“Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won't also cost you yours.”
~Rich Mullins

Sep 23, 2013

Here We Go Again......

Goodbye Arizona, hello Texas!

I swear I feel like a hobo.....haven't even been home from OK for a week, and I'm finishing up last minute packing to head out in the morning to Ft. Worth for two weeks. I'm going to go help a family from Oregon that we know who are taking 11 horses to the World show. Very, very excited, but tired and a little nervous. Flying still scares me a little ;)

Soooo....I'll be back in two weeks with an update. Hopefully. If I'm functioning.

P.S. I LOVE Texas :) :) :)

Sep 9, 2013

Hello, Tulsa!

We're here in Tulsa! Crazy trip.....23.5 hours of driving straight through, most of which I was incredibly sick. Thankfully, by the time we got here, I was way better (though with almost no voice) and able to help. We got into Tulsa around 4:30 this morning after waking up at 1:00 AM the morning before. Set everything up for a couple hours and then slept for about 4 hours. Had an awesome day hanging out with amazing people, and I am so ready to go get some sleep. It's midnight here!!!

Thanks to everyone for praying, and I will try to keep updating! First class is Wednesday afternoon ;)

Sep 5, 2013

Seven Years of Change

It has finally come. I've been thinking about tonight quite a lot over the past couple of months. Tonight marks a turning point for me, a loss of something I will never get back.

Tonight is my last night as a teenager.

And while that is so exciting and I look eagerly forward to what God will do with me in these next few years, I can't help but say good-bye to these past seven years with a twinge of sadness.

I remember so clearly the day I turned 13....we spent it at the newly opened Cabela's that was just twenty minutes from our house. Everyone who called to wish me a happy birthday inevitably asked, "Sