Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cinder's Whine...

The song below came on as I was finishing up teaching Little Mister today. You know, some Christian music I can listen to and some I can't, but Mark Shultz is one of those that I can definitely listen to at ease.

With the whole surrender to God, I don't know that I have actually caught on to the act of surrendering things to Him. I know it's a dangerous practice, as then I open myself up to attempting things on my own, yet again, and that just leads to disaster in a variety of forms. I'm trying hard, but for a variety of reasons, it's not completely happening.

The bottom-line...right now I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't bringing me down. I've entered this week, completely backing out of all my commitments, as I don't have the energy to do them. In the same sense, I don't easily tell people the extent to which I'm feeling sick, as I have so many friends who are a lot sicker than me and I want them lifted up as much as humanly possible. It's frustrating, especially since it ends up coloring all aspects of life and that's not a good thing in any light. So this week will most likely hold another date with the doctor and more meds which seem to not work.

One thing that won't change...I do love Him more than anything in this world and am blessed because His presence. I guess the key right now, is simply embracing His love, resting in His presence and knowing that He never places things before us which we can't handle or overcome.

Broken & Beautiful
(Mark Shultz, Broken and Beautiful)

There’s a businessman
There’s a widowed wife
There’s a smiling face with a shattered life
There’s a teenage girl with a choice to make
It’s crowded here in church today

And the preacher says as the sermon ends
Please close your eyes and bow your heads
Is there anyone in need of prayer
Jesus wants to meet you here
‘cause we all fall short
We all have sinned
But when you let God’s Grace break in…

It’s beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Well he’d never been to church before
But he came today as a last resort
His world was crashing in
And he was suffocating in his sin

But tears ran down
As hope rushed in
He closed his eyes
Raised his hands
Worshiping the God who can
Bring him back to life again


Cause there’s nothing more beautiful to God
Than when his sons and daughters come
Come as you are
Come as you are


Come as you are
(Come as you are)
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Come as you are
(Come as you are)
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Taking Blows When You're Down

"if satan can't touch God without burning up, he'll poke at God by hurting us." (jollybeggar)

As life has played out this past little while, I've thought a lot about this quote. I've been in many discussions with people about life and why things happen the way they do.

Throughout all the discussions, I've had a variety of opinions come out of them. I know that there are definite consequences to our actions, especially when we step outside of God's will or make a not so bright decision. That goes with having a Father/child relationship, like what we experience with God. Just like as a parent, I can't let things slide when my kids get off track, either can He with us. That all comes in the whole growing portion of the walk in Christ. But, I have been told by a variety of people, that this is the reason for all things, all the time...I have trouble believing that though.

Throughout the past couple of years, I've dealt with this issue head-on and have come to the conclusion that there is a definite spiritual battle going on. Yeah, you can't blame all things on it, but there are definitely those times when you feel like you're getting repeatedly hit. You don't even have time to catch your breath before the next blow hits you. It's almost like you are being kept 'down' so that you'll be of no apparent use to God's kingdom work. Really, to me, it's like the quote above...satan will do whatever it takes to poke at God and if that means through the process of hurting His children, then that's the route which will be taken.

For me lately, it's been a process, of trying to really see things for what they truly are. By being able to do that, I'm able to discern whether something is a battle, a lesson, a consequence of my actions or simply a happening in life. I'm learning to try to not be beaten down by what happens in life, no matter how frustrating or unexplainable it might seem. I'm trying hard to keep a more positive mindset and outlook, then I've been prone to having the past couple of years.

I don't know that there's any concrete answer in this department. Depending who you talk to, you will always get a huge variety of answers on the topic, simply due to upbringing, religion, denomination and a whole other bag of things.

For me, I can only really go on my experiences and where they have taken me. To me, that quote speaks a lot of truth. I think this earthly portion of the walk will always be a very interesting journey. We aren't meant to know everything that will happen and really don't know most days what will come around the next corner. For me, I simply continue to work at strengthening who I am as a person, in order to be more prepared for the unexpected, unexplainable, etc. I pray that I'll be able to come out the other side, still standing on two feet and stronger as a result of what's transpired. I think that's His wish as well.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weird Mood...

