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Saturday, June 28, 2008

So Many Things to Do!!


Once again, sorry I haven't been writing more consistently. I've been so busy! Work has been great - I have met some really great people with interesting stories! Here are pictures of Nick (the Russian) and me at Wakulla with the gators. You can't see it in the picture of me very well but I promise it's there!!

*This is an osprey

When I haven't been working, I've been reading. I bought these two great books from Barnes & Noble Monday:

Kristin Billberbeck is my favorite author - this one is about a woman whose husband (a producer) left her for the main actress in his movie. Her lawyer suggests that she goes to church and joins the group "The Trophy Wives Club". All of the ladies have been divorced and had once believed that men could make them feel complete... at times, it's a pretty cheesy book but Billerbeck always has a way of letting the main character take it down a notch.

This study of David is also wonderful! If you are a wife or mother, I would definitely recommend it! Beth Moore discusses the family of David, starting with Hannah and then Samuel. It's really encouraged me to steadfastly pray for my future husband and my children. More than anything, I simply love reading about the adventures of the Old Testament... I think a lot of times we forget to.

I've also been doing a lot of bike riding! Here are some pictures Chase took last Sunday:

My thoughts on life? Well, lately I've
been really sad for the families around here. I saw a lady at the Dollar General with her grandson and she was complaining about how all that she was buying was stuff for him and she was ready for him to go home to his daddy. That makes my heart cry. Reading the story of Hannah... knowing how much she wanted a child but couldn't bear makes me bitter towards those who treat their own children like they're a burden. Children are precious gifts and that's how we should handle them and speak to them. We should treat them with the same love Christ gives us. Grace, mercy and compassion.

Finally, here's the artwork I've been
playing with:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

The internet is still down but we’re working on it! :o)

Disclaimer: Ok - for the last blog, it might not have seemed like I am having the time of my life down here... but I am! :o) I just meant that there are not very many girls that would love to have this job because it can be painful at time - from sunburns to working your muscles hard - but I love that stuff! I love challenges - especially physically - so this is my dream job! Don't worry friends and family - I couldn't live here for too long because the beach is supposed to be a place for my vacation... not life-long career! haha

Most recent news: Chase and I are quickly seeing our purpose in being here this summer. Last night (Saturday), our pastor on the island invited us over for a grill-out with his family. His name is Themo. His wife’s name is April… and they have four boys ranging from ages of about 8 years old to 15. The burgers were great and the company was even better! There is an amazing opportunity for me to hang out with some high school girls and to truly pour myself and Jesus’ love into them. I can’t wait to ‘chillax’ with them! Chase volunteered to play his guitar at the services tomorrow (they have one on the island and one at Apalachicola – about 20 minutes away from one another). Their house is in Apalach and they live about 10 steps from the church so we walked over there after dinner. Chase pulled out his guitar and started playing a song he had written – “Somebody Different”. April stood up and started singing with him and passed me a microphone. Before we realized it, we had been standing up there for 3 hours just singing and praising to different songs. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever been a part of. To say the least, Chase, April and I will be doing a couple of songs together during the services throughout the summer. The Lord was so alive in those three hours. His presence was breathtaking. The coolest thing was when April pulled out a song called “For My Ashes” sung by Enter the Worship Circle. I had never heard it but Chase started playing and we all just started jamming out. The words are amazing: For my ashes, you give me beauty; for my mourning, you give me joy; for my tears Lord, you give me kisses. Oh, yea, that’s how good you are. The scripture behind it is from Isaiah 61 – which has become my favorite chapter in the Old Testament. It was perfect!

In other news – I am officially a kayak guide! I went on my first solo trip Thursday to Wakulla (an hour & a half drive from the island) with a group of six people - one older couple from Birmingham and another couple that had two teenage boys. It was very successful! We saw one manatee, four gators, two river otters, many gar and sheephead fish, and tons of beautiful flowers and birds. We had a blast together! If you have never been to Wakulla, let me try to set the scene for you. It is a very epic atmosphere – Spanish moss hanging from massive cypress trees, the clearest water that you see for at least 15 feet down to the bottom – exotic in every sense of the word for America. As we kayaked, the Lord spoke to me: “This is yours to enjoy. I have created these birds and set every tree in place for you to be mesmerized by – do you love it?” Our Creator desires for us to enjoy the creation He has made! All I could think about is how unworthy I am. We are so undeserving of all the beauty He has to offer but He keeps giving because He loves us… He wants to please us… He desires to show us His goodness and beauty through His creation. He has made us worthy to enjoy it though! He has redeemed us! He has cleansed us and made us good as He is good! Here is my challenge to you: Seek Him out! When you walk outside or drive your car, please look around and see His goodness – whether it’s in a man giving to the poor or in simply seeing His beauty in the trees – seek out His goodness because He seeks to display it mightily to you!

