Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aren't you jealous? ;)

Recently, I've been adding lots of things to my bucket list. I went to Alex and Brett Harris' Rebelution conference with my youth group, and they encouraged us to read some books by dead people. Biographies. So I put that on my bucket list. But I also put "find a modern-day hero for myself" on the list. And I decided that my dad, mom, and brother are my "modern-day heroes." And here's why ...

They each possess qualities that I really admire and want in myself.

My dad - my dad is the most steadfast person I've ever met. Steadfast means "firm in purpose, fixed in direction, firm in faith, unwavering." Now don't you see why my dad is steadfast? :) He really is. He is so steady ... he never wavers. He may get a little too excited about politics sometimes, but really, that's about all that gets him worked up. He trusts God. He knows God's got it. And he shows it by his unwavering faith, steady, confident demeanor, and his ability to just take life in stride. I am so unsteady. I don't role with life; I stumble through it and worry about it. So I really admire my dad's consistency and constant stability. And not only that, but he is so generous. He gives of himself all the time - whether doing mountains of dishes at The Porch on his day off work or paying for Wes and my college education or handing me a $20 bill when I've had a rough day or going to work day after day for more than 30 years to provide for his family or (you get where I'm going, right?). My dad is a giver, for sure! I want to give and give and give just like him!

My mom - my mom is the most hard-working person I know. She is one who perseveres. I've seen her struggle in her faith big-time over the past several years. I've seen her discouraged. I've watched her feel defeated. But through all her trials, she has pushed through. And in the past year, I have seen such growth in her. She may not know it, but she is reaping what she has sown. Maybe not in the way she wants sometimes. But being able to say "Praise the Lord" when you drop a whole apple crisp on the floor or when you have one customer and 3 staff members to pay on top of all your other bills or when your garage floods for the 100th time or when a raccoon tears up all the ducts under your store and wastes a whole winter's worth of heat or when (you get the point, I hope) ... being able to praise God in the midst of all that is a HUGE testimony of God's work and her faith. I think part of faith is not giving up. Faith is believing without seeing, sure ... but I think it also has to do with persevering. And my mom's perseverance has been a huge testimony in my life. I want to persevere the way she does. I wanna be able to say "praise the Lord!" even when things don't go my way.

My brother - And Wes. He is a character, isn't he? Gosh, I love that guy. He cracks me up! I love my brother's charisma, positive outlook on life, and his determination. I want to see the world the way Wes does ... he doesn't get down easily 'cause he's too busy learning from the situation, brainstorming ways to make it better, and ready to tell the world about what he's figured out! :) He wants to live an abundant life in Christ - he's passionate about that pursuit! He reaches for the stars, and when he fails (he only does that occasionally, of course) ;) ... he figures out what he can learn from it, picks himself back up, and tries again. He's not afraid to think big and take steps to live big! ... I'm a big wimp. I'm afraid to fail, afraid to disappoint someone, afraid to try a lot of stuff. So I really admire Wes' ability to go all out every time and go all the harder when he doesn't quite make it.

I am so incredibly blessed to not only have a God-fearing family but a family who really goes after Jesus in their everyday lives! It's probably the greatest blessing a person can have apart from their own salvation, which I have too. :) Incredible. Incredible. God is so good to me! Aren't you jealous? ;)

Mmm ... God's creation is amazing!

I finally made a calendar using the pictures I've taken. Sadly, the ink in my printer is all janked up, so the pictures didn't come out very well. Oh, well. ... I wish I were a better photographer 'cause I love to take pictures ... especially of nature. But my hands are shaky, and I don't have the patience to save up and buy a nice camera or learn how to use one. So I'll just have to settle for mediocre photography. And thankfully, God brings out His masterpieces on a regular basis ... so if I don't catch one perfectly, I can see it again another day. Not the same sunset or same snow fall or same mountains ... but still good stuff. :)
Here are some of the pictures I used for my calendar ...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Mountain Devo :)

I took a trip into the mountains recently ... I drove pretty far up into the Appalachian mountains ... farther than I've ever been before. Heck! I've never really being INTO the mountains before - ANY mountains ... especially, alone. So it was quite a trip! Some of my adventures that day were awesome ... even scary. I'll have to tell you about 'em when I blog about my "Cutter Gap" trip. And I sat down for my "quiet time in front of the Appalachian Mountains" toward to the end of my trip. So my heart was racing a little ... I was a bit wiped out from being on the edge of my seat all day (in amazement and awe) and driving all day on curvy, mountain roads. These pictures are of my mountain view at my devo spot ... and a picture of me leaning up against my car, basking in God's word and the beauty of His creation. I honestly don't remember much about my devotional that day ... I was ready to head back down the mountain - it had been an exciting day. But I do remember this ...

"Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:23-26

How could you forget that, right? Man, this is good stuff. This is not only my favorite Psalm but one of my all-time favorite passages of Scripture. Powerful, powerful stuff. And to read it surrounded by that view? Oh! It was good. I remember standing up in the middle of that field, surrounded by the beautiful Appalachians, just hugging my Bible ... thanking God for such a sight ... and for His love and faithfulness. We serve a great God!!!!

If you haven't already, drive up to Lake Michigan, catch a train to the mountains of Tennessee, fly to Florida's beaches, walk next door to your friendly, neighborhood, Indiana cornfield, and sit and do your devotions. Soak up God's beauty. It really is awesome. :)