Monday, December 31, 2012

Above All

It being the last day of 2012, I feel like I should have some deep, rich thought to share.

But I don't.

I don't have any resolutions yet, no word of the year. I haven't decided to take a picture every day this year, or run a marathon in September.

I'm just going to enter into this new year thinking about Christ. I want to keep Him above all else this year. So often I will forget; forget what He has done for me, forget His love.

So if you really want a resolution from me, it can be that I will pray for the presence of Christ in my life at all times. I want to radiate the light of one who dwells on Christ's goodness constantly.

I want to remember Him above all.
May God bless and keep you and yours in this new year. Happy 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

{On The Events of Friday}

I was at a school on Friday.

For the first time in 6 years, I signed in at an office and walked the halls. I peeked through doors into classrooms full of kids.

And then I served 10 kindergarteners lunch.

They were cheerful and merry- their hearts were full of the joy that comes when it's almost Christmas and you're 5.

I saw Jesus in them.

It was several hours later before I got home, serving lunch to 20+ other students and teachers and then studying for a midterm at a friend's. Just before dinner, I logged onto the computer and kept seeing glimpses of something that happened in CT.

It puzzled me, but not enough to find out what happened. I finally clicked a link and came across a news article that notified me of the horrific truth- 27 dead. 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7. 6 women. and then he killed himself.

The stories filled our house over the next 2 days as we all tried to comprehend what we were reading and watching. The teachers who threw themselves in front of their students and died. The families never got to thank them.

The teacher who got her class to the closet and managed to barricade them in- and kept them quiet- for over an hour.

I look at the faces of those who died and my heart hurts for each of their families, who- as my mom put it- have unwrapped presents with now-dead names under the tree.

A co-op teacher of mine encouraged us to pick a name or two and commit to praying for those families for a year. I've picked Emilie Parker, because her picture reminds me so much of my girlies.

Will you pick a family to pray for? These are not just names on a list; these are people. These are living, breathing, hurting people. They need your prayers.

Will you give them?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Video

I know that this video takes a few liberties, and is slightly unrealistic in the fact that Mary and Joseph didn't have Facebook. But I love the way it shows the Christmas story and I find it makes the common text more realistic for this tech savvy world.

I hope you are having a great Christmas season and taking time to rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Team

During Fiddler, one of my favorite memories is just remembering the camaraderie between all 6 members of the devotion team. Yes, we had been chosen by the directors as a group, but we were more than a team.

We were friends.
When we were together, God was there with us. When one of us gave devotions to the cast, the rest of us were behind that one, praying. When we had a problem or prayer request or a praise, that was the group we'd take it to.

Together, we were set-apart. 
Praying before closing night- in various stages of costuming
This year, our team is different. Janae graduated, Tanner has gone other directions, Chase is in Seussical, but Asia, Abby and I are still here. together. And we've added two guys, Andy and Jamie to our midst.

and it's incredible what God has done.

I hadn't realized just how much I depended on these people. They were the ones who I could always go to. They were always there.

But on Thursday, practice was a little different. Andy was gone, due to being sick, and Asia sprained her back and was taken away in an ambulance early in our practice.
HPA wasn't the same. Abby and I didn't know what to do- how to go about our day- without these two critical members of our group. It was as if our little family had been ripped apart.

And in those moments, Jesus reminded me to never, ever, take someone for granted. Asia showed us all how quickly someone can be perfectly healthy one moment, and gone away in a flash of red light the next.
So look around you. Find the people whom are stable. and imagine your life without them.

Then thank Jesus that that picture isn't reality.

And hug those people extra tight next time you see them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Heaven is the Face of a Little Girl {Mallory Kate}

She's one week old.

I hold her in my arms and breathe in her fresh baby smell.

Not even 7 pounds, the furry blanket she's wrapped in probably weighs more than she does.
Photos from our hospital visit | Mallory at 34 hours old
I love her.

I love every part of her.

The way her downy hair covers her head.
The way her eyes blink in the light and the way she squiggles her face all up when it's too bright.

The way her wrist is too tiny for her hospital band and so it has to be on her upper arm.

It's incredible the way that love can grab hold of your heart and you know, oh, you know, that it will never let go.
She's been in my arms twice and I'm head over heels.

I adore her.

God is so good.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Letter to My Girlies

Dear ones,

Can it really be that you are 4 and a week today? When did you go from being my babies to my girlies?
I love that you are twins. I love your closeness and the way you know each other inside and out. I love how when you're apart, it's "When's my sister-friend coming home?" all the time.

