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You are fairer still today… May 11, 2009

Posted by G in from the heart.
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AriThis is my beautiful niece Arilia Elise Jacqueline. She was born on Easter Sunday, April 12th at 5:07pm. She is our little Easter bunny.

I can not tell you how amazed I am in regards to God’s provision with this situation. Here is the short story without too many boring details.

I thought I was going to have to take custody of my niece. The past two months have consisted of me being prepared to either take her or not… I couldn’t get myself excited for either possibility since both were up in the air. When people asked what to pray for, I just said “pray for what is best for the baby”. Everyone’s reaction was always the same… “well I know that you taking her would be the best thing”.

Good news is God knows better than we do… baby was born 10 fingers, 10 toes… momma is doing well and I see a significant desire to be the best mom she can be. Her and babydaddy are living with my dad (this my friend, is a miracle… you have NO idea). Babydaddy is working and they are looking to find a place of their own in the relative same area as my dad. This should help them to stay out of trouble. My sister and I got along better than we ever did when I was down for the month. I definitely see this as a possibility for a 180 in our relationship. Of course there is lots of work all the way around in all aspects of life… BUT we do not have to worry about knowing what is best… we just need to trust.

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oh love, I’ve always known you… November 24, 2008

Posted by G in from the heart.
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well… I haven’t, but God has and that’s the cool part!

It's a girl!!!

It’s a girl and in five months I will meet her. I am a real auntie… of course my friend’s kids call me Auntie G , it’s been that way since my boy Austin was born, but come April I will meet her and it’s for real, for real!! Her name is Arelia Elise… Arelia is Craig’s grandmother’s name and Sophie picked out Elise.

Sophie has been through some pretty tough times and it’s really cool for me to see how excited she is and it’s really awesome to know that she wants to share her excitement with me. Out of the 14 pics she emailed me… this is my favorite: :]

]

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” ~Psalm 139:13

my brain is full… November 5, 2008

Posted by G in from the heart, prayer.
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I keep thinking that it’s going to explode… there are a few things in life that I think need to happen and then life may just settle down for me:

1.  National Coalition Banquet needs to be over (and a success) – two more days… wanna come?? it’s Friday night at 6:30pm and it will be over in PLENTY of time to see 3 Chords at Shenanigans.

2.  I need to write a letter on the status of the estate… YES! I will do it this time… gosh!!

3.  Scumbag tenants need to move… (yes, they are still there… and no, I don’t want to talk about it… grrr!!!) We have come to an agreement that they will leave on December 3rd… please, please!!

4.  Meeting with the building inspector… ugh…

5.  Neighbors are talking about buying the land… THIS IS #1!! I am so committed to selling, I really can not do it anymore. If not them, someone… anyone… anyone… bueller??  bueller??

6.  I would really like to get caught up financially in life… selling would possibly solve it and I would love to be able to work only one job… splitting my time has always run me ragged.

7.  Health… I really think that this stress is finally starting to affect me physically… I really need to get a reign on my sleeping and eating habits again… and it’s quite true that low income eating is not great for the diet… I’ve even been slacking on my water intake… yea… me… the one with the nalgene bottle always attached to her person…

Okay… so this is my current me me me prayer list… I am usually not one to put it all out there for the world to see, but there you have it. Please pray with me, and do feel free to leave your prayer requests in the comments or even give me a call… it would be my pleasure to reciprocate!

Where You are going is where I want to be… June 28, 2008

Posted by G in from the heart, mindless ramblings, truth.
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Many of you are aware of what has transpired for me over the past month due to circumstances four years ago. Many may know that I have felt quite stagnant and hopeless in many ways… probably brought on by my blinders or possible denial of reality and definitely my lack of faith. But I have decided to step out and trust. The week leading up to that moment was brutal… I was a bawling idiot most of Sunday the 15th, those of you I saw Sunday morning knew something was up, those of you at Tara Leigh’s show may have heard her mention it… but I was brought to a point of no return… the point of wanting to just flee. Of course that would solve nothing, so here I am.

So, I put it all out on the table… wrote a letter that tore me to pieces as I admitted by defeat. Once I truly came to terms with my inadequacy and self-reliance, the moment I brought the letters to the mailbox a weight was lifted. I no longer had this burden on my shoulders… I gave it up… through no doing of my own. I knew that God would take care of it… I knew that even though all of my issues are not solved… He has them… and they are dissapating one by one. Ever since that Wednesday I have had this smile that I can not wipe off my face. I have noticed it there and thought about people I pass and wonder what they are thinking looking at me. And the coolest part… is that provisions have been made, and I have felt more alive than I have in years. cliche… maybe…

To hell and back… February 18, 2008

Posted by G in from the heart, truth.
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My new friends can be just an indecisive as I can, but I think I did pretty well with making decisions this week, and not worrying about what others may be thinking because every choice I made was coming from a perpective of what I wanted to or knew I should be doing… even if part of it wasn’t always the most fun thing to do.

