a clock_full of 2009

2009 is coming to a close.
2010 is hours away.

months, days and minutes full of.. .
and more food
great outfits
bad outfits
becoming part of PCNP
belly laughs
sly smiles
enjoying my hobbies once again
stayin' warm with Jayden
q.time with sister
dancing and loving it
tears for no reason
tears for a reason
an endless, back and forth, game of facebook poke with a friend
a sad goodbye_ how is it that my nieces and nephews now have 'Maybe' memorized?
the painting of my apartment
a new girlfriend, who i love and trust
reading the Bible more and more... wanting to read the Bible more and more

this year was monumental for me.
i finally feel like i have grown into the woman that I was meant to be.
i'm happy with me.
or as the cliche quips, i'm comfortable in my own skin'

George Bernard Shaw once said::
:: youth is wasted on the young.
With every passing year _ i gain a bit more knowledge and life experience. i look back on the last ten years and ponder how very true that statement is, at least in my own life. if i was the person I am today, back in 2000 _ things would have been different.

but it took some time for me to grow. took awhile actually. and 2009 was a big part of that. there has never been a time when i have felt God's hand directly in my life than this one. and that had nothing to do with Him deciding to change anything. It was all about what I gave over to Him.

it's interesting to go back and reread my first posts. and think about what was going on then.. .from month to month_ a myriad of emotions and situations, both positive and negative, I faced. Never before have I learned to draw closer to God. 2009 has taught me to do that. and never before have I loved Him more.



by the time you are my age, you have heard .. and sung along with .. .the common christmas song thousands of times. they become "tattoo"ed in your head beside other things, you don't even realize you've subconsciously memorized. with this memorization, it's very possible and likely at times, to not hear the meaning behind the words.

last week, i heard the little drummer boy by jars of clay.
and when i listened, i realized it's more than just a christmas song.
it's a song for our everyday lives.

i am a poor boy
i have no gifts to give
shall i play for you
on my drum

i played my drum for Him
i play my best for Him
then, He smiled at me
me and my drum

I heard it and I heard a song being sang about myself.
I have nothing worthy here, that i possess on this earth to give to the King.
all I have is my life.. to give.
to play my best for HIM.

as I listened to this I thought about that moment_ when I will meet Jesus, when we all will. It's that last line... All we can do with our lives is honor Him. What a glorious thought that with our lives we can make the King smile. .. .

not such a common CHRISTmas song after all.


silent snow

yesterday in my 3-5 year old art class, i asked the kids ..
"Did you hear about the snow that may be coming today?"

this little girl paused to listen and then whispered her response:
"I don't hear it!"


i heart teaching: reason #2

The satellite image on page 4 was taken from space. Do you think astronauts can see all of Earth at one time? Why or why not?

no. because the earth will be on the back of the ship


the message in the manger

in the darkness of my bedroom this morning. my eyes barely opened, i struggled to find a pen, pencil _ and any surface to write upon. I eventually ended up using a tissue on which to write the few lyrics which i heard from this new Christmas song by Chris Tomlin.

There are only a few Christmas songs that, in my opinion, truly capture the real Christmas. Not the consumer holiday to which it has become transformed. This is one of them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Luke 2.8-14


i heart teaching: reason #1

on monday i picked up my students from gym.
leading them back to the classroom, i turned around and glanced back.. .
one of my boys who was in the front_ beads of sweat dripping down his face.

"what's going on? did you take a shower in there? "
{by november, they have adjusted to my sarcasm and quite enjoy a good banter every now and again }

he laughs at me, a smile pops across his glistening face.
"no, i always sweat like this.."
and with disbelief in his voice,
"And my dad won't even let me wear deodorant?!?!?"

to which i reply, as i waft air from him toward me
[ totally inappropriate teacher that i am ]
"you aren't stinky!"

"yehhh- i am!"

by this point, I realize he doesn't really understand the true purpose of deodorant and thinks of it more as a cool accessory."No -- like REALLY stinky - just because you're sweating, it doesn't mean you are STINKY. kids who are 3 and 4 may be sweating like you are, but they aren't going to wear deodorant!"

he just starts laughing again at me.. "they're too little."

"yeh-- that's what my dad says -- for when i'm older"..

"Yes, you've got a bit to go."

i love knowing them now. as their little selves. untouched and not tainted by the world just yet.

there's an advertisement i found years ago, when i was still teaching second grade --- since then i've moved up to the 'big kids' in fourth. it sits framed on the back window in my classroom -
..if this isn't spot on.. i don't know what else is.

When you cried during It's a Wonderful Life,
Part of you knew you were onto something.
There was a time when you knew, really knew
that chaining up a dog was mean and no adult could tell you otherwise.
We begin with our compass dead center,
but slowly we stop trusting it
and it gets off track.
We can fix it.
This isn't about liberating dogs or crying at movies,
it is about putting your heart where it belongs,
being the person you know you were meant to be,
the one you probably were in the 3rd grade.


waiting on line

i stood in old navy yesterday with my fake uggs boots and headband to purchase. I'm a sucker for cute headbands now. waitin' on line.
waitin' a few people back.
patient as could be.
as long as i have people to watch, i don't mind..

up at the register was a mother and her baby, the little boy who had to be almost a year or so was sitting on the counter. the mother just kissin' his little face all over. every last inch. little tiny kisses here and there, as she gently tucked his hood back up over his tiny head. serious, my insides ached. couldn't take it. stood there just watching and smiling, but aching inside.

anyone who knows me, knows that i desire more than anything else a baby. and as i stood there yesterday, i realized ... . it's not about the being pregnant (although the thought of that makes me grin from each to ear), it's not about cute lil' outfits i will be able to dress him or her up in (even though she or he will be the funkiest dressed baby EvEr!) ...

it's ALL about this endless love that i have for him or her. The kisses and hugs and rocking and lovin' that is in me already to give him or her.

At this point, my poor cat is only recipient of this kissing, hugging love, and as much as he enjoys being carried around my apartment like a baby_ there are times, he just wants to be left alone.

I have spent a lot of time reading Mark lately, learning of Jesus' time with the apostles and his many miracles. > Mark 11.22-24 was one of those verses that highlighted itself as I read one night.

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Back to Bloggin'

Dear Blogger Dashboard::

You've been missed. Between all my nightly - weekly activities that have been keeping me occupied and unusually busy/ horseback riding, ALPHA small group, Youth Club, teaching art on the weekends // I have been unable to keep up with my blog. And oh ! how I have missed you.

It's strange, how much a silly little blog can help you sort through your thoughts. Almost as much as talking to yourself in the car does. Truth be told, nothing will ever replace tHAt though... As many strange looks that get tossed my way. And well _ who is going to readily admit that they don't do it ?? ...

YOu know You do !



i'm finding lately _
whether it's always been true about myself, i'm not sure.. .
the simplest things capture my attention
i seem to be captivated by such mundane events
_ the way a leaf falls from a tree down to the ground//

YouTube seems to know me all to well already. They recommended this for me.


like Yours for me

by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another_ john 13.35

ingrid and i

ingrid and i could be besties. i would sing harmony and rock it in cool hats and glasses in the background.


the christian enya

for years I have loved Enya. the type of music you sit back and just relax in your candle filled living room. and think of nothing. empty your mind. and just breathe... . her music is like that. A deep sigh.

tonight as I did my lesson plans. my tv on channel 432 Comcast Christian contemporary music, an Enya-like voice appeared.
Michelle Tumes.

the lyrics to Lovely
a beautiful love song to God

You're the sweet dreams that soothe me
when I can't fall asleep.
You're the field
in the middle of the city.
When I'm rushing by
at the speed of light.

You're the strong resolution
when I find no peace.
You're the church bells ringing
in the evening.
When all is quiet,
Your whisper comfort
lifts my heart.
I get so weak.

Ohhh.... You're lovely, lovely
You're the center of my universe.
(my universe)
A thousand times
I look around me and I find...

Ohh... you're lovely. (lovely)
You're the center of my universe.
(my universe)
A million ways
cannot explain,
you're lovely.

You're the soft words that touch me
when I just can't speak.
You're the breeze on the ocean
in the morning,
reminding me
to greet the day.

You're the flowers I remember
seeing in Italy.
Colors through
a golden haze,
bright and radiant,
soft and fragrant
In the noon day sun,
it makes me sing.

Ohh... You're lovely, lovely
You're the center of my universe.
(my universe)
A thousand times
I look around me and I find...