Having lived this life for 11 1/2 more years than you, I've poured out my heart here on this page. I know that all too soon, you'll be reading this yourself. As for right now, you're sitting on the floor playing with your Bitty Babies and singing something to the tune of Jingle Bells. and I love it.

First of all, JESUS. Make sure He always comes first. Don't let anything get in the way of having time with Him. Know that no matter what, He will always, always, always be at your side and He loves you more than the sun and the moon and the stars and this world and He died a bloody death because He loved you so. Love Him back. It's so worth it.
Stay best friends for your whole life. The world will try to separate you and Satan will annoy you but the relationship that you cultivated since before birth is beyond priceless. Whatever it takes, be on each other's side. Already, you both have such strong, loyal personalities. Use that strength and loyalty on each other. Never stop loving.
Don't play the comparing game. You are both incredibly beautiful, sweet, lovely girls. Being identical twins will be hard, but Jesus made you both in His image. One might have more friends, more boldness, more energy. That doesn't make you worse. You are your own unique person, created by the God of the universe.
Don't be afraid of the new and unknown. Don't be afraid to get your hair wet. The world can be a scary place, but Jesus is with you! You are a daughter of the King! Hold your head up and go out and do great things for Him.
There will come a day when something tragic happens and you feel like your world is crashing down. It isn't. Go ahead, cry, pray and take a few moments. It's okay to feel pain. It's okay to cry. Do you hear that?!? It's okay to cry. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Jesus has a really special guy picked out just for you. It makes me smile thinking of this now but it's, oh, so true. Don't worry at age 10 about how you'll meet him, or age 15 about how you'll know that he's the one. I can't tell you how you'll meet him, or how you'll know. But it's all in God's plan for you. Don't fret.
If you still wear matching clothes when you're 17, it's okay. :) And speaking of clothes, don't put too much effort into it, k? It doesn't matter what will make you look the cutest. Really, get up, put on clothes and spend the other time with Jesus. You'll get way more out of it than standing in front of the closet.
If you grow up and decide not to do HPA, it's okay. Don't be pressured into doing something just because we all have loved it. It's okay not to love what everyone else does. God put a special passion in you to go out and shine His light with. If God's not calling you to theater, that's okay. If you don't like watching football games, that's okay. If the piano keys don't make pretty noises under your fingers, that's okay. You go out and do what Jesus is calling you to, and I won't try to convince you otherwise.
Always be sympathetic. You never know what hardships someone is going through at home. Promise to be there and hug them tight and write them letters but most of all, pray. With them, for them. You'll never know how much it means.
You will be in weddings. You were already in Abigail and Brian's and were so adorable. But always be prepared with tissues and smiles and waterproof mascara. Know that your day will come and you will be the one in white. and I'll be the one with the tissues then.
Don't lose your individuality. It's a precious thing in this day and age. Stay true to who Jesus wants you to be. Don't sway with the popular crowd. I've done it and it's so not fun. Be who you are in Jesus Christ and He will help you stay strong.
You are amazing. The way your smile lights up the room and your laughter makes us laugh too makes our house a home. Your faces in that picture ^^^ make my heart melt. 
I could go on and on, but my fingers are beginning to stumble in the darkness of this quiet room. If you only get one thing out of this letter, have it be this:

Jesus loves you. Both of you. exactly how you are. Love Him back.
I will love you always.

Your Lindsey

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When Jesus Says "See How Much I Love You?"

I'm really sentimental. Those who know me in real life know that.

This year, I'm in HPA's My Fair Lady (What!?! I know. I haven't talked about casting at all.) and one of my mom's best friends is the choreographer for Seussical. She has a precious 3 year old, Crew whom I have the privilege of watching while she's teaching. She's also due with her 6th baby in 2 weeks. I'm really pumped. :)

But anyway. I watch Crew while Mrs. W dances. We read stories and do projects and be spies and pirates and play games. It's so fun and I love it. But a few weeks ago, Mrs. W started being scheduled in small little groups, and she always had a son free to watch him.
In the past few days, I realized that my days watching just Crew were probably done. Today was supposed to be another lighter day and by our next rehearsal, Baby W will be here. It made me kinda of sad, because I really wanted one final "This is my last day with just Crew" day.
I was getting something ready for breakfast yesterday morning and in my head prayed, "God, It would be really cool if You could call the full cast so that I could watch Crew one last time."

That's it. I really "knew" that it wouldn't happen, because HPA people don't change plans easily.

Then later that day, I discovered the Seuss email in my inbox.

There was a purple box that read "Full Cast. 10-11 Choreo. Mrs. W."

I was floored.