PS: A HUGE Happy Father's Day goes out to all of the wonderful men in my life - from Papas to uncles to cousins that are expecting a child in a few months! Most of all to my dad - I love you and I am so thankful that you have been such a big part of my life! I pray that the man I marry will be as kind-hearted, generous and loving as you! That he will have tea parties with our daughter (if we have one) and climbs trees with our son (if we have one) - and even act as a student for them in their "schoolroom". Thanks for being a student for me even though you already know everything... you are my Yoda and Papa Bear! Love you bunches - wish I could be with you today!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Every Girl's Dream

Sorry I haven’t written much – our internet and cable has been cut off. Everything is good – this past week was Kids’ Camp. It was actually pretty rough. The kids were a little intolerable at times and by the end of the week, the amygdala effect definitely affected me. I got really upset with one of the guys who works with us because the deck was a mess when we got back and nobody was cleaning it up. It wasn’t a big deal and I should’ve never even said anything because it wasn’t my place, but I was at the end of my rope. I love working here for the summer, but I don’t think I could ever live like this. I think I’m a little too OCD for this lifestyle…

On another note, mom keeps saying that I’m living out every girl’s dream by working here this summer. Sure, the tan is great; building muscle and losing fat is great; the people are great…. But I know very few girls who would want to be around gators, sharks, and little critters; who would want to get their hands dirty… and the rest of their body; who would want to lift kayaks and be attacked by roaches and no-see-ems every day. Kidding – it’s not that bad.

I do know that I’m living out every girl’s dream because I am loved. That is every girl’s desire – we all just want someone to love us. My family and friends love me and show it every day through phone calls, e-mails, and the amazing letters; but I have found a love deeper than that. Or rather, that love has searched me out and found me. It’s such a beautiful thing to grow so close to a God, a Savior, a Redeemer, a cross. Even when I question His Spirit, His nearness, His existence, He displays to me His beauty and His desire to know me as a lover. No guy has wanted to know me on that level of purity and intimacy – but my Jesus does. I love Song of Songs because even though it is a song from King Solomon to his lover, it is the true melody of Christ’s love that He longs to share with us. He wants us to release our veils. He doesn’t care if we are darkened by sin; He sees beyond that and still calls us beautiful.

My lover is mine and I am his… I belong to my lover; and his desire is for me. Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding like the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” ~Song
of Songs

I also love this passage from Isaiah - a prophesy of what our Savior came to do for us... once again declaring His desire to be our everything:

"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~Isaiah 61

Finally - GREAT NEWS!! The Lord is continuing to heal my mom again. She went to a new doctor that tested her thyroid and found that she suffers from hypothyroidism which causes heavy weight gain, muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches, fatigue, weakness, tiredness, and swelling. The doctor put her on medication and her swelling has already gone down. Hopefully, everything else will be taken care of too and she'll have more energy. Please keep her in your prayers... as well as the doctor - that the Lord will give him the knowledge in taking the best steps so that she can be healthy again. Our Father is faithful in answering us - sometimes it takes years, other times it takes just a week. We're seriously discussing our plans in making The Charm House into a mother/daughter business - a little boutique filled with artwork and coffee! We'll just continue to pray over it and see what happens!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Birthday Cake Ice Cream & Sunset Cruises

This past week held many crazy and unforgettable moments for me. My brother went out of town for a wedding, and being the goofy girl I am, I needed someone to stay with me. My mom came down with a wonderful surprise: my great Aunt Shirley & Uncle Robert along with my 2 cousins, Crosby & Karis. It was such a pleasure to see my aunt and uncle - they are always filled with joy and laughter! I hadn't seen Crosby and Karis in years. They have not only grown up, but also matured in such strong ways. Crosby is the captain and chaplain for his football team - he proves to be an incredible man of the Lord without the title of chaplain. Karis and I spent a lot of time together. From building starfish in the sand and body surfing the waves to playing the Game of Life to her silly moments like calling a manatee "a tiki-man", we definitely bonded! Crosby and I spent a lot of time together as well - he took care of me while Chase was gone. He killed a roach for me. As a family, we devoured some birthday cake ice cream.

More than anything, the most special time I had was when I got to hang out with my mom. She wasn't feeling well most of the time, but just being around her brings light to my world. I can never thank her enough for all she does for me - she tried everything she could to get down here, no matter how soon it was for her treatment. Dad couldn't make it because of work but we called him at our favorite restaurant so it was kind of like he was there. Besides that, it was just a special weekend.After my family left Saturday morning, Beth and Dave asked me if I wanted to go on a sunset cruise (Dave is a captain at Journeys). They took good care of me too while Chase was gone. We went to Little St. George and found neat shells and driftwood. Little St. George is completely desserted and one can only get to it by boat. It is a beautiful place a holds many treasures from special seashells to beat-up boats that drifted to the island during hurricanes. Below is Beth and Dave's dog, Honey. She ran around the boat like crazy searching for dolphins but we never found any. As the sun was setting, Captain Dave drove us out in the middle of the ocean, and we floated as the Lord brushed His hand across the sky, creating an array of breathtaking colors for us. We drove back to the dock and Beth fixed a wonderful couscous salad dinner for us. She spent the night in Chase's room so I wouldn't be in the house by myself... she and Dave have truly gone out of their way to make Chase and me feel comfortable on the island. I could never thank them enough for their hospitality toward us.