**I'm in a weird mood, so I thought I'd post some Monty Python**

"I'm so Worried"
(from Monty Python's Contractual Obligations Album)

I'm so worried about what's happenin' today, in the middle east, you know.
And I'm worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow.
I'm so worried about the fashions today, I don't think they're good for your feet.
And I'm so worried about the shows on TV that sometimes they want to repeat.

I'm so worried about what's happenin' today, you know.
And I'm worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow.
I'm so worried about my hair falling out and the state of the world today.
And I'm so worried about bein' so full of doubt about everything, anyway.

I'm so worried about modern technology.
I'm so worried about all the things that they dump in the sea.
I'm so worried about it, worried about it, worried, worried, worried.

I'm so worried about everything that can go wrong.
I'm so worried about whether people like this song.
I'm so worried about this very next verse, it isn't the best that I've got.
And I'm so worried about whether I should go on, or whether I should just stop.


I'm worried about whether I ought to have stopped.
And I'm worried about, it's the sort of thing I ought to know.
And I'm worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow.

(longer pause)

I'm so worried about whether I should have stopped then.
I'm so worried that I'm driving everyone 'round the bend.
I'm worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I'm Back....

It's definitely been a pretty interesting week. I just felt a need to take a complete break from typing my thoughts online. I even took a few days break from email...when people emailed me they received the following message..."I am taking a short break from the world of email and internet, but I'll be back. I will reply to your message when I return." I had quite a few people ask me what was up. I told them that I felt I had let the computer overtake my life a bit too much and needed to regain some stronger discipline in this area. I also had many who commented really positively at seeing that message bounce back to them.

Where it really came from though, was the sermon preached last Sunday at church. We have been going through a series on Joshua this month and last week's sermon was on CONFIDENCE IN GOD...Choose HOW you will succeed: with faithlessness and fear or with or with faithfulness and courage. Hmmm, what is the definition of fear again?

1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. 2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights. 3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone's safety. 4. reverential awe, esp. toward God. 5. that which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear. –verb (used with object) 6. to regard with fear; be afraid of. 7. to have reverential awe of. 8. Archaic. to experience fear in (oneself). –verb (used without object) 9. to have fear; be afraid.

This sermon hit way too close to home for me for a variety of reasons. I have been living life in fear the last little while. Fear of failure in all aspects of my life, fear of continual sickness, fear of my fellow man...this has caused me to have a very low self-worth and really made me want to live life almost in an invisible state.

At the end of our sermon notes was a simple response...I AM TOO BIG/SMALL AND IT'S GETTING IN THE WAY OF SERVING YOU. We were invited to come to the cross and leave our response there...make sure that we didn't leave having unfinished business with God. So I met with God at that cross last Sunday and did business with Him. I confessed what needed to be confessed, I sat and wept in His presence and also was refueled by His presence and love.

This was one of the songs we sang...did I say that I was on worship team last week? But as my friends told me...you do business with God if you need to, 'cause that takes precedent over all things! Anyhow, I really drank this song in as we sang it...

(Joel Houston)






So, a lot of this week was spent attempting to hash out a plan with Him. Get my life back together...begin to not only carve out and begin spiritual disciplines, but most importantly, to make them part of my everyday life, so that they become as natural as breathing. I've failed deeply in this area and am now working hard to rectify the situation.

I've also continued to do battle with illness and so have needed to put my energy into teaching, attempting to do life with my family and simply resting. Life continues to be interesting...I have a very unusual allergy/intolerance...to garlic! On Friday, Mr. Cinder and I actually went out on a date...ended up being sicker than a dog from reacting to garlic in the food. Oh well, it was a blast and I wouldn't trade it, but I am still recovering from it, as my stomach has taken a beating, with this and also all the antibiotics I've been taking.

Another song we sang, fueled me greatly and I've sang it more than once this week. I think it's a good way to end this post...I'm thinking I'll be singing it more than once this week as well!



© 1996 Integrity Hosanna!/ CCLI #285903

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mandatory Rest Period...

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

~ Matthew 11:28:30

Friday, January 19, 2007

Venomous Drippings...

Here comes the discharge sign again. People who have read my blog for a while might very well remember what this sign stands for. But I'll give an explanation for anyone who might not know.

I guess maybe this will scream weakness or lack of meekness, but I'm going to be quiet for a while. Very well might only be a couple days, but it has to be done. I'm not real proud of it, but right now it seems like everything which comes out of my mouth hits like venom. I'd prefer to sit quietly and hopefully have some anti-venom treatment, so that when I open my mouth, people will instead be greeted with love and openness.