Ohh... You're lovely, lovely
You're the center of my universe.
(my universe)
A million ways
cannot explain
You're lovely.

I understand...
There may be grief
and there may be pain.
But I am aware
You blind the darkness
with who You are

Ohh... You're lovely, lovely
You're the center of my universe.
(my universe)
A thousand times
I look around me and I find...

Ohh... You're lovely, lovely
You're the center of my universe.
(my universe)
A million ways
cannot explain
You're lovely.

Find her here

Lovely is below in the Lilies playlist _ to listen.


introducing Kina.

I went searching for a worship song I heard tonight being practiced for Sunday's service.
_Came up empty-handed as to the artist and the song name.
Your love is strong, Your love is long..
The lyrics are based upon one my of my favorite verses.

Ephesians 3.18-19
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be FILLED TO THE MEASURE of all the FULLNESS of God.

Amidst my thirty minute lyric search, I uncovered this new artist.
Not well known _ as of yet, I think. But wonderful. talented.

lovin' her right now.


your favorite mother's day gift

you won't be able to listen to this tonight.. .
your i.pod will do for the next couple of days_
and you even have your charger.

you always loved this song.. attached to your mother's day gift.
even if it just played on a dinky little stereo.
.I Love You.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones



Found this video sometime during the summer posted on the
_watched it so many times. hysterical.

"I am a black man raised by Nigerian parents -
I've heard the song three times.. . mostly by accident."
It wasn't until tonight that I realized who the "Matt"
in title of the posting was.

Matt Maher
now these videos are on replay.



I've started to carry my camera around with me,
just like my purse. My phone, as fancy as it may look, doesn't take clear pictures. They turn out digitally 'fuzzed' and I can never get the zoom to work when I want it to.

So whenever I pick up my purse to head out of the apartment, I sling my camera around my shoulder as well. There have been so many times, I've said to myself, Aggghhh _ i wish I had my camera. Now... it's right in the backseat.

This past weekend was my dad's birthday, so on Wednesday night I planned on cooking a gourmet meal for my parents and I. Yesterday after school, I headed straight from Central Ave to 22 Lewis with a menu all sketched out in my head. _threw a giant load of laundry in the washer and headed back out to the grocery store to pick the goods for the meal in progress. After pulling into the parking spot, I started to shut all the windows and my sunroof - then stopped. Opened them back up and started taking these pictures. Thanks to that camera that was sitting in the basket in the back of my car. Even snapped a couple on the way home, pulling over to catch the sunset.

The meal was delayed 20 minutes or so .. .
but I made sure to set some appetizers out..


on the water

last thursday in youth club, we read matthew 14.22-33 where Jesus, walks upon water and calms the storm. where peter steps out onto the water, only to begin sinking. Jesus then reaches out and saves him.

there's nothing like hearing the 9 year old responses and questions to what we learn every week. there's a reason we are told to have child.like faith. We ended with Psalm 50:15 and then one of the girls asked if she could close the group in prayer. Her words couldn't have been more honest and heartfelt - just talking directly to God.

this passage from matthew has been going through my head all week. and even though tomorrow we have a new lesson, i still seem to be focusing on last week's verses.

I know my life is in the hands of the Almighty. I don't doubt that for a second. I know that he loves me with more than I can even imagine. with all my scratches and dents, and holes and missing parts. And I trust him entirely with my life. I guess what is so hard, so absolutely hard - so much so that my heart hurts sometimes is trusting that in the end.. it -- - life ---- will seem to work itself out --- now doesn't that sound silly?? I guess what I mean.. that even in the toughest times. of pain -with sickness, and uncertainty and loneliness that it is all for something. That the Bigger picture is for His good. And He knows exactly what that is.

That is just so hard for me. At least right now.. It's like my mom always says about the cross stitch. We see the back with its tangled stitches and knots. And God sees the front - the beautiful picture.

I guess what I just wish for right now is --- to be on that boat.
I would jump at the chance.


In the Car

Why is it that somedays the only thing that can make you feel better is
turning the knob on your car radio ---all the way to the right, til it goes no further. . Singing until you lose your voice. And dancing with all you got?
what a rush! i'll take even a little miley.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


Popcorn and Pickles

So before heading home for the day, I stopped at Walgreens. I'm standing in the aisle choosing between soaps. Bar soap, Softsoap, Dove? Big decisions, i know.
While over of the loud speaker, a man with a familiar name is called to to 'receiving'.
I'm frozen. Absolutely _ heart in throat.

