Thursday, October 8, 2009

october 8, 2000

no, not the wrong date... :)

9 years ago today shawn and i embarked on this dating adventure... and an adventure that we are still on! i love my husband and i am so glad that 9 years ago today we took this little walk on fall retreat (yes, on a retreat with a bunch of HS students... i think it was a sign... :) and talked about dating and how we were interested in each other and all that good stuff! i love it! i love the road that God has taken us down and i look forward with excitement, knowing that God has given me shawn to walk with! i think about how my life used to not have shawn in it and how foreign that thought is to me now... he is so great, ya know... he just fits me and i love that. it's like God knew (well, i know He did) but sometimes i just have moments where i am like "GOD! you SO know me by giving me this guy!" it's crazy to me in those moments and at the same time i praise God for a husband that fits me in the fun times and in times that aren't so fun or are hard or even when we aren't too happy with each other. i really am so thankful for each and every moment, good and bad... i have never learned so much as i have on this journey and what is even better is that it is not over. i love this adventure with shawn and even more i love this road that God has taken me down in life, blessing me with a husband who seeks after Him more than anything else. i love that in our vows shawn and i both promised to not only love each other but to minister with each other... and i would even add to that now, to minister to each other! i know life isn't perfect and relationships and marriages aren't perfect either... it all hasn't been, but like i said before i wouldn't take a moment back. i know that God has used this marriage to teach me about relationships and myself and how i need to work on those kind of things, but even more i praise God for teaching me about Himself... about His unconditional love and grace... so great right, that God uses people to teach us more about Him... we are made in His image right? so i guess that makes a little sense... God guide us! i know you have for the last 9 years and i know you will into the future!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

my soul wells up...

shawn and i were able to go to puerto vallarta for a week at the beginning of this month and we had such a great vacation. we stayed at a great resort and were able to relax and simply spend time together in a beautiful place. one of my favorite things to do was to take walks in the evenings. each night produced a beautiful and new sunset. it really was so great. we had six different nights that we spent there and each of these pictures show you a little bit of what we got to see each night. the last night we were in mexico we went on one last walk and the sunset was gorgeous. i wasn't surprised because really every night had been more beautiful than the last. but it was just oh so beautiful. i really miss sunsets. when i titled my blog "longing for home" shawn was afraid that i was naming it that because i miss alaska so much and so often... oh silly shawn, but he does know me and he knows that i do miss home and the beautiful state of alaska. i know it doesn't need to be said but alaska has great sunsets. i mean think about the mountains and the ocean and oh it's really so great. needless to say i miss this. i miss talking to God about life while i watch the sunset. i miss knowing that He has blessed me and shown me His love in the things He has created for me to enjoy. i miss experiencing Him in these ways. it has been great and hard being in chicago in connection to this for me. i have been forced to meet with God and forced to look for Him in new and fresh ways. it has been hard because i do find joy in such moments and i don't find them as much here as i did back in alaska. but one thing i do know is that God knows me and He knows what i love and enjoy about Him. we were walking that last night and i was thinking about such things and knowing that God has made this for us to enjoy and knowing that God loves me so specifically and knows that i love nights like the ones we had in mexico! chris rice has this song called "hallelujahs" and i thought of it on our last night in mexico and kinda just hummed it as i walked through the waves... i won't type it all out here but he sings about the creation of God and in seeing it and knowing how we ourselves are a beautiful creation... that as he sees and finds truth in these things that his soul "wells up with hallelujahs." i love that. don't you ever just have a moment where you find yourself swallowing down that lump and little tears sneak out of the corners of your eyes... and it's not cause there's anything wrong but it is because you have experienced God in such a way that you know it is about you and that His love for you is deep and intimate... it is moments like these that i try to describe and i really do fall short of adequate words. i wish i had them. i want my soul to "well up" even more often... look for Him, i know i need to... because He doesn't save His love for just one week out of the year in mexico or a fantastic time of worship one night every couple of months... i know He loves me everyday and i know that He, of all people, is communicating this to me often and frequently. why do i miss it? i praise God for the moments that i see Him and my soul wells up inside of me and i pray for eyes that are open and looking for Him in every little moment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

mosquito bites

i don't know what it is but mosquitoes love me... i must have good blood... ha ha... who knows. but, as long as i can remember i have always been eaten up by those buzzing little bugs. this weekend we went camping with the swalves over at illinois state beach. i was so excited going into the weekend because i had not been camping in a long time and i really miss having that be a part of every summer. when i grew up we went camping at least once, if not twice, during the summer. some of my best memories are from those week long camping trips that we took with friends that were like family. so... needless to say i was excited. we had a great time... shawn and i biked a lot by the lake and it was oh so beautiful... the four of us made some fantastic food, individually and collectively... we loved coming up with great new food inventions over the camp fire... and it was just plain old good time with friends. that is something i really love about camping - everyone just kinda hangs out and good conversations are always had. so of course, it was a great weekend, only to be dampered by the amount of mosquito bites i received. i don't know why i wasn't expecting it, but they came and they came full force this time... the other thing is that i think i might have some kind of allergic reaction cause the bites get HUGE and i mean HUGE. and oh man, so itchy. like SO itchy. :) so one night i'm lying awake in our tent not sleeping because my whole body is covered with massive burning bites. i'm laying there getting frustrated and complaining in my head about how annoying this is and why can't i just go camping and not get bit and on and on and on... so silly, yes i know, but i do love my sleep and i was quite uncomfortable (they still are, i'm icing them right now... for real, it's crazy!:). then something stopped my rambling, complaining mind for a bit and made me look at how silly i was being... then i got to thinking that i am not deserving of camping without bites... really i'm not deserving of a great weekend with friends... God has nothing to owe me... not comfort... not a weekend away... not beautiful creation to ride through on my bike... not good friends... not a committed and loving husband... i had this reality check in my stupid complaining mood and it made me think about this concept outside of just the situation that i was in. GOD OWES ME NOTHING. when i am given anything that i enjoy it is a gift from Him. going back to the camping aspect of it all, i love our tent. i know it's kinda silly, but i really do. it's cute and the perfect size and i love that it is blue and green! i had this thought on my mosquito bite night that even our tent is a gift from God. we got this great deal on it right before we got married and i know that God knows me and the things that i enjoy and that i LOVE CAMPING... and so we found this tent. i want to be aware of the small things that God gifts my life with... like i said i really believe that anything that is enjoyable, anything that brings happiness, comfort, really any adjective that is positive falls into this... all these are from my God who loves me and knows me personally. and the kicker is that i am not deserving of any of it... i have no right to anything good or the absence of anything bad.