We'll talk to you soon and I hope that you'll be blanketed with His love, grace and many blessings!

Continual Mediation = All You Need

"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

~ Joshua 1:7-9

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Complex Love....

Your love amazes me,
Your devotion's humbling.
I would rather live forever with you,
Than one second apart from your presence!

Help me be Your hands, feet & eyes,
To all who cross my path.
Shine your love through me,
Help me meet people where they are, regardless of how they treat me!

A Little Bono

"Fear is the opposite of faith."
~ Bono

"Freedom has a scent like the top of a new born babies head."
~ Bono

"Every age has its massive moral blind spots. We might not see them, but our children will."
~ Bono

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


This is one of my favorite songs...it reminds me of the love I've been blessed with. I too often take it for granted and don't cherish & treat this with the devotion and respect that it's deserving of. This week's one of counting my blessings, and realizing that sometimes we don't have to look very far at all to see and embrace them.

Where You Are
(by Rascal Flatts)

There you are standing strong
I'm a leaf holding on
You believe like a child
In this fire running wild
Oh I love how you see right to the heart of me

You're a waterfall washing over me
I'm a thirsty man let me drink you in
I am on my way
You're a mountain top
When I reach for you
Your love lifts me up
And all that I want is to be
Where you are

I'm the frozen ground
You're the warm sunlight
Shining down on me
Baby, just in time
I have never been in love like this
Oh, you move my soul every time we kiss
And I love how you heal
I can't believe how alive I feel

You're a waterfall washing over me
I'm a thirsty man let me drink you in
I am on my way
You're a mountain top
When I reach for you
Your love lifts me up
And all that I want is to be
Where you are

The scripture below is one I go to often. I have a lot to learn when it comes to being the most suitable helpmate to Mr. Cinder, but thank goodness he loves me for I am...imperfections. short-comings and all that. Because of that devotion, it challenges me to love him with a love like he does me...I think that's the most precious of all blessings which comes from the union of marriage.

"Wives, follow the lead of your husbands as you follow the Lord. The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. The church is Christ's body. He is its Savior. The church follows the lead of Christ. In the same way, wives should follow the lead of their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives. Love them just as Christ loved the church. He gave himself up for her. He did it to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her with water and the word. He did it to bring her to himself as a brightly shining church. He wants a church that has no stain or wrinkle or any other flaw. He wants a church that is holy and without blame. In the same way, husbands should love their wives. They should love them as they love their own bodies. Any man who loves his wife loves himself. After all, people have never hated their own bodies. Instead, they feed and care for their bodies. And that is what Christ does for the church. We are parts of his body. Scripture says, "That's why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The two will become one."—(Genesis 2:24) That is a deep mystery. But I'm talking about Christ and the church. A husband also must love his wife. He must love her just as he loves himself. And a wife must respect her husband."

~ Ephesians 5:22-33

Dreams Which Stop You Dead in Your Tracks...

I don't about anyone else, but sometimes I have these dreams at night...or these vivid images, which come into my head during the day while I'm taking time to reflect. Sometimes they are dealing with life issues and ministry, but then there are those ones which scare the living daylights out of you...simply because it makes no apparent sense as to why they arose, and for me, because I know that there's most likely something which I need to take from it.

The latest one of these...I was in a hospital room beside the bed of someone who was covered in tubing and on a respirator. That someone ended up being Mr. Cinder. Long story short, it ended up with a funeral and a young widow of three children, and it made absolutely no sense to me.

But the word which came to me from it...you are making yourself available to those around you, but you are forgetting to be there deeply for the person closest to you. Embrace the relationship of your best friend and walk the walk alongside him...everything else going on will fall into place just fine.

I guess it was a little visionary wake-up call for me. It's very easy to be there for everyone else and think the closest relationships you have are strong and will be there intact as a result of that strength. But I know from experience, that you can never guess what's around the next corner and you should embrace every moment you have. I need to be concentrating on creating a beautiful legacy for my children...of the love of two parents who were devoted to each other, were truly best friends and walked the walk together, through all things.

