Heart-Rending Worship.

No, I don't really know what all I'm going to write about.
Looking back over my journal,
I realize that it's been a very long time since I blogged.

God has shown me so so much since then.

None of this will be revelations for any of you, most likely,
but I just wanted to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

Worship can come from a heart that is overflowing with love and contentment;
because life is good. 
But worship doesn't always come naturally like that.
The hardest time to worship, the time when it feels like the last thing you can do is worship,
is when your heart is broken, when the world seems to be caving in, when things happen that you don't understand.
That's when worship is the most beautiful; 
when your heart is going through the fire, and you are just clinging; 
clinging desperately to the hope of Jesus. 
That's when you have to make a choice to worship; when everything inside you hurts.
You choose to worship because you know that there is Someone out there that knows better than you;
Someone out there who understands everything that you don't. 
Someone who has a reason for everything He does even when it doesn't make any sense at all.
You worship because that's the only thing you can do.

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! 
    Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness..."

"You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

Only in His presence is there fullness of joy.
Fullness of joy, even in the midst of things we can't comprehend.
Because only when we are at our wits end; only when we are out of our own answers; only when
we are completely and utterly helpless, can we truly accept His help.
and when we seek Him with our whole heart,
 we hear His answers, and we ask Him to whisper peace.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you,
 that in me you may have peace.
 In the world you will have tribulation. 
But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Living by Example.

How can I see a need and ask God
when He quietly asks me why I'm not doing the same?

How could I ask Him to shine His light on peoples' lives when 
I'm not willing to be that light?

I know that God doesn't revolve around me;
waiting on me to make decisions.
But isn't that a cop-out?

Isn't asking God to do something He's called me, and every child of His to do,
 a little ridiculous?

"Jesus, please show them your love, somehow, through someone else, 
because I am just too busy. I don't feel like it. Work wonders through someone else."

That's not living a Jesus-follower life.

Somewhere, somehow, my prayers need to be lived out.
Not just said to God right before I fall asleep, 
but lived every day to the brim.

                              "Therefore HE SAID THAT HE WOULD DESTROY THEM,
                                to turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them."

That's living your prayers out. 
That's the kind of life that I want to live;
being willing for God to use me like that, 
to bring before His throne people that He's laid on my heart, 
to "stand before Him in the breach" for their lives, 
and to not give up until I see results. 

Who has God called you to stand in the breach for?

Gratitude list #472: OH DEATH WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?

- Christina.



Gratitude is becoming more a part of me than ever before.

Maybe it's because we're moving, and I'm having to appreciate the 'little things' more than ever.
Maybe it's because I started a gratitude journal, and looking over the 'little things' that I wrote down
make me happy more than once.
Maybe it's because my perspective about the 'little things' is being changed by Him.
I don't know, but I don't hope it stays this good;
I hope it gets better.

I'll show you a little glimpse into my gratitude book because I think it does everyone good
to think about their own 'little things'.

#111: "From Deep Within". 
     (the Hebrew song we love so much.)

#167: Alexander's smiles.
                                   (My little cousin. Be jealous. Be very jealous.)

#190: Words of Truth that hurt.  

#199: Yellow Envelopes
                           (Because this means I got a letter from Monica. That is not something one takes lightly.)

Set of 50 A2 Envelopes Yellow Sunshine DIY Materials Supplies Invitations Notecards Packaging Business Marketing. $10.50, via Etsy.

#202: A stack of letters waiting to be answered.
           (Because that means I have people who send me some in response.)

#261: Lightening bugs mixing with the stars.

#267: "the kneeling christian"
(This book has literally changed my life. 
If you're struggling in your prayer life, 
or even if you think you just haven't reached the depth of prayer you would like to,
get this book. 
It's worth it.)
                         The Kneeling Christian. Highly recommend!      Book is also in Public Domain:

#292: Eye sparkles and big smiles.
(Take me baaack ...)

#316: The last drops of day staining the trees dusk.


#321: Little sister's hand in mine. 

#324: Antique love. 
(There is nothing quite so wonderful as old couples still in love.)
old couples | Tumblr              

#332: Little girls' dirty feet.

#355: Old photo memories.

#358: Keeping a straight face after receiving a stinging brother highfive.

#376: Jocelyn. 
(There is no one in the world quite like Jocelyn. 
Her sincere personality is inspiring.
Her bluntness is my favorite.
If anyone would try to be like her, they would utterly fail,
because no one can say the things that she says in quite the same way, 
so there are plenty of 'you had to be there' moments with her. 
She is the one who sends us all into fits of laughter on Tuesday night Wallhouse Bible Studies
which convinces people that we don't actually have Bible study, 
we just get together to tell jokes. 
We love you Jocelyn.)

#383: Generosity. 
(People continue to amaze me by their giving-ness, whether it's something small or something huge.. 
Generosity is actually still alive people, don't give up hope. )

So, I guess to sum things up, 
I've learned that there are no 'little things'.
Little things, added up, become the big things that change our lives, 
whether it's for the worse or for the better.



Summer's Last Hurrah.

The final days of summer are winding down . . .

And what a summer it was.
I've never been a giant fan of Summer; it's too hot.
I'm ready to leave it behind and head into Autumn.
Even though I leave this Summer with a wistful look over my shoulder . . .
This was my last Summer in America, Ohio, Beach City for a long, long time.
And boy, was it a dandy.  Maybe the biggest summer of my whole young life.
I think I'm ready though, ready for Autumn and everything else that'll come along.