It couldn't be?! No, not possible.

Well, of course I walked quickly back to wherever I thought 'receiving' was. The pharmacy maybe? I couldn't leave without just checking. It wasn't who I had thought -- - hoped it was > of course not. The manager appeared needing to sign a slip from the delivery man.

And I ended up realizing when I got home that I had left without my soap. Figures.

After a month _ but still.
I ate the popcorn and pickles that were part of your goodbye gift, well, your 'drive home' gift. Couldn't stand looking at it anymore. But the traces of your 'familiar name' are still all around me.



Surprise, Alli!

Tag you're it!

When you read this and are crazZy surprised... .
then I will give you the lock down passwords and all.
And the journey will begin.



This word unshakable keeps appearing .. . reminding me how awesome and powerful God truly is. How worthy of our praise _
Every day and every single night.

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1.10-12

A new song on 99.1

Always been a favorite.. . lyrics take your breath away





the porch

Can't get the thought of those wrap around porches out of my head. You know the ones_where the whole front of the house opens its arms to you as you pass by. All I want to do is sit and rock back and forth in a rocking chair all afternoon and into the night, listening as the crickets begin their song.

Monday nights are my riding lessons at Lord Stirling in Basking Ridge. Every time I leave the stable, I can't help but just bask in the beauty of the experience. Everything about that one hour I wish to capture in a glass jar and hold onto forever and ever. Every sound and sight, yes and even, smell _ perfect.

Not only is there something about being so connected and close to such an animal. But there is something I can't put words to _ feeling their response to you, as the rider and companion as you walk them to and from the stable. It is all there in their eyes.

Tonight_ I was captivated. There is truly no other word for it.

The leaves are just about changing color and the autumn smell was filling the crisp cool air. A flock of geese called out, forming their prominent shape before heading up and out into the distance. The moon which is nearly full on this very night, rose above the treeline, filling the sky with its light. Several horses off in the distance were put out for the night, making a meal of the grass beneath them. Church bells sang a familiar hymn from a block away and the dim yellow lights from homes beyond peeked through the trees. All serenaded by the calming hum of the crickets. The moths surrendered to the lights and fluttered about. My horse and I following the directions of my instructor. I could go around and around that circle endlessly.

I don't want to leave. I want to live there. In that moment.. .With my wrap around porch.


my prayer

I'm here to meet with You
Come and meet with me
I'm here to find You
Reveal Yourself to me

As I wait, You make me strong
As I long, draw me to Your arms

As I stand and sing Your praise
You come, You come
And You fill this place
Won't You come
Won't You come and fill this place

Meet with Me. Lamont Hiebert


at Your Feet

Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God_ this is a spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is_ his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12.1-2


my fourth grade goals

I'm a list maker.
On any given day, if you look upon my desk at work, my dining room table or even Post-ited to my car dashboard, you will find a list of some sort.

.chores to be completed by the end of the day
.lyrics from songs
.appointments or meetings that need to scheduled, or remembered!
.things to toss in that red basket as I run in and out of CVS

Every September, I ask my students to create a brief list of goals for the year to come. What do they want to accomplish by June, and moreover_ how are they going to attain them?

It wasn't until this year that the thought occurred to me that I should be making my own list along with them. As educators, we are always told to be modeling the very behavior we are expecting of our students. So why not this _ right?
_ below is my list for the 09-10 year.

8 save money
8 write to my Bryan, my Compassion child
8 Read the Bible more
8 set my alarm earlier, get to work on time
8 be more patient with my mother, who I love endless amounts
8 make more friends
8 Show my students the unconditional love and tenderness that I have received from God
8 never stop praying.


Take Luck

Tonight was Back to School Night.
So teachers remained in their classrooms well beyond the students. The last of my parents had left at 8:40 pm. I pulled out of the parking lot at 8:45 or so. Drove through Madison, through the first light. Slowed down at the next, and waited under the bridge. As I pulled closer to the car in front of me, I noticed this.... And just laughed.
Then had the biggest smile on my face for about five minutes.
The truth is as much I have gone through waves of total sadness, and then madness over how you have acted or rather not acted [responded] _

Even a "drive-by" thought of you makes me smile.


