Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mystery Travel

You may not know that I have a small obsession with vacation and trip planning.
I love maps and I love to travel.
I also love excitement and learning in travel.
There is nothing better than heading out with no real destination in mind, or better yet having that destination a mystery.
So you can just imagine how thrilled I was when my niece Dani asked me to plan a mystery trip for her and her friend over Thanksgiving holiday.
I wish so much I could share the details, but I can't- not until after the trip.

It's been a challenge with a tight, college student budget and I am a little nervous the trip will be boring for them...
...but I am excited anyway!

I also use this post as an open invite to any of you who want to travel on a mystery trip, let me know. I can work in any budget and as long as you have an open mind the trip will be unforgettable!

Stay posted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The God I Serve

These two are so precious
I've been spending time in the book of Daniel and in the Psalms over the last weeks and I have been reminded of who the God is that I serve.

I serve a God who hears me.
A God who answers me.
A God who watches over me both now and forever.

While this is true for me this is also true for my children.

It's hard raising children.
H.A.R.D.-- HARD!
When they are babies it's a time thing,
holding, changing, dressing, soothing, carrying.
As they grow older they are still close just not with the same constant as the early years.
As pre-teens they begin to stretch their wings of independence,
soon they begin to smooth out their arrow, attach those feathers to it and eventually are released, soaring into the wind. 
A wind outside of my holding, changing, dressing, soothing and carrying.

There is no formula to parenting.
No formula to life really, outside of Jesus Christ.
I always thought if I did and A and B then my children would be C; it's just the natural progression of things.
I thought there was a formula.

I forgot about my God.
I forgot that when I look at the circumstances before me and I see them as sealed with the signet ring of my eyes, I forget that what I view as a situation unchangable, God sees it as an opportunity to show up.
To do the impossible, to preform rescues from lions dens and fiery furnaces.

Report cards,
college applications,
the "what are you gonna do with your life" question.
All can be lions dens.
All can paint bleak or hopeful futures,
all can fool the eyes, trick the heart.

For God does not look at life like we do.
No, He has an eternal perspective,
He knows the timeline of His Kingdom.
A Kingdom everlasting.

He changes seasons.
He sets up kings
and tears them down.
He functions so different than my natural tendency.

So today as I move forward in steps of obedience.
I desire to obey in belief.
To risk my own logical mind by trusting my God.

To believe that God is who he says He is and can do what he says He can do.
To decide to look back at the fact that "the LORD has done great things for us" and be "filled with joy".
Though parenting often has me "sow(ing) in tears" I know,
I know,
I know,
I will "reap with songs of joy".

Shalom friend,  

Psalm 120:1
I call on the name of the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.

Psalm 121:8
The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Psalm 127:4
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons born in one's youth

Daniel 6:17b
the king sealed it with his own signet ring... so that Daniel's situation might not be changed
Daniel 17:21b
"...They have not hurt me..."

Psalm 126:5
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Little Star Wars Quiz and a Blessing

The Port of Oakland has these loading cranes:
Which i was thrilled to find out inspired these famous movie stars:
I can't believe my God showers so many blessings on me, a timeless mess- I thought I was simply visiting family with a chance to see a cool city, little did I know God had this special, simple treat in store for me.
I love Star Wars.
My favorite movie series of all time.
All time.
Yep, that's me, a Star Wars nerd.
Anyone know what these 4 legged beauties are called?

Come on Lisa you got this...
Aleatha, this is a good lesson for you NOT to learn, but great for your boys ;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You May Say That I'm a Dreamer

I am such a torn spirit.

I see the potential in anything.
An old dresser,
curtains with a great pattern.
...Yet simple seems so clean.
Simple can be calming, can a wall covered in art, photos and decor.

I've recently slimmed down my closet,
weeded out my fabric collection
and am in a state of re-doing.

I've also worked on slimming down my life,
no longer hosting weekly woman's gatherings and lunches,
said no to some teaching requests
deciding to simply focus on 
youth ministry and my home.

Which brings me to my home.

Our home.

We've lived inside these walls for 9 years
and I think it's time for some changes.
Changes on the walls,
changes to the furniture and fixtures.

Eclectic in my thinking and in my decorating
I hope to tell a story between our walls.
A story of who lives here.
A story of our lives.

I plan to take you along on this journey as I am inspired by Pinterest and blogs,
who knows maybe you'll get an idea or two along the way.
I'd love to see your place.
Your ideas.