Bottom line...that's one of the most important jobs we'll ever have, as soon as we enter into marriage...creating a Godly legacy for all who cross our path. I wish I wouldn't get so involved with life that I sometimes lose sight of that...it's truly precious and a blessing beyond my wildest of dreams!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Life's Goliaths

I was saying to someone today, that I find it quite interesting how God works sometimes. The way He places words on our hearts to be spoken, and puts us in just the right place to hear words placed on someone else's heart...which are the ones you are supposed to hear. He works in very marvellous and mysterious ways.

Last month, I made the decision to step down from the teaching rotation of my 4s and 5s class. But, I still am blessed to be able to go downstairs every so often and give a quick 5 to 10 minute message to the older kids (Gr. 1-8).

The kids were learning about David and Goliath today, so I was asked to speak with them about our real-life Goliaths. I ended up talking about "5 Stones Which Will Defeat Life's Goliaths" from
Sermons 4 Kids. For every stone David had, I gave them a promise or discipline to use, along with a corresponding scripture verse from the story of David and Goliath.

So here are the "5 Stones Which Will Defeat Life's Goliaths":

COURAGE-"David said to Saul, "Don't let anyone lose hope because of that Philistine. I'll go out and fight him." (1 Samuel 17:32)

CONFIDENCE-"The Lord saved me from the paw of the lion. He saved me from the paw of the bear. And he'll save me from the powerful hand of this Philistine too." Saul said to David, "Go. And may the Lord be with you." (1 Samuel 17:37)

PREPARATION-"Then David picked up his wooden staff. He went down to a stream and chose five smooth stones. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag. Then he took his sling in his hand and approached Goliath." (1 Samuel 17:40)

TRUST-"David said to Goliath, "You are coming to fight against me with a sword, a spear and a javelin. But I'm coming against you in the name of the Lord who rules over all. He is the God of the armies of Israel. He's the one you have dared to fight against." (1 Samuel 17:45)

VICTORY-"So David won the fight against Goliath with a sling and a stone. He struck the Philistine down and killed him. He did it without even using a sword." (1 Samuel 17:50)

It was a very timely message for me to be teaching to the kids today. It basically brought all the steps I'd went through this week and summed them up. I was able to candidly tell them that even adults have Goliaths (fear, insecurity, loneliness, etc.), but that with God, we can overcome all things, because nothing is too big for Him.

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
~Matthew 19:26

Friday, January 12, 2007


I had a quote sent to me, which I've already posted at northVUs. So instead of reposting it here, I'm providing the link to go read it... Shortword 27. The quote came at a very interesting time throughout the week. It spoke a lot to me about how we choose to live this life. You get out what you put in...that applies across the board in all areas.

The other end of the spectrum is, that even though you might put your all into things, including loving those around you, it doesn't mean that it'll be reciprocated. Because of how I'm wired, that can sometimes be a hard thing to accept. Let's face it...it digs deep and hurts real bad! I've found myself having to truly surrender 'stuff' this week. That whole process of surrender is sometimes a really difficult thing to do. It comes with a lot of weight and responsibility...that you will truly leave the whole thing at His feet and continue down life's road, without picking it back up.

Because really, picking it back up is only going to rub salt in old wounds, bring up past pain and continue to allow the monkey to be on your back and in your face. In essence, crippling the power the Holy Spirit can truly have in your life...to heal, strengthen, etc...grant you peace, courage and assurance.

Well, that's where I am today...actually feeling a huge amount of peace. Who knows how long it will last...really we never know what's around the corner, but I'm going to breathe it in for however long it's here, because it's awesome in ways I can't begin to describe! Blessings and love in His name to you all...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Always With Us...

God is There
When the sky is dark -
He is there.
When you are all alone -
He is there.
When nothing goes your way -
He is there.
When you are in pain -
He is there.
When people are against you -
He is there.
When you are frightened or worried -
He is there.
When those you love are in crisis -
He is there.
When you feel as if God is far away -
He is there.
When doubt and confusion weigh you down -
He is there.
When you are about to breathe your last -
He is there.
And where God is there is always hope.
Dr. Steve Stephens'

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Bull-Headed Grump

"i think the problem is that we think that we have to figure it all out in order to pray for God to do the right thing. we should probably just ask for that, whether we can discern what the right thing is or not. he's God. he'll figure it out."