I had no plans in the Grand Caymen Islands except that I knew that I wanted to see the Island.  My friends didn’t have an excursion plan, but were trying to come up with one.  An arrangement to meet at 8am was made so that we could make the final decision.  Terry and I stayed up a bit later the night before to go over the list and cut things down.  My only stipulation was that I needed to go around the island.  Throughout my conversation with Terry I said that I would be happy to go snorkeling again as long as I was able to tour the island, if they decided to just go snorkeling or go to the beach then that’s fine with me… I would just find something else to do. 

In the morning 5 of us met for breakfast with the handy-dandy excursion list.  I mentioned that they can choose whatever they would like, and that I was fine with going off on my own, and then just sat back and let people decide.  The decison was made to go on the land & sea tour.  This tour included riding in a semi-submersed boat with glass sides and viewing shipwrecks and the Cheeseburger reef… it pains me so to know that this beautiful reef was named after Burger King.  From there we went to the Turtle farm where I was blessed to hold a beautiful endangered species.  Then it was off to the Rum Cake Factory for, you guessed it… a yummy piece of cake and candy-like shot of rum… yea… really… After that the next stop was to the town of hell… yea… odd name for a place.  We just sat on the bus when we arrived thinking that it was just a cheesy place and almost didn’t get off.  First we walked into the post office/store to see if it was as cheesy as imagined… just the typical tourist trap.  Then we walked around to where it got it’s name.  Behind the building was this crazy looking rock formations.  The rocks are actually an old coral reef from when the ocean covered it.  Coral only grows approximately a half inch a year.  It was pretty much an amazing site to me… despite it’s nasty name. 

During this time another girl that game with us, Dee, walked around to corner drinking coconut water from a green coconut.  This is the liquid inside the coconut in this first stage, it it extememly healthy and been known to significantly lower blood pressure within 7 days (I learned that in Jamaica, but more on that later).  Claudia got one and I tried it.  It tasted alright and I thought I might get one for the novelty of it… not because I really wanted one.  When I asked where to get it I was told to go around the corner to the store.

I went straight inside and asked the lady, Pearl was her name I found out later, where the coconuts were.  She promptly said “outside the door.  Are you a Christian?”  Although I wasn’t wearing a cross or anything that would “define” my beliefs.  I told her yes and she said “Will you tell this man about Jesus?”  The man was standing to my right and I told him that God has called us to be in relationship with him because he loves us.  It appeared from what he said that he may suffer from some form of stigmata and he didn’t understand why a God that loved him would cause him so much pain.  I told him that God never said that life on earth would be easy, but if we perservere and believe in him that we would sit at please pray for David...the right hand of God in heaven.  He had tears in his eyes and on his face throughout our conversation, this man could quote scripture like the best, when I asked him his name he did so round and round and then said that his name was David.  I said “Ahhh, a man after God’s own heart…” He then went into how could David be a man after God’s own heart when he did all that he did (he was quite specific).  I explained that once David realized his wrong doings he was broken and fell to his knees, he realized he was a sinner.  He fasted and prayed, and once his son passed and judgement came down, David got up, washed, ate and worshipped God.  David is still trying to get the concept that he is a sinner and needs Jesus, and I am just another watering of the seed that Pearl is tending to.  Yet I am so blessed that God chose me to travel to the Grand (or not so Grand) Caymen Islands to share His love with a man that He is pursuing. 

While I was talking with David the bus drivers were in the store and Pearl asked them if they were Christians and they said no.  She said that they should listen to our conversation also.  Please pray with me for David and the bus drivers…

I didn’t find nemo… February 15, 2008

Posted by G in from the heart, mindless ramblings.
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All I can say is that this has been truly one experience that was no question full of God ordained appointments.  From the beginning of deciding to go on this cruise… I was sure that God was telling me to come, the person that told me about the cruise told me that she thought God told her that I should come on this cruise.  When I called the person in charge of coordinating the cruise, she told me that the cruise was sold out, but she thought I was supposed to go, so she worked her butt off to get me on.  I was expecting a lot of time to myself… but that was not His plan.  God immediately supplied me with friends… without me having to put any effort into it.  My closest new friend is Claudia and she was a last minute addition to the trip… and God definitely wanted us to become fast friends.  The next of my “just add salt water” friends are Terry & Jim… they also happen to be my next door neighbors.  There have been many in depth late night conversations on Biblical teachings, when life can be so structured (yea… they are Baptists)… and more.  And sometimes it’s true that no good conversation happens after 2:30am… but that is not the rule.

