asked what was new on the farm. I reported that the guy who was supposed to build a very large bin for us a few weeks ago finally let us know that he won't be able to come. My dad and brother have been stressing about this bin for ages. Sarah said, "OH NO!!!" and I loved the fact that though neither of us understood exactly WHY not having the bin built was such a horrible thing, we both just knew that it was, in fact, very horrible.

At any rate, I'm enjoying being here for the early stages of Josh and Sarah's marriage. It's fun to see them just starting up. So I AM glad to be at home and AM experiencing God in new and awesome ways here. I was concerned that I wouldn't "need" God as much being in the States, but that has certainly not been the case. I've needed Him more than ever.

The other night while my brother was still at the farm I persuaded Sarah to help me try hanging up the two person hammock I gave them for a wedding gift. I had my eye on two trees outside their house that I anticipated would be perfect. However, they were too far apart and we didn't have any rope! We attempted to clip the caribeaners onto two flimsy branches of a single tree, and Sarah allowed me to try it out first, as it didn't look very sturdy:). To my dismay I quickly found myself sitting on a hammock on the ground:(. We need some rope and quick.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I love my new MacBook, though I am far from mastering all of its extensive features. The camera, however, is a fun and relatively simple tool.

Josh and Joel... lookin' good!!!


Enjoying our backyard earlier this afternoon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Waking Up

There was a grin on my face the instant I woke up this morning. As I stretched and rolled onto my side I could only smile bigger at the awareness of the beautiful presence of my love... my Jesus. Maybe you have experienced the same thing. What made it even more thrilling was the length of time it has been since I have felt His presence so closely. It has been a difficult couple of months and I have been pressing on in the knowledge that God IS there, whether I feel Him or not. But to feel His presence again was a gift to me. As I was driving home tonight I popped in my new Bethany Dillon cd and cranked up this song which I love... and sing at the top of my lungs.

Waking Up

I'm on a flight home this morning
And I can't help but stare at You
My face pressed against this little window
The sky explodes in praise to You, to You
I know my words can't wrap their arms around You tight enough
But still I'll try in this simple song
To You, my Jesus

Because the more I fight it, the more I love You

As my eyes widen, I have to tell You

There's nothing like waking up
Waking up to You
There's nothing like waking up
Waking up to You
Oh, waking up to You

I am small, but I have seen
The same sun rise over India and Ohio fields

To strengthen the heart of this coward
So in every language, from every hurt
We echo affection back to You, Lord

There's nothing like waking up
Waking up to You
There's nothing like waking up
Waking up to You

Ah, that gives me goosebumps! God has been teaching me so many things. The main one this week (and it may sound very elementary, but it's pure joy to this elementary mind) is that there is nothing I can go through that is not understood fully by Jesus. When grieving the loss of a loved one, I can think about Jesus weeping over Lazarus. He wept, even though he KNEW that Lazarus would be raised from the dead. That helps me to know that I can weep over my grandpa and it is okay, even though I know I will see him again someday. The only thing that Jesus doesn't understand is consequences of sin, because Jesus was sinless. This is something else that completely baffles me, because so much of the pain I experience comes from poor choices I make. Jesus didn't make poor choices. When he suffered, he suffered unjustly. But he did it willingly in obedience to His Father.

My sister, Nina, turned 15 today. She is becoming such a beautiful young woman who loves God and has passion and vision. I am proud of her... and happy that we are at the point of sharing clothes, hehe:).

It is time for me to go to bed so that in the morning I can wake up... :) I have a job interview tomorrow!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Grief and Joy

This photo is of my grandpa, Harlowe, two weeks ago. I went to spend the weekend with him and my grandma after she had major heart surgery. It was great just being with them again. My grandpa and I went out to the farm to watch my uncle and cousin roofing the barn, we went searching for horses to look at, bought doughnuts instead of healthy food at the grocery store, and took naps on the couch. Late this past Thursday night he had a massive stroke and passed away yesterday morning. He is with Jesus now!! My mom was able to go and say goodbye on Friday. Grandpa was unconscious, but we think he was able to hear and she gave him messages from us. She told him Josh followed his advice. You see, last year he was in the hospital for a while and Josh and I went to see him. He was in great spirits and we talked all afternoon. We talked about relationships and Josh asked what advice Grandpa had, considering he and my grandma were married 60 years! "Well," he said, "I just knew I had to marry a pretty one. After all, I figured the kids needed at least half a chance!" :) He was too funny. From me my mom told him that when I marry, I want it to be a man like him. That is as true as true could be. The way he loved my grandma was a beautiful thing to behold, while still being a strong leader. He taught me so much about God, not so much by saying anything, but just by living. I wish I could have told him myself, but we needed to stay home to continue preparing the farm for Josh and Sarah's reception.

It has been a rat race all week! Tonight it is all over. The last guests have gone home... no more baking, no more sweeping, no more scrubbing, no more battles with spider webs in corners of buildings where no one would ever go but it just needed to be clean IN CASE:). In every way I'm just exhausted beyond words. I remember the last time I was this tired. It was in Mozambique, and we had just had an intensely hard week. Then to top it off there was a day of chaos and demands from dawn until long past dark. I collapsed into bed, tucked in my mosquito net, and cried myself to sleep:). Sarah loves to tell that story now.

Everyone has been so good to us as we have been juggling a strange mix of grief and joy. We feel very blessed and celebrate all that God has done. He has given us Sarah, and He has taken Grandpa HOME. Blessed be the name of the LORD.

Please pray for my mom specifically, as she and her dad were very close. Also of course for my grandma, Helen. She came to the reception today and is doing well, but I cannot imagine losing my husband of 60 years. She misses him. The memorial service is tomorrow night and the funeral is on Tuesday. After that we will crash.