He truly does speak mountains somedays through the people around us. I guess the trick is, as to whether we choose to listen and heed the advice, or continue to try the road on our own. I wish somedays I wasn't quite so bull-headed, grumpy and a true annoyance. I guess that's my cue to be quiet a little while...silence is sometimes the best policy to heed...for all who are involved.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunshine, Roses and a Smile

"Hope you are feeling better. I know you have been struggling with your health. God Bless you all. Know I'm praying for you all...Love you all"

I find it so humbling how God works through those around us. Especially when it might not seem like you've done something all that significant, but simply did something that you felt led to do. Many of you do that through a comment of love left on my blog or an email found in my Inbox.

The note above was waiting for me in my Inbox. The most special thing about this note is because of who it came from. This friend has been battling cancer for a very long time and just portrays a strength and faith, which I'd never seen at that level, until I met her. Those words overwhelmed me, as I've been thinking about them, but due to illness, haven't been able to see them very much at all the last little while.

My friend is a rare gem and a true beauty. His love, grace, strength, endurance and peace pour through them every single day. Their words were like sunshine, a beautiful rose and a smile coming through my computer tonight. Truly precious is this life we are granted the privilege to live. Very complex and yet extremely rewarding.

God has just been truly working through people this weekend. With Corry's timely advice in her comment below, this message received tonight, great advice in this morning's service and so much more.

A few things I walked away from church with today:

~ God values humility, servanthood, courage and risk-taking in us.

~ When you come up against a challenge, the temptation will be to stop...keep moving and unexpected help, strength and blessings will come.

~ Don't expect to hear from God if you remain frozen in one spot. (Bob Gass)

~ The moment we stop going forward is the moment we quit making ourselves available to resources, etc. which might be there for us in the future.

~ Luck happens to those who take a risk...we never know what's out there if we don't take the risk.

~ To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail.

~ Success doesn't always look the way you expect it to.

~ Sometimes the greatest discovery is unknown until the passage of time.

~ Our idea of success is a lot of times very different than God's idea of success.

Well, I guess I gave you a quick overview of the sermon. But really, the person speaking could not have known where I was at, because I haven't really shared a lot with people. It fed me beyond belief and brought me a huge sense of peace...that's always an awesome thing when that can happen. I'm ending off with three scriptures from this morning...this has been a really humbling and awesome day!

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
~James 4:10

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
~Proverbs 16:3

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~ Isaiah 41:10

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hard Decisions...

Faithful One
(by Selah)

I find no hope within to call my own
For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
But deep within my soul is rising up a song
Here in the comfort of the faithful one

I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
In search of higher ground, on mountains steep
And though with feet unsure, I still keep pressing on.
For I am guided by the faithful one.

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

I see your wounded hands, I touch your side
With thorns upon your brow you bled and died
But there’s an empty tomb, a love for all who come
And give their hearts to you, the faithful one.

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

And when the day is dawned and when the race is run
I will bow down before God’s only Son
And I will lift my hands in praise for all you’ve done
And I will worship you, my faithful one.

This song was on one of the CDs I received for Christmas, and I've listened to it a lot between Christmas and now. I think I've been drawn to it, partially because it speaks a lot of truth to what my journey's been and I guess to where my journey's heading. I find comfort in this song...comfort in the fact He is so faithful to us, even when we aren't nearly as devoted or faithful to Him.

I said in my first post of the New Year that I don't make resolutions, but that I do try to have some hopes or goals, for which to work towards during the year. One of the goals on my list..."Make important changes in my life...as a wife & mother, in ministry, schooling, etc." I'm already having to face the somewhat scary part of this one. For me, at this point, I think the only way I can truly make important changes in my life, is to clear my slate to pretty much empty. But in order to do that, it would mean giving up ministry stuff which I feel led by God to be involved in.

So the big question in my head today is this...if I clear my plate and step down from almost all ministry commitments, am I being disobedient to God, or simply making sure my heart and motivations are where they need to be?

I've never made a step quite so radical, as to simply take a few months to not serve, but simply be a spectator. It goes against everything in my mindset and how my heart's wired. So right now, the battle ensuing, is to discern whether or not this suggestion in my head is God-breathed or not.

I think the reason for the difficulty with this decision is because of the last verse of the song. There will come a day when we'll all stand before Him and give an account of what we did and didn't do, and also explain the reasons for those choices. I want to do all He wants of me...and in the end, I really don't right now if this decision will allow that or not.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Where Do You Go For Help?