I came with no real expectations… I was looking forward to time on my own. In the port of Key West my thought was to have no expectations about my time (other than a margarita at Margaritaville and a piece of Key Lime pie for Antje… Ft Lauderdale pie wasn’t the best… so I kept trying for you… the reseach ended soon and it’s true… the best Key Lime Pie is in the Keys) . 

Claudia had met an 86ish year old Athiest man last December and felt a need to continue to pray for him and seach him out while on this visit.  Many of us headed out in a group and she was torn with what to do.  Once she was clear she suggested we rent bikes.  Three of us rented them… Claudia Matt and I.  She was not sure where Peter lived but we were determined to figure it out… the Island is small enough & we saw it all.  Once we found it Matt & I had planned on leaving her be and going off to our one scheduled event where we were supposed to meet by 11:15am.  Peter welcomed us all in.  As we sat drinking out apple juice on the rocks he told us many stories of his Nazi days (as one who did not approve of Hitler and did what he could, when he could… but still had to serve as a Nazi).  During our conversation we tried to bring up the subject at hand and he continued to talk and talk and not give us much of an opportunity to get to the matter at hand though we tried to bring it into conversation.  As we were leaving Matt & I went out to get the bikes and Claudia was last coming out.  As she left she said “Peter I will continue to pray for you”.  His response was “Oh,you know I don’t believe in God… you don’t have to pray for me.”  “Last time you gave me permission to pray for you and I am going to pray you into the kingdom” She said… and as his demeanor changed he said “Well, then, maybe that’s why you are here.”  We have no idea what God has for this man… but the seeds have been dropped and watered.  It was the best time I could’ve had in the Keys and I am blessed that He had me be a part of it.  I love how it is all based out of relationship.  Matt is a hard core evangelist (we have since found out) and was praying for that type of opportunity.  It is no coincidence that we were all together that day and were able to break off from the larger group without all parties involved knowing why Claudia and I were looking to rent bikes.  btw… I felt like 12 again riding around that island… it was so much fun!!! 

As for Cozumel… I ❤ snorkeling…  Jorge and “captain no english speaking mexican man” were our guides and it was amazing… even thought it felt so sketchy pre-leaving dock.  We saw an Eagle-Ray, sting ray which is a rare sighting…. a huge lobster and many amazing fish… all I could think of was how amazing God is, that there is another universe under the water and he created them beautiful bright colors… even though he didn’t have to.  I can not wait to go through all my pics… I am sure that it will not do any justice to the beauty I saw.

It is amazing to me how God has brought me here and given me so many friends that have pursued relationship with me when all I had to do was just be me.  It’s been a time of truly realizing that focusing on relationship is what is really important, to continue to live as Jesus did and love one another and share His story in every day conversation.  To put away any checklist I have created and live… just live.

disclaimer… it’s way too early in the morning and I have no idea if this made any sense.  Time to get to bed so that I may enjoy the sunshine again tomorrow as we sail back to home port.  Don’t worry… the story will continue and it only gets better. 

:) Merry Christmas :) December 10, 2007

Posted by G in from the heart, truth.
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I’ve got plans you know… November 8, 2007

Posted by G in from the heart, mindless ramblings.
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I am not going to go there yet Jackie, but it still may happen… 🙂

Those of you that read this thing (well, at least the 4 I know about… and possibly more that I have no clue are reading) know that I was hoping to be in Namibia right now… I hear it’s quite hot with some rain… In my plan, I would be back next Friday.  But this was not God’s plan… He has given me the desire to be there on a longer term since February of 2004.  I have made up many excuses in my brain why it hasn’t happened & I finally thought that I came to the point where I was out of excuses.  When it got closer to the time for me to go I started looking into airfare & an uneasiness came over me… like it wasn’t time for me to go.  I felt that I was trying to make happen my desires and not His.  I finally left it in God’s hands and asked him to make it clear with the cost of the ticket.  Oh, he made it clear alright an extra $400 clear.  Since the time that I was to leave… I have had more issues with my mom’s estate… a new tenant… sewer… water… furnance… not the easy stuff.  He has made it quite clear to me that it wasn’t His timing, just my desire to make it happen.  

I am still moving forward with spending next summer in Namibia.  There is so much I want to learn about Joan’s ministry and the things that Dieter is doing.  I am amazed at how a moment of stuttering out part of my story in a church service one Thurday evening in February of 2004 has given me such a heart for the women of Namibia.  And I know that I could speak it more clearly today than I ever would have imagined back in that day. 