Neatly Outside of the Box

There are two versions of my life: the real one - the day to day, minute by minute version. And the movie one. This one is played out in my mind - all the things I wish to happen - maybe - could've should've - if only had happened. The movie version isn't always all happy, but just like the thirty minute sitcoms, everything works itself out in the end. All the loose ends tied back up and neatly packed back in the box.

In my movie life, people don't leave - without saying real goodbyes. And if per chance, they do, they return days later realizing their folly, to sing a ballad outside the window. Or stand outside in the rain all day waiting with a boombox. They catch you at the very last second before you board the airplane. Or maybe set a date to meet you in six months on the very top floor of the Empire State Building. Even in death, these characters find a way to communicate, sending letters even after their final goodbye was said.

The two versions of my life came crashing in on me this past week - leaving me in complete despair. Ask anyone around me.

I have fallen for him, leaving me completely vulnerable. Especially at that key scene of goodbye - the one for which so many movies have set me up so wrongly. I wasn't expecting a ballad or a date to meet at the top of some tall building. All I wanted was to see him. But without the other character, I was left to play the scene alone. Feeling completely helpless, confused and heartbroken.

The daytime routine of the week was able to snap me somewhat back into reality. But another reality still rang true.
He was gone. He is gone.

As much as I daydream about the movie version of my life, nothing ever plays out the way you think it will. This week certainly proved that to be true. No matter how much we try to fit everything neatly in a box, there will always be ties hanging over, edges popping back out. The truth is - there was a reason why you opened the box in the first place.


Life's Highway Markers

Years ago, when my sister and her husband lived in Watertown, MA., I regularly drove there. Leaving on a Thursday or Friday, driving back into Madison on Sunday when everyone was tucked away silently in bed. After the first few times, the drive had become habitual, calculated down to the minute.

Now, I'm not one for knowing street names and highway route numbers from memory. Those kind of things tend to get all jumbled about inside my mind. I'm all about landmarks. A PNC bank on the left? Check. A CVS? Check - Check. A row of bushes. I'll take even that. So after a year or so of driving back and forth to Watertown, I became an expert of things in between 07940 and 02477. My sister and her family have since moved to Michigan and weekend trips now entail a plane ride. So I have forgotten what a "longer" drive on the highway feels like.

Last Sunday, my parents and I set off for Martha's Vineyard before the sun had risen. In the early morning hours, as we sped past highway markers and each town introduced itself with a giant green exit sign, a reoccurring thought of mine appeared - yet again.

It has always amazed me, when I actually really truly think about the numbers - how many people there are on the earth - millions upon millions. All leading their own lives simultaneously ____

As we passed town after town, the fog that clung to the hills slowly lifted, and you could see people starting out their days. Each of them with different jobs and daily struggles, different hopes and aspirations for the future. What is amazing to think about is how God has created each and every one of us. And loves each and every one of us. All the millions upon millions. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. And when on one sinner repents as Luke 15 says, there is rejoicing in heaven. With all the people who inhabit this planet, God knows each one of us. He knit [us] together in [our] mothers' wombs.

At the same time that we consider the vast number of people living here, we are faced with life's brevity. With the millions of us on the planet, can the loss of one - change much? Anyone who has lost someone special in their lives knows the answer to the question. It can change everything. A few years back, one of my closest teaching friends, lost her husband suddenly, without warning. As a friend and I visited her, she spoke words I will never forget. "What makes this so hard, is that everyone's lives around me keep moving on." Like the highway markers, they become a blur at a certain speed - they continue, and don't stop. All she wanted was to be able to press pause - have all the motion stop around her.

Life is a gift we have been given. Our lives are not our own - we are here to be "God's hands and feet". With this gift, we must capture each opportunity we are given. And not take for granted anything - anyone - anywhere.


Your Love

"Invade my heart"

Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness."


The Pink Purse

I have had the pleasure [and the challenge] of teaching preschool age children this summer. It is not the usual classroom setting I am used to - these miniature versions of mom and dad stay in their seats for five minutes max. And there is more talk of the bathroom than I am sure there is at the local corner pub.