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
~Psalm 121:1-2

Change Up

I am hoping to do some change-ups to my blog. I know I've been less than interesting the past while and I'm hoping to have that change. One thing which came out of me taking a Spiritual Gifts class at our church, was how strong my love for music, art, photography and writing are.

It confirmed why it's such an 'escape' at times for me, such a refreshing thing to sit down and type my thoughts, write them through poetry, song or simply thoughts, take my camera and capture images or play and listen to music whenever.

I am hoping to have 'visual' posts intertwined with the writings of my heart and soul. I know that not everyone might read this way, but because it's one of my forms of communication, I want to begin communicating that way.

I guess there'll be a lot of change ups with Cinder this upcoming year, but that's not a bad thing, actually will be really good for all involved I think!

Monday, January 01, 2007

As 2007 begins

As we talked with family last night, a conversation came up about Mr. Cinder's former employer. When we left in the summer of 2005, the company was to be sold...we knew that could go either way and for many reasons, decided to make the move. The company did get sold and actually has benefited greatly as a result. The conversation went towards the fact that you never really know how things might turn out...there were a few what-ifs thrown in...in terms of our family and if we hadn't moved.

The bottom line came down to the fact that we still feel we made the best decision possible for our family. We wouldn't change it...now we can look back over the last year and a half and we're able to see all that's transpired. So this morning, I was spending a little time reading, while we, as a family, vegged at various activities. I came across Christopher's site, where he talked about some of his favorites for 2006. I have did something similar...with a few changes to the list and felt it fit in well to this post. So here's my 2006 list and a few of my hopes for 2007:

Favorite Book: Two Minds, One World (a small one, but very powerful and insightful about relationships between the Eastern and Western worlds.

Favorite Movie: As a family...The Chronicles of Narnia and As a couple...Click (this one kind of took us by surprise...well worth seeing.)

Favorite TV show: Sue Thomas F.B. Eye

Favorite Getaway: Ladies Retreat at Arlington Beach...especially since I skipped half the activities and did my own thing.

Favorite Moment: Stepping onto Sri Lankan soil and feeling like I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

Most Sobering Moment: When I was with my mom in ICU and realized there was a very real chance she wouldn't pull through.

Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving...we celebrated with Hungry man dinners at the hostel in the hospital. We all learned an important lesson...it doesn't matter where or how you celebrate...if you are together as a family, that's all that matters!

Favorite Vacation: As a family...Family Camp at Arlington, as we got to spend time with our kids and also with both new & old friends. As a couple...Sri Lanka...no words will ever adequately explain that journey.

Favorite Worship Moment: When we were in church services in Sri Lanka...in between songs, people would be begin freely lifting their praises to God. Even though we couldn't understand what they were saying, you could feel the strong present of the Holy Spirit in the room and knew that we were praising Him together. It was very freeing for me and also very unifying.

Hopes for 2007
To truly see this year as a brand new slate, and to recognize everyday as a brand new slate as well...learn to wipe away the previous crud and events, and instead realize the endless possibilities and potential which lie ahead.

~ To draw closer to God and be silent more in His presence.

~ Enjoy life with my family...embrace each moment and be thankful for it and all the blessings.

~ Have more patience...learn to more effectively sweat the small stuff.

~ Have a more positive outlook on all aspects of life...live a life which is more focused on gentleness, love and understanding.

~ Make important changes in my life...as a wife & mother, in ministry, schooling, etc.

You know, I look at that list and I know things do truly happen for a reason. If we wouldn't have followed God's leading and stayed where we originally were, some of the most life-changing events wouldn't have occurred. I truly believe we may never have gotten a chance to go and experience Sri Lanka. I also believe I would have been so overworked ministry-wise, that I would have lost my passion to serve God in any useful capacity. I think our family would have suffered many ill-consequences, just because of the very busy lifestyle we chose to lead.

I find it very humbling how He continues to reveal pieces of His plan, even now as we begin this brand new year. The person I was going into 2006 and the person I am going into 2007 are vastly different people. I've changed a lot...old friends pick up on that right away and at times it can prove awkward, but I know that I'm exactly where He wants me to be, so therefore, I'm learning to be content with that...LEARNING being the keyword. I'm actually really excited to see what lies ahead for this year and am praying that I'll drink in every detail and experience things to the fullest extent.