Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankful for a Home

 Given the season, I've thought quite a bit about what I am thankful for. Let me tell you I could continually praise God for the rest of my life and never run out of things to thank him for. But if I were to pick one thing in particular to share, it would be this:

I am thankful for a home.

Now, I don't mean the physical house that I sleep and live in, although I am incredibly thankful for that too. The home I'm talking about is the nonphysical place of belonging. A place where unconditional love and acceptance is given and taken. A place to rest easy in, a place to feel comfortable in your own self and in those around you. You know the home I'm talking about?

I spent most of last year begging God to take me home. I thought I was "stuck" in Missouri. I was 17 hours away from my family, going to a school that I didn't enjoy, working in a field I had no passion for. I was extremely discontent and all I wanted to do was go home - and by home I meant West Virginia. Looking back, I see that most of that was my own perception, my own lack of thankfulness for the current stage of my life. At that time, I didn't see God working in my schooling or in my job, all I saw was my own discontentment and displeasure at where He had placed me.

So, I continually asked Him to take me home. All I wanted was to be back near my family, in the state I loved, fulfilling my calling to pastor. So that is what I prayed for each and every day. "Lord, give me and Adam a job near our families. Let us go home." But little did I know that He was preparing a better home than I ever could have asked for. I've already shared about how we got our current positions and how we ended up in South Dakota, so I won't go through that again. If you'd like, you can read about that here. But even when we moved and I knew that God's hands were all over it, I never imagined that any other place  in the world could really feel like "home." I am so very thankful that I was wrong. We may be farther away from our families then we ever have before, we may be in "the middle of nowhere South Dakota," but this beautiful place feels like home. Of course I still miss my family, I always will. But I know that they are just as thankful for our current placement as we are. They too are thankful that we have found a home, a place we love.

You hear the saying all the time, "Home is where the heart is." Well, part of my heart will always be in West Viriginia, because that's where my family is. But you know, I think our hearts are big enough for more than one home. I think our hearts expand, as our families do. And I have found family here, in South Dakota. I don't think my heart is split between the two, it's just wide enough to cover the distance.

So thank you, Lord. Thank you for having better plans for me. Thank you for not taking me where I thought I needed to be, but leading me to the place You prepared for me. Thank you for taking me to Watertown, South Dakota. Thank you for all the wonderful people you have introduced me to. Thank you for the amazing kids I get to hang out with and work with each week. Thank you for providing me with more family then I know what to do with.
 Thank you for expanding my heart, and for giving me a place to call home. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Once Was Blind...

I have had 20/20 vision for a week. That is seven full days that I have not needed glasses or contacts in order to see the world around me. And it has simply been AMAZING!

As a gift from my parents, I was able to get lasik eye surgery last Thursday morning, and I can say it has been life changing. In different ways, I am still trying to adjust to it. I still find myself reflexively reaching for my glasses in the morning, or having that last minute thought to take my contacts out at night. But I don't need to anymore, I am glasses and contacts free!

It was way less scary then you'd think it would be, and I didn't experience hardly any pain. Maybe some slight discomfort later in the day, but overall it was pretty much painless. My eyes are a little bit more sensitive to the light, but I expected that. Plus we've been bombarded by snow up here in South Dakota, so everything is a little bit brighter than usual. I've had two great post-op appointments, so now I just get to enjoy my new eye sight! The only two negatives I can think to mention are the silly looking goggles I get to wear to bed for a little while longer, and the slight insecurity I feel walking out of the house with no eye makeup on. But those are both pretty small things in comparison to the fact that I can now see.

If you've ever considered getting lasik done, I'd highly recommended it. It's pretty sweet! I can even recommend a pretty great doctor :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November Goals

Hello November! Can you believe it's November already!? I feel like summer just started and here we are quickly approaching a new year. Time really flies when you're having fun doesn't it? :)

So, I've got several blogs that I absolutely love to read - some for their content, some because they are dear friends, and some simply because I love the way they write. One such blog is Walking In Between. While we have met several times and she is married to a friend, I don't personally know the writer. However, I just love the way she writes - I find it inspiring.

Well, several months ago, she started posting her goals for each month, and I loved the idea! While I always have things that I plan to accomplish, I never really write them down. Then of course, some are forgotten or I lose my drive to complete them, and they never end up done. So, here goes my first public attempt at documenting and hopefully achieving some monthly goals.

  1. Bake at least one pie this month. With all the Thanksgiving festivities, I know I can find a reason to bake one! I've been dying to try some new recipes for months now, but seeing as Adam doesn't really ever eat sweets and I'd rather not eat a whole pie by myself, it just hasn't seemed like a great idea. I'm thinking something with pears.
  2. Get a haircut. It's time for change folks - I know that I say that all time, but I really need it and so does my hair. Seriously, every time I wash and style it, it just screams "please, put me out of my misery." (...okay, so maybe not "seriously.") But for real, I think I know what I want, so now I just need to make plans to make it happen.
  3. Finish one non-fiction book. I'm a fiction freak, so this can be really difficult unless I'm totally into it. I can devour a fictional story in less than a day, but anything else takes me FOREVER. My bookmark is currently in Kisses For Katie, so let's see if I can finish it off before we start singing Christmas carols.
  4. Grab coffee with at least one of our youth girls. I've made plans with a few, but something always gets in the way on either end. I really want to get to know these sweet girls personally, so whether it's coffee or just some other form of hang out time, I've got to make it happen. This is easier said then done. 
  5. Drink less soda and more water. I used to refuse to drink the stuff, but recently I've had a few Mt. Dews, and now it's something that I crave almost every day. That is no good. So for starters, my goal is one 24oz cup of water a day. I know that's less than half of what I should be drinking, but that's why that sentence began with "for starters." 
So there we go, five pretty simple, totally accomplishable goals. What do you have planned this month? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This is my Father's World

A few months ago, Adam and I ended up sitting in on an old fashioned hymn sing. Now, I really do love hymns. I don't want to sing all hymns and only hymns every Sunday morning, but I do really enjoy singing them every once in awhile. They are so full of depth and eternal truths. Sometimes you just need to be reminded how Amazing Grace is, right? 
One of the final hymns we sang that day was "This Is My Father's World." That week and the several before it had been somewhat overwhelming. Not in my own personal life, but in the lives of some friends and family members. I had loved ones in very tough situations, and my heart was burdened by the pain and hurt and despair that I knew they were facing. It was one of those weeks where it was difficult to pray without shedding tears because of how desperately I needed God to intercede and work some miracles. But you know, we serve a great God. Throughout the week He continued to send me Scriptural reminders and friend's encouragements. Despite what we and others may face, God is still God. When the world seems overwhelming, He is still good. He is still faithful. He still reigns. 
This hymn was one of those reminders. 

"This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world; why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King, let the heavens ring; 
God reigns, let the earth be glad."

Mmmm, that last verse in particular just makes my heart sigh in relief. "...though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world; why should my heart be sad?"
I am so very thankful that my God reigns.