These children are of the age where, if they are potty trained, they still need help buttoning back up their pants and jean skirts and turning the sink on and off. They may even break into tears halfway into class - if a thought of mommy runs through through their minds*. They can't really carry more than three papers of artwork and are fascinated by any sparkly bracelets that adorn your wrists. They are not bound by the adult boundaries that we have set.
They will climb into your lap and hug you at random times
just because.. .

Sophia was one of the oldest girls in our art class this week. At age six, she slipped by the age limit of 3-5, with the understanding she would act as a "guardian" of sorts for her younger brother. (* above) Sophia is the definition of precocious. She is a 35 year old woman stuck in a 5 year old girl's body.

Yesterday she walked in with big black sunglasses on, a pink purse in hand, 7 or 8 fluorescent colored bracelets on each arm and a bright colorful sun dress. "I am a new person today, the old Sophia is gone!" she quipped in a sassy new voice.

Needing to quickly get to bottom of this I responded, "Well, I quite liked the old Sophia. What happened?"

"People didn't like me at school."

I certainly knew this not to be true, as she was the center of attention at Creative Kids. Her voice could be heard above the rest - Always helping out and making others laugh. This was not a girl in need of friends.

"I like you and I know Miss Lisa, Miss Caroline, Mommy and Daddy like you!"

"Hannah Montana had a secret identity, so I was thinking..." -- AHha!

It's all about that blonde-haired, brunette haired, can't decide the dye for the day Montana - the cause of all undecided little girl craziness.

Another young girl walked up to me moments later and asked, "What is she saying?" She could not understand Sophia's new cool girl talk. And with the honesty of only a child - she said,
"I don't like the new Sophia!"

It starts so young but we do it in our adult lives as well - don't we? I know I do. It's all that we hear on television and read in magazines. Some of my favorite trashy magazines - where you can see celebs - how they look and what they wear. It's all about bigger and better, fancier and cooler.
How silly is it when you sit down and think about it?

Faking who you really are doesn't give anyone pleasure. We are always left feeling as if we don't measure up. And in reality, we are hiding the true inner and outer beauty of what God has created in us. When we accept ourselves - all our strengths and weaknesses - however superficial or monumental they are - only then can we truly be happy. It is in Christ that we are new creation. We don't need secret identities. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

I smiled as I watched Sophia and her brother walking out, their arms overflowing with the artwork from the day. The sunglasses and bracelets were gone... and clutched in Christopher's small fist was the handle of the pink purse.


Take My Life

My prayer tonight .. . "Please take from me my life, when I don't have the strength to give it away to you, Jesus."

Psalm 46:10 echoes in my mind_

Be Still and KNOW that I am God.


To the Door Delivery

Today was one of those days.
The kind you want to pull the cover up over your head, before you even fully open your eyes.
.. . One of those days.

I knew I couldn't stay in bed - as much as I may have wanted to. At least for another hour or two. But no. I was not in the mood to seek out an adventure. And I knew if I set off on a hike, I, very possibly, may end up at that fork in the road in a puddle of my own tears.
So, I decided as beautiful a day it was, today was an inside day.
Still, half in my pajamas, I scurried about the apartment, clearing piles of bills, dusting [which is usually unheard of] and organizing the tower of shoeboxes in my closet.

At one point, I came downstairs, and as I quickly passed by the kitchen window something caught my eye. Not just one - but two baby deer - about three feet away.

Never in my life have I been that close.
As I stood there, a movement from the left.. . A third???

For the next thirty minutes, I watched, as these three creatures devoured any green blade, leaf, bit of vegetation they found - moving from the back and then on to the front of my apartment complex. I could have stood there all day just watching - living vicariously in their peaceful world.

What is it? Not just deer.. All animals. There is something so captivating. People flock to zoos - and from the youngest age cry out for their parents to buy them a dog. There are entire television channels devoted to them. Why do we crave to be close to animals? Why can we not stop watching them? Right now as I write this in my notebook, my own fat cat - who at one point momentarily scared the deer away - is belly up beside me on the couch.

A few times, I made eye contact with one of the fawn. Looking into its eyes, you can't help but wonder what is going through its mind. All that ties and binds us up - the creatures that surround us _ they are beyond it. Just like the banner verse - Matthew 6 - reads. They have not a single worry.
In that, we wish we could be like them.
In the most basic sense, animals are a reflection of God. How can anyone look at the beauty of nature and doubt for even one
milli-second that God exists?
He has planted Himself in everything around us. And even on the days when I want to hide under the covers, He delivers Himself right to my doorstep.


