Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer 2013 - Recap Part 1

You know that verse in the Bible - the one about locusts - where God says that He'll restore the years the locusts have eaten.....

Well when I think about the summer of 2013, my first thought is, "Well go ahead and chalk one up for the locusts."

Lots of hard and sad.  Lots of struggle.

I honestly don't even want to go there - it was what it was...

SO in light of this reality, I wanted to blog NOT about that, but instead about the ways I'm being provided for - the goodness that keeps raining on me even in the struggle.  I've come to call this place a "wilderness," and I've realized that God is providing "manna" all the time. I don't feel like I'm feasting on grapes from the Promised Land...but I have enough.  God is enough.  I do believe this...

And them sometimes I pray that He'll help me believe this.  It's weird how belief and unbelief can be side by side so close.

I decided to hang something I call a "Manna Board" in my room where I can put the beautiful reminders of His goodness up to see and remember.  I'm finding it keeps me from getting all crabby and ridiculous to be around...and it keeps my perspective in a more accurate place.

(Of course, I did destroy the drywall in my attempt to hang the Manna board where I wanted it - someone's going to have to come fix that...go figure :)

SO....the following is a list of some of the great things about this summer.  Things that were accomplished.  Beautiful experiences.  And supernatural ways I was reminded that God loves me and that I am abundantly blessed.  This is Summer 2013 - Part ONE

* Audrey's Recital at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  If you can be a part of this and not feel the need to cry something might be wrong with you.  This event is such a mixture of beauty, pure love, sorrow, hope, and so much more.  I was blessed immensely by being there.  Everyone should go.  It would change your world.

* Mom's retirement party - hearing my dad get up front and talk about my mom...watching him choke up and tear up while telling them about her love for the kids she took care of at the preschool...was beautiful beyond words.  I listened to people talk about my mother and I was inspired by her legacy, and thankful beyond words to be her daughter.

*Girls weekend at the Cabin!  Oh how I love those gals - around them it feels like coming I remember a little better who I am after being with them...especially at the Farm - such a beautiful place that I've come to love.  Stace, Page, Amanda, Emily, Sandra, Francie, Daphane, Erin, Katie - the memories I have of sitting at those huge tables eating together are in my heart in a serious way.  Love you all.  Thank you for knowing who I am...

*Saw the new Superman movie with Crystal!  She got tickets for the preview night!

*New gutters installed and shingles washed.

*Trained with Bob Ronkers in June - reconnected with a gal I was in New Orleans with for Habitat for Humanity a few summers ago.  Yay for hanging out with Lindsey!  Yay for meeting her friends! AND YAY for having running buddies now in the running group!

* Traveled with Mom and Brad to West Virginia to be a part of my aunt Kara's Relay for Life Team!  It was wonderful getting to see family that I don't get to see very often - aunts, uncles, grandma...  And for such a beautiful cause...and to celebrate Kara's healing.  Thank you, God.



* Hair done at High Five Salon with Sam.  I leave feeling like one of the most special people in the world.  I leave feeling unique, beautiful, and seen.  I'm pretty sure most people leave feeling this way - which is probably why it takes 6 weeks to get an appointment.  What a wonderful gift he has.

* Mike's baptism in the East Fork River - a group of us hiked down a huge hill to the river at the bottom...such a beautiful surrender to Jesus witnessed and celebrated.

* Dinner with the neighbors several times.  I love walking to a restaurant with my neighbors - what fantastic folks I have living around me, and I am loving getting to know them more!  I'm the only single one - but I decided that once you get to 7 or 9 people, you're not a "wheel" anymore - you're just a person.

* Fountain Square with my dear friend Karen, Bakersfield for Tacos, and swinging on the swings down by the riverfront - Beautiful friend, Fantastic Guacamole, and a whole lot of FUN down by the river.  Those swings make me feel like a kid!  Go Cincinnati for putting those in...seriously!


*Went to a few classes at the gym with Jenny and others - emphasis on the word "few".  Spent a bit of time unable to move important limbs because of it.  Jenny - you make me laugh.

* Dinner with the Amlin gals - Always a blessing to see Emily care so beautifully for her girls.  I see the Lord's goodness all over them.  I'm inspired and encouraged by Emily's faith and belief in God.

*Went to Kings Island with Nathalie - layed out at the pool and ate blue ice cream.  It's always good to be in a valley with someone else :)   Especially when that friend is an inspiration!  Thanks Nathalie :)

Why the big, open mouths?  Why not, man?!
* Keith Urban concert with Lindsey - I always enjoy getting my country on!  And this would be where I started to realize that "midriffs" are now back.  

* Gelato and Crepe tasting event with my friend Heather.  She's a food blogger, and gets invited to things that are really cool and sometimes I get to go!  This new place opened up near my house and she took me to their special "private" event. We ate crepes and gelato until we were stuffed.  The Lemon/Lavender Chiffon crepe was fantastic!

*Mac-n-Cheese and Cider with Marina and Meredith.  Those 2 girls bless my socks off.

Summer 2013 Part One - Part Two coming soon...

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I've thought a lot about this thing called pruning.

You prune a plant before the flower or the limb is dead.  This is what makes the process of pruning so painful.  A dead flower or branch is so very easy to cut off...who needs or wants a dead branch?  Just go ahead and lop that bad boy off and it makes everything look better.

But what about a branch with life?  A branch that still has blooms?  A branch that has green leaves growing revealing that life that is still happening and growth is still going? Now that's a different story altogether. 

...And that's exactly where the pain in this process called pruning exists.  It is painful to watch my hydrangeas that still have some color in them be cut off from the branch.  It just seems that life should stay connected to the plant.
But this removal of living blooms is exactly what needs to happen for plants to be full and healthy.  Otherwise, you have a plant with mediocre blooms everywhere but no purpose or direction - too many blooms, spread to thin...

Likewise, this is what will need to happen in our lives if we want fullness of growth and beauty.
God removes branches that are still alive in order to flourish branches that could be so much more than what they currently are.  He knows what needs energy, and what should be sacrificed.   I have to be willing to embrace the adventure of and believe in the fullness of what is to come - instead of hanging on to that little piece of life being removed....

otherwise, that little piece of life will suck far too much energy out of my other divine purposes that were prepared for me before my life began.

They say that when you buy flowers to plant in the spring you should pinch off all the blooms in order for the plants to grow bigger and fuller than they currently are...I've only been able to bring myself to do this a time or two because it's just too sad for me to watch those healthy blooms fall to the ground.  It's so counterintuitive.  But if it's better in the long run....

May I not be so fearful in my life.  May I not fear the life that is being cut from me.  I want to trust that if something of "life" is being removed, then there is a greater life somewhere else that is going to be grown.  May I allow God to prune me carefully so that I am the fullest, flourishing version of myself - a gift of beauty and grace to the world.