                                               "Life has loveliness to sell , 
                                        All beautiful and splendid things,
                                       Blue waves whitened on a cliff, 
                                        Soaring fire that sways and sings, 
                                        And children's faces looking up
                                       Holding wonder like a cup.

                                       Life has loveliness to sell,
                                      Music like a curve of gold,
                                      Scent of pine trees in the rain, 
                                     Eyes that love you, arms that hold, 
                                     Holy thoughts that star the night . . . "


Don't Let Me Forget.

I know I was only there for a few days;
which seems like it leaves me hardly qualified to care so much for those children.
But I do.

Park Town North:
My VBS side of town.

I didn't know what to expect,
 all I knew was that we were going to be doing Bible School for Hispanic children.

I wasn't picturing it like this; apartment building set up every which way, and a big 'park' in the middle with a big tree in the center.
Walking down to the tree, waving to people and saying 'Hola!', and I saw children were already there, waiting for us.
We walked door to door then, inviting more kids to come, and that was when I met my first kid, Ashley.

She wasn't quite like the other children; starved for attention and hardened,
                                     hardened already at the age of six or seven.
                         She had a gentle spirit; swatting flies away from my face, 
                            or singing Jingle Bells in 
                          Spanish and just getting joy out of LIFE.
                        She traced me on the sidewalk and somehow got the idea 
                                across to me that she wanted 
                         to draw a princess dress and crown and shoes on me.
                        She doesn't deserve that life any more than I deserve this one.
                         She has a little sister named Yemi.

                   She's mischevious and adorable.
There's Emily . . . 
bubbly and friendly,
but scared of keeping face paint on for fear of her mom 
hitting her when she got home.

There's Andy,
a Mowgli from the Jungle Book if there ever was one.
He's always running around in the background somewhere,
pouring water on people or scaring them.
But he has such a gentle heart, 
and he's so precious.

There's Maria, who couldn't get over how short I was.
Maria: You're short, aren't you? You're the shortest one.
Me: Yes, I am.
Maria: (thinks a little) Do you eat vegetables?

. . . . . . . 
So many little children starving for someone just to love them.
Even when I didn't know their language 
(Me: [drawing a house, then saying proudly:] La Playa!
Blank stares from little kids trying to understand me.
I later find out that La Playa means the beach.)
I hope that they somehow understood how precious they were to me and God.
It's so hard to leave them, knowing the places they live and the things they're exposed to.
It's hard not to feel like loving on them was a waste of time, 
and that it didn't really accomplish anything.
But I know that God is Good all the time,
and He loves them even more than I do.
I don't want to forget about them.
 I'll keep praying for them; 
pleading for their souls
and committing them to Him.
Because He can use the smallest,
 seemingly worthless acts of kindness 
to change their lives.
All He wants me to do is love them like Jesus.

Would you help me pray for them?

                         Pray for little Ashley, Jesus, Yemi, Doce, Natali, Emily,
                                                Sidie, Roberto, Andy, Kevin . . .
                                            and there are so many more.

When asked what was one thing he had to be patient and wait for, 
little Kevin said quietly:
"Waiting for you guys to knock on my door every day."
VBS is all those kids have to live for.

Help me pray?

                        - Me.


High Tea with Princesses.

 Today is Chloe's birthday party.
Today is Chloe's PRINCESS birthday party.
Which means you have to dress up like a princess and sometimes talk in british accents.
Six wonderful friends came over and excitement ran high.

The unwrapping of the beautiful gifts was a thing of wonder.

"To Sweet Princess Chloe."
And one thoughtful friend made her a
 (well, I suppose her mother made it. I'm sure she helped.)
big blanket that all the friends signed with sweet notes
that she can take with her to Thailand and treasure forever.

She would never say so, 
but her friends tell us that she is quite the artist.

The signing of the blanket.

Sweet Party Details:

There was a treasure hunt
which brought all the children to Chloe's Favorite Place.

Her little Place cut out from three pine trees 
with a floor of pine needles 
and walls of branches
and a ceiling of the tips of trees and blue sky.

High Tea was prepared for the Tired and Hot.

"Sugar and spice and everything nice . . . 
That's what little girls are made of."

It was basically a fairy - tale world.

Even the Stuffed Pets got special seats.

Chloe spent her morning preparing the Place.

Arriving from their Treasure Hunt. . . 

It looks like hot tea, 
but it was actually cold tea.
Not hot.
Moving on.

We had the most pleasant time chatting 
about wisdom teeth and all sorts of exciting things
 and sipping tea .

It was decided, unanimously, that they were all princesses.
Except for Carson, who was a prince.
He was asked whether he's ever saved Chloe
from a dragon.
I'm sure the noble boy would've if there would be any remaining.
There was a bit of a argument discussion over whether
I was the Queen, or their maid
but then someone cleverly pointed out that Queen's do NOT serve princesses,
I was the maid.

Whoever says boys can't have tea parties 
obviously never met Carson the Awesome.

Michael the Butler was our entertainment for Tea,
and being chased around the table was one of his least talents.

The Chlo, in all her glory.

And when she rose, 
they all rose.
(after I explained that they should.)

                                              The End.
                                  (Isn't that what you say after a fairytale story?)