His Golden Signature

.. . "Stand Firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." [2 Corinthians 21-22]

Taking some time to pause upon this verse - what could make you feel more special than this? That God - the Almighty - All powerful - put His "seal of ownership" or as Max Lucado writes - His "signature" on our lives. Little ole me?

What a powerful image! We, as believers, are walking around every day, with his Golden signature written on our backs for all to see. His name shining in the sunlight, as we share the good news of His salvation.



Selah's new single
Can't find the lyrics online -
but don't need to know all the exact words anyway.
It's all in the refrain

.. .I see His love and mercy, washing over all our sin
the people sing, the people sing

Hosanna in the Highest
Hosanna in the Highest

I see a generation, rising up to take their place

with selfless faith
with selfless faith
I see a new revival
stirring as we pray and seek
we're on our knees
we're on our knees

Hosanna in the Highest

Hosanna in the Highest

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things obscene
Show me how to love like you
.. .

Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause .. .

Hosanna in the Highest
Hosanna in the Highest


In His Presence

it just so happened this morning
exactly at 7:33 a.m.
when the radio alarm turned on
chris tomlin's, "I Will Rise" was precisely starting

my day started with,

there's a peace i've come to know.. .

i laid in bed and listened to the whole song

peace is something hard to come by these days. and I don't mean all the political - national - international relations. Half of which - well, who am I kidding. Most of which i can only begin to understand after an hour briefing on the topic by my Dad.
I'm not talking about that type of peace.

I am simply speaking of the peace which affects us most of all.
The peace we feel within our hearts - within our minds. Within our souls.

When you step back and watch people in their daily journeys - swerving around you on the roads and shoving their way in front of you to get a box of pasta in aisle five. All so they can be home two seconds faster in their driveway.

In Rob Bell's, Noise he recounts the story of Elijah and how he looked for God but could not find him. He was not in the great and powerful winds. He was not in the earthquake or the fire but He came in a still small voice. Bell says there is much discussion of the Hebrew words used in this passage and how many believe it to read -
God was in the sheer silence.

No matter what is going on, all the chaos that today entails, and tomorrow will entail - the only place where we will find any peace is in Him. There are days when i find i am racing along with everyone else and need to catch myself. And pull the reigns back in. Take the time to slow down. Recognize the truth - which is that i'm rushing for no important reason at all.

It is only with Him and in His Presence, that i can feel true peace.

this is the peace i've come to know.. .


Crazy Love

There sat only two copies on the bottom shelf. It was the funky maroon cover that caught my eye. The back read,

"It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe - the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor - loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss... Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts -

it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love... you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone it changes everything."

Last night, I began reading this well before I got into bed. Sitting at the dining room table with my dinner, I devoured each page one by one. But even as it got late, I couldn't put it down. I nestled into bed, the down comforter crinkling all around me and continued. I woke up in the morning to find the book beside my pillow.

Some points in the book where I underlined or starred - paused, cried - prayed.

"We forget that we already have everything we need in Him." 30

"Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?" 31

" 'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!' (Phil. 4:4) _ You'll notice that it doesn't end with '...unless you're doing something extremely important.' No it's a command for all of us, and it follows with the charge, 'Do not be anxious about anything.' (v.6)" 41

"[Worry] and [Stress] declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed." 42

"When Jeremiah voices his hesitation and fear, God-the God of the galaxies - reaches out and touches his mouth. It's a gentle and affectionate gesture, something a loving parent would do. Through this illustration I realized that I don't have to worry about not meeting His expectations. God will ensure my success in accordance with His plan, not mine." 60

"The greatest knowledge we can ever have is knowing God treasures us." 61


Without Words

I wish I could form some literate entry right now to help me through this, but all that seems to happen as I sit here at the keyboard is more of last night.. Endless tears.

...that will not stop as much as I try.

I know that's why you did this.
but _I miss you already

and my heart truly aches


Sunday Gliding

During the school year, my Sundays are full of paperwork and lesson planning. My school bag and table top overflows with essays, tests and quizzes. I usually never finish it anyway_ leaving it for one day. So now in the summer months, with my empty bag and table, I am at a bit of a loss as to how to fill my weekend days.
Today was one such day. Any individual would have felt guilty staying inside _ A sky any artist would have taken pleasure to have painted.