It was then that God whispered to me "See what I can do with a simple prayer? Have faith in Me, darling. My plans for you are good."

The My Fair Lady (MFL) email hadn't come in yet, but I knew (for real this time) that God had everything in His hands.

And sure enough, when the email arrived, I had the whole morning open. Completely free to spend 3 hours with my little boy.
Wasn't he just this little?!? {Thanksgiving 2010}
So today, I'm going to doing everything I talked about yesterday. I'll relish this last practice of being devoted to just Crew.

And then I'll come home and get really excited for the 27th and to see if Baby W is a boy or a "girl with braids" as Ellie and Hannah say. :)  (Random note: wouldn't it be strange if baby girls were born with braids? Poor E & H will be quite disappointed if this baby is a girl, because, although s/he supposedly has lots of hair, I know for a fact it won't be braided.)

More soon. <3

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

{When Friends are Gone}

There are people in my life that I take for granted.

Oh, I thank God for them and I smile at their presence but I never think about them leaving.

I just think that they'll be in my life forever.

I know that's not realistic. I know that God puts people in your life when you need them and He can move you on when He wants to.

But you don't think about that day. and you don't imagine it will come knocking at your door tomorrow.
We've known them for 8 years and his 18 years to my 15 makes us more like brother and sister than anything else. He works at the church and is at HPA every week and takes classes at our co-op and is always there.

And while I don't always talk to him and sometimes a wave is the only interaction we have in a day he has always been a part of the picture.

He's a constant. I thought he always would be because he's the one who owns the business that's booming already in its 2nd year. The business that was supposed to grow into landscaping and other yard work things that I know nothing about but he did.

But he's taking a trip across the country this summer. and a few days ago he spoke of the military and SEALS and 6 years and everything in my heart was screaming "no", and I was glad that it was dark to hide my sudden shock.

This is his passion. He will do it and do it well and he will shine a strong- oh, such a strong- light for Christ through that broken world.

But it doesn't make it any easier.

I'll search for him at church and wait for his laugh at HPA before my head tells my heart he's gone.

I'm miss his teasing and his faces and his passion. I'll miss the ways he shows his sweet spirit to others- like bringing them caramel hot chocolate when he knows they're having a bad day.
The whole thing threw me for a loop. And when things throw me for a loop, I sit and puzzle about them until the way straightens out again.

God is so good and has given me so many people who are all in my life for a reason. I am so blessed by all the little things they do and so often, I don't realize the impact they've made on my life.

The past few days have made me think hard about the role that different people play. I've determined to thank them more, to show my gratitude and love in ways to make them smile. I'm going to think about what my life would look like without them and then thank God that that's not my reality.

And then I will live life to the fullest. every moment. I will dance and I will sing and hug and smile and then I will thank God.

Because He has blessed me with amazing friends here and now.

Monday, November 5, 2012

{Psalm 33:10-12}

The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
    he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
    the purposes of his heart through all generations.
 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people he chose for his inheritance.
Please, vote the way Jesus would tomorrow.

{image source}

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Profiting from the Scriptures {J. C. Ryle}

I've kept this email in my inbox for almost a year now, and I read it from time to time because it is so very inspiring. I hope you enjoy it! :)

Profiting from the Scriptures
by J.C. Ryle

(1) For one thing, begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing--is to do it; and the way to read the Bible--is actually to read it! It is not merely meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it--which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read it to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears--the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

(2) For another thing, read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it. Do not think for a moment, that the great object is to turn over a certain quantity of printed paper, and that it matters nothing whether you understand it or not. Some ignorant people seem to imagine, that all is done if they advance so many chapters every day, though they may not have a notion what they are all about, and only know that they have pushed on their bookmark ahead so many pages. This is turning Bible reading into a mere ritual form. It is almost as bad as the Popish habit of 'buying indulgences'--by saying an astounding number of 'Ave-Marias' and 'Pater-nosters' (Hail-Mary's and Our-Father's--on their 'rosary beads'.) It reminds one of the poor Hottentot who ate up a Dutch hymn-book because he saw it comforted his neighbors' hearts! Settle it down in your mind as a general principle, that a Bible not understood--is a Bible that does no good! Say to yourself often as you read, "What is this all about?" Dig for the meaning like a man digging for gold.