shawn was talking to me today about how he wants to be more aware of Jesus, to love Him more and to appreciate what He has done for us. i think that this is a huge way how Jesus comes and affects our daily and everyday lives. without Jesus we would not be given these things in our lives that we enjoy, right... i mean, these are given out of the grace of God and His love for us... this grace is given to us because Jesus took what we should have had... i want to think about Jesus everytime something big or little affects my life in a positive way... and i want to think about Jesus when i am frustrated and feel like i am deserving of more... i have no right to go there. and i think "going there" cheapens what Jesus has done... maybe cheapens is not even a strong enough word... it really throws His sacrifice to the side... like He did this, but i still should be comfortable or i shouldn't have to deal with this... i dunno... it just seems like i am not fully appreciating Him, or having any appreciation at all, in those moments. I don't want to be that person.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17

EVERY GOOD GIFT... i think every is pretty all inclusive right? i want to rejoice every day in my Savior who loves me, who died for me, and who knows me so well to gift my life with things that bring me joy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

my blessings in picture...

shawn and me... he is definitely a blessing and so was this mountain that we got to hike up in aguascalientes... i LOVED being able to go hiking and spend some time up above...

i really did love this mexico group... i miss them so much now that we are back home!!


i am so blessed. i know that sounds generic and cliche but let me explain... last night we spent time at encounter sharing how God had worked in our lives during our time in mexico. the reason i feel blessed is because i love hearing how God has changed lives, especially the lives of the high school kids that we work with at church. shawn put so much hard work into the trip and i know that God put even more into it... knowing that all this work was poured into the trip and then seeing how lives were changed, it was so good. ahhh... blessed, i think that is a good word to use.

God changes my life so many times through people and the things they tell me about how the Lord is working in their lives. i seriously love it. that is something i miss so much about being at Moody... i felt like the group i spent time with was very intentional about this and i know that we all grew because of it. i really do think this is part of the reason, or a huge part of the reason God gave us each other. tell me about how God changes you! it shows me how God can change and mold me as well. tell everyone else too! why do we not say those things when we think about them? i know there are so many times i keep my mouth shut and don't share with others about the great God in my life and how He personally works to make me more like His Son.

i really do love the church. i love the community that it bring and i love that people step up and care for each other in a way that is like family. i feel like our church, bethel, has definitely been going through a season where this is very evident. i am once again... BLESSED... to be a part of this family.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

oh why not...

i have finally decided to join the blogging community... honestly (this will tell you how indecisive i really am) it took me a while to decide whether or not this was something i really wanted to do. i should have never signed up for the aguascalientes trip blogging cause i think that threw me over the edge. one thing i do know is that i don't want this blog to just be about me. i've always known that God has given us each other for a reason and much of that is to encourage and nudge each other on towards living a life that is a pleasing sacrifice to Him. i want this blog to be about this... i have so many friends around the states, and even the world, that i want to keep up with and give little highlights of life... i want this blog to be about that too...

so here i go on a new journey i guess you could say. i hope that in this we are able to encourage each other to look more like Jesus. i don't want this blog to be something that draws attention to anything shawn and i are doing or thinking... i just want it to be a little log of sorts where we can communicate what God is teaching us and guiding us through at that point in time. i chose the title "longing for home" because i do long for our eternal home but i want to long for it even more. i want the things i do in my life to be done out of a desire that is eternal not just temporal.

in high school i became this rich mullins "fan"... well i absolutely love one of his cd's and i only own one so i don't know if this classifies me as a fan but whatever... there is a song i love and it talks about longing for home. i was washing the dishes the other day and when i do this completely boring chore, i love to think. often i think about how i wish i was like brother lawrence who wrote "practicing the presence of God" and how he used his time washing dishes to dwell on the things of God and how all that he does, even dish washing, can be worship to our Savior. so this song comes on and i remember when phil died and how much i hated this earth and the horrible stuff that came along with sin entering in... i longed so deeply to be out of here and with Jesus where death is no longer an option. i hated that life wasn't intended to be like this. as time goes on i find myself thinking about this less and less. oh yeah, so washing dishes this song comes on and i love the line that reminds me that i must long for home...

"there's more that rises in the morning than the sun
more that shines in the night than just the moon
there's more than just this fire here that keeps me warm
in a shelter that is larger than this room
there's a loyalty that's deeper than mere sentiment
a music higher than the songs that i can sing
the stuff of earth competes for the allegiance
i owe only to the Giver of all good things

so if i stand let me stand on the promise that you will pull me through
and if i can't let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you
if i sing let me sing for the joy that has born in me these songs
but if i weep let it be as a man who is longing for his home"

i want to live here on earth with intentionality and purpose but i never want this to get in the way of longing for home...