I filled up my tank, which was nearly on empty, at the local gas station and set off on my adventure for the day. Only my camera in hand.

Maybe a farmer's market or possibly a flea market? I could spend hours there.. .

This sign was the first to catch my eye.
Could be exciting!
But then as I drove just a bit down the rode - I realized.. . These were REAL gliders and I was alone!?! If I really, truly wanted to go up in one of these, I would need to have someone else there whose hand I could hold so tight, white nail marks would remain. Not thinking the pilot would appreciate that much attention, I drove on.

and then paused to take some pictures -

Once again my interest was peaked by a roadside sign. Although, it turned out just to be a tease.

Two miles down the road, I realized - as much I called out "Farm fresh cheese, please?!?" It was not appearing anywhere.

I had driven past this antique shop once today, and on the way back - in the direction of where I thought the highway was - I decided to stop in. It turned out to be a hidden gem.

Both the store and the owner.

She made a point of coming up to me after I had spent 15 minutes or so browsing both the upstairs and downstairs.

"How did you find us, here?"
"Well... actually," I smiled. "I'm not quite sure where I am. I just set out on an adventure today and you happen to be one of my stops."

We then spoke for five minutes about her store and the area. I told her how I had headed out this afternoon with no real agenda, just my camera. She asked if I was a photographer.
I giggled, never thinking of myself as one. "Well, before you leave, go behind the red barn in the parking lot. There is something you will want to take a look at." She boxed up my vase and welcomed me back anytime, asking me if I would be able to find her store again [of which I made sure]. I headed back to my car, grabbed my camera and as I rounded the corner of the red barn,
sure enough...

It's funny all that you can accomplish in just one Sunday.
with just a camera
a quarter tank of gas

a friendly antique shop owner

and a newly discovered photographer


I Am

So after some Facebook strolling, a bout of sulking and a beer and a half, my mind wandered back to this morning's devotional. Where it should have been in the first place.. .

Ever since I read it this morning, the phrase,
"I AM" echoed through my head at different times in the day. I even heard it in several songs on the radio, as I hopped in and out of my car scurrying to work. The reading spoke of how God is PRESENT tense. "Prone to be people of the past tense, we reminisce. Not God. Unwavering in strength, he need never say, 'I was'. From the center of the storm, the unwavering Jesus shouts, 'I am'.. . Bold against the battlefield."

He will be with us EVERY day _ by our side. There are people in our lives who come and go. There are so many things - meaningless things - that the doors open and close on -but, God, He will forever more be with us. Ever present in our lives. The challenge remains though. If there are so many fleeting things that surround us, why do we not focus on the One thing that is constant and true and always faithfully there right beside us?
I was talking to a friend the other day about how our relationship with God can be compared to a love affair _
the best
incomparable -
unmatchable.. . Absolute unconditional

You want to spend all of your time with Him. Want to learn about Him. To be so close. Someone who you rely on, who will never EVER let you down. On one of my walks the other day, I couldn't help but notice how even in nature, God's creatures strive to be close to one another. And in doing so, they reflect how awesome and present He truly is in our lives this very day.


I stood today at the bottom of the cavern. There _ at least a thousand boulders and rocks sit piled, balanced upon each other, you know the spot. Broken limbs jutting out from the sides of the moss covered walls. Way up in the distance _ the flat ground called to me. The sunlight danced and glittered the leaves. Without hesitation, I took the first step. I knew I could do it. And I wanted to. Puddles of muddy water didn't stop me this time, I didn't steer around them _ instead straight through them.
I have been to the reservation several times this week _ searching out the muddy puddles and endless trails. Purposefully getting myself lost _ but every time finding my way out. My life has changed. And I can't help but thank you.


a few of my favorite things

My mother has been in and out of the hospital over the past few weeks. On the way out of my apartment today to visit her,
something caught my eye on the stoop.
a bright blue robin's egg.
God sends signs of His love in the simplest ways sometimes.. .
I can't help but giggle at Him.
I walked off of the steps smiling _ saying 'Thank you'.

The best of the best from.. .

It's A Wonderful Life
[My mother's favorite movie of all time]

This is for YOU, Mom.