(3) For another thing, read the Bible with child-like faith and humility. Open your heart--as you open God's book, and say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!" Resolve to believe implicitly whatever you find there, however much it may run counter to your own desires and prejudices. Resolve to receive heartily every statement of truth--whether you like it or not. Beware of that miserable habit into which some readers of the Bible fall--they receive some doctrines because they like them; and they reject others because they are condemning to themselves, or to some relation, or friend. At this rate, the Bible is useless! Are we to be judges of what ought to be in God's Word? Do we know better than God? Settle it down in your mind--that you will receive all and believe all, and that what you cannot understand--you will take on trust. Remember, when you pray--that you are speaking to God, and God hears you. But, remember, when you read Scripture--that God is speaking to you, and you are not to "dictate," but to listen!

(4) For another thing, read the Bible in a spirit of obedience and self-application. Sit down to the study of it with a daily determination that you will . . .
live by its rules,
rest on its statements,
and act on its commands.
Consider, as you travel through every chapter, "How does this affect my thinking and daily conduct? What does this teach me?" It is poor work to read the Bible from mere curiosity, and for speculative purposes--in order to fill your head and store your mind with mere opinions; while you do not allow the book to influence your heart and life. That Bible is read best--which is practiced most!

(5) For another thing, read the Bible daily. Make it a part of every day's business to read and meditate on some portion of God's Word. Private means of grace are just as needful every day for our souls--as food and clothing are for our bodies. Yesterday's food will not feed the laborer today; and today's food will not feed the laborer tomorrow. Do as the Israelites did in the wilderness. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst part of your time! But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and God's Word every day.

(6) For another thing, read all of the Bible--and read it in an orderly way. I fear there are many parts of the Word which some people never read at all. This is to say at the least, a very presumptuous habit. "All Scripture is profitable." (2 Timothy 3:16.) To this habit may be traced that lack of well-proportioned views of truth, which is so common in this day. Some people's Bible-reading is a system of perpetual 'dipping and picking'. They do not seem to have an idea of regularly going through the whole book.
This also is a great mistake. No doubt in times of sickness and affliction, it is allowable to search out seasonable portions. But with this exception, I believe it is by far the best plan to begin the Old and New Testaments at the same time--to read each straight through to the end, and then begin again. This is a matter in which every one must be persuaded in his own mind. I can only say it has been my own plan for nearly forty years, and I have never seen cause to alter it.

(7) For another thing, read the Bible fairly and honestly. Determine to take everything in its plain, obvious meaning--and regard all forced interpretations with great suspicion. As a general rule, whatever a verse of the Bible seems to mean--it does mean! Cecil's rule is a very valuable one, "The right way of interpreting Scripture is to take it as we find it, without any attempt to force it into any particular theological system."

(8) In the last place, read the Bible with Christ continually in view. The grand primary object of all Scripture, is to testify of Jesus! Old Testament ceremonies are shadows of Christ. Old Testament deliverers are types of Christ. Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ's sufferings, and of Christ's glory yet to come.
The first coming and the second;
the Lord's humiliation and His glorious kingdom;
His cross and the crown--
shine forth everywhere in the Bible. Keep fast hold on this clue, if you would read the Bible aright!
I might easily add to these hints, if space permitted. Few and short as they are--you will find them most profitable when implemented.

*Yes, my blogging break is over. I've been praying about what to post and I hope to, Lord willing, begin writing soon. I missed you all!*

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Break

My dear, sweet friends,

well, it's been a while, hasn't it? Oh, I know I posted, but it hasn't been me. Summer is not good to my thinking/writing skills.

Consequently, I will be taking a blogging/computer break during September. This break has several different reasons.
  1. to help me focus on Jesus and my devotion time
  2. to start me off on a good foot for this school year
  3. to give me time to keep working on my photography and to start my journal up again
  4. and just to stay focused on what is truly important.
I'm planning on being completely off-line except for a very few (no more then 15) minutes a day to check and reply to emails. I'm so excited to see what Jesus is going to do with the next month of my life. (Comments go directly to my email, so, if you need to contact me, that's a way to do it.)

See you all in October! :)

Thank you for your love.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our Vacation at the Lake {Part Uno}

 In July, my family was up at my grandparents for two and a half weeks- only coming home for a few hours for the funeral of Mrs. D. It was a wonderful family reunion and we had a wonderful time holding babies, waterskiing, eating amazing food and watching the Olympic trials.

Pictures will probably stretch into two or three posts... don't worry, they're quite interesting. :)
The sunset our first night... it was a great return. :)
Holding Pax for the first time
Reading to Zoe and Gus
Curious George
Red, White and Blue Popsicles!
Ellie and a baby doll
Pax and I hangin' out one morning
Riding the four wheeler with Pap (Hannah in blue, Ellie in purple)
Myself with Pax, Jenna with Ty
The mens' fishing party
"Helping" push Ty
I painted all three three year old's toes
A family picture :)
A second post coming next week. :)