I'd also love to actually DO what I plan to do.
You may say that I'm a dreamer,
I am a dreamer.
Dreamers can sometimes dream outside reality.
Dream instead of do.
This time I plan to dream IN reality
and actually DO what I dream.

With that said I am off to settle down and do some dreaming,
I even have the notebook and pillow to prove it.

Happy dreaming to you too,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Southern California

She's the reason we went to California in the first place. It was never a state I was really dying to visit but I am always open for an adventure.
She started her second year at Azusa Pacific University.
She moved into a campus apartment with 4 other girls.
She had stayed all summer in California, far away from the flat state of Florida she maybe still calls home.
I heard she had a hammock that needed to be hung, who would hang it?
We had to go.

Here is our niece Dani on her first day of school.
It's kind of fun having a niece who doesn't mind first day pictures; while we once called her a girl who is like our niece, we now just call her our niece.

We drove off in her car, Oliver I think is his name (I know who names a car a boys name?), after dropping her off at her first class.
The campus is beautiful,
and the chapel service we attended was just as beautiful.
A spirit filled school, lead by a spirit filled President.

What trip to California would be complete without a burger from In-N-Out.
I get the double, double with grilled onions.

Before school started Dani had a day in LA planned for us. Being a travel junkie I was excited, we loaded up into Oliver and headed out to places unknown to me!
I can't help take pictures of Freeway signs, something about seeing LA and San Francisco on that big green sign makes me smile.

 Our first stop was downtown LA , the LA Rescue Mission and Skid Row. Knowing my heart for the city of Detroit and the Rescue Mission there, this was a good place to start our LA day.

Next stop was lunch.
Californians can eat and they like to do it in fresh style.
We made our way to China town and ate at Homegirl Cafe, a cafe run by Homeboy Industries an organization that helps get people out of gangs and helps with a fresh start after prison. The food is all homegrown, the employees stepping up from a life that wants to drag them down.

Next on the agenda was a trip to the Griffith Observatory, sitting high in the Hollywood Hills.

After a hot and relaxing visit to the observatory we traveled westward toward Beverly Hills via Hollywood Blvd. Dani got us out of a parking ticket while Steve and I made a not so quick trip into Starbucks for an afternoon pick me up. 
We saw a few stars on the sidewalk and did a drive by the Chinese Theatre.

 Whiskey A Go Go was an added bonus drive by, not only because of it's music history but because our friend Phillip played there not too long ago.

The one part of the trip that was "open" was the time in Beverly Hills. None of us are shopping fans, not that we could afford the stores, and walking among the famous has no appeal so we decided on the city park Greystone Mansion. What an amazing home with beautiful gardens.

What a great time we had in SoCal, even though I can't believe we leave our niece there to breath in all the yucky air :)
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to participate in this time in her life, I so wish I could visit her more often but instead hoping to send her a sweet care package. 
I also am so happy that she gets to attend Azusa Pacific University. What an amazing school, the students, the faculty and the campus are top notch and it has been pure joy to see Dani growing up into the young women God created her to be.
Anyone else been to LA area and have any recommendations for our next visit, we like the outdoors, as well s cultural and historic places.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Today I am...

If you are reading this then I am long gone from my flat seaside home in Florida.
I am most likely driving on CA-120 west toward Tuolumne Meadows, pronounced too-all-oh-me.

If all goes as planned we just stayed the night near Mono Lake and woke up from our queen size room with a bath down the hall, grabbed a cup of coffee and drove around dreaming of retiring there while running our own motel or something.

I'm on day 2 of an outfit I will wear until Sunday and the sunny days and chilly nights on Southern California are a thing of the past as we prepare to snuggle down tonight between two sleeping bags with our electric blanket keeping us warm in the 30-something degree night air that lies ahead.

This is "our time".
Time for Steve and I.
Quiet with no "quick runs to beachside" to fix this or that,
no school pick ups or drop offs.
No meetings, no TV, no noise.
No 12 hour days, no 6 day work weeks;
no, just us.

Perhaps by now I am laying out our sleeping bag to serve as our picnic blanket and our "home" for the next several hours as we lay out napping and talking, enjoying the 8,000 foot elevation and the scenery to die for.

I won't make Steve hike today, no that will come tomorrow.
Today is our day to enjoy the high country.
To enjoy each other.

So I wanted to check in and let you all know life is good, really good for me right now.

If you have a Bucket List, this should be on it.
Must be on it.
Yosemite National Park is beautiful, and if you come with your favorite guest of choice, a super relaxed schedule it will be a pace that will remain in your heart forever.


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