So, if you could please pray with me for the settling of my mother’s estate, all the issues and repairs that are coming up right now and for God’s will in my moving forward with the things that I know He has called me to do.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
~Philippians 2:1-4

New Beginnings… November 5, 2007

Posted by G in from the heart, mindless ramblings, youth min.
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I’ve been feeling pretty emotional lately, I haven’t been sure why…  I think I am beginning to understand.

I started a new book goup recently on “The Secret Message of Jesus” by Brian McLaren.  I am really excited for opportunities like this where many people get together to discuss their hearts & opinions.  We’ve only been through the intro & first chapter so I am not sure where it’s heading.  It appears to me that it may be a case of “What if we really lived as Jesus did and as the bible says?”  I am hoping that is the particular direction.  I have really discovered in the past couple of years that my desire is to live that way, but I seem to get stuck in the comfort of my ways, even though my ways are not always so comfortable. 

One thing McLaren states is “What if Jesus’ secret message reveals a secret plan? What if he didn’t come to start a new religion-but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?  What if his secret message had practical implications for such issues as how you live your daily life, how you earn and spend money, how you treat people of other races and religions and how the nations of the world would conduct their foriegn policy?  What if his message directly or indirectly addressed issues like advertising, parenting, the quest for happiness and peace and racial reconciliation?”  My heart says that this is part of Jesus’ message.  He didn’t come to start a new religion of rules and regulations… He came to teach a message of love and grace… a desire for relationship with Himself and one another…

After the group left I stayed and talked with Jesse & Lisa… & then just Lisa for a while.  We were talking about youth ministry and how God has brought us together with different backgrounds and gifts to be able to relate to kid’s lives.  I mentioned a time when a parent called and asked for Mike.  I let her know that he was not available and if it was something that she could speak with me about.  She mentioned issues that she was having with her daughter and that she would like for someone to meet with the two of them to talk.  I arranged a time for the four of us to meet. After the meeting I asked Mike if he thought the meeting went well and he stated that he never would’ve known the questions to ask in that situation.  After that Lisa mentioned that she has always wanted to ask me about my story.  Truth be told, my story is not something that I like to share, but I decided that I would break down some walls and tell her. 

The abridged version took about 50 minutes.  I told her some things that I can say I have never said out loud and it felt a bit freeing.  I also realized that the emotion that I have been feeling lately is the joy, uncertainty of the unknown and desire to learn that I had when I first came to know what true relationship with God was all about.  He has pursued me throughout my life and has always been straight up with me.  Although I sometimes may feel inadequate, used, not good enough, like no one will love me… He says that I am, He does and He has only the best desires for me.   

“I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within, I lay it all down for the sake of you my King. I’m giving you my dreams, I’m laying down my rights. I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life. And I surrender all to you, all to you.
I’m singing You this song, I’m waiting at the cross and all the world holds dear, I count it all as loss. For the sake of knowing You for the glory of Your name. To know the lasting joy, even sharing in Your pain. And I surrender all to you, all to you.”
~Marc James

There Is No Fear In Love ~1 John 4:18 July 31, 2007

Posted by G in from the heart.
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“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  ~Genesis 50:20

“bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  ~Luke 6:28

So, as I said I just got back from TLC and every year God speaks to me and kicks my butt about something.  I mentioned my lack of trust a couple posts back.  For so long I have been holding onto this without realizing exactly what was up.  It became clearer for me in Arandis this time around… I felt trapped there, not able to venture out on my own.  I was nervous to walk by myself even in broad daylight…  Late spring we were informed that the daughter of one of our ministry partners had been assaulted in a town that I wasn’t even going to visit.  I didn’t realize the extent of my caution (paranoia) until this past week…

During the final session Dwight Peterson spoke on forgiveness… he spoke about how there was someone in their lives that really had hurt he and his wife Bonnie.  Years later he found out that the man was potentially going to work at the same youth camp and he told the directors that they shouldn’t hire him and when Bonnie asked what he would do if the man showed up he said that he would kill him.  He realized what the pain of unforgiveness had caused and he and Bonnie started to pray for this man.  They never saw him again and the wounds have healed.

I’ve realized that although I think I have forgiven those that have wounded me… I have not made the effort to pray for them and if I do not pray for them, have I truly forgiven them??  I have come to the conclusion that I will not be able to truly trust men until I fully lay the past at Jesus’ feet.  And if I continue trying to protect myself… who am I serving???

“To love means to open ourselves to suffering.  Shall we shut our doors to love, then, and be ‘safe'” ~Elisabeth Elliot

“So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you.”  ~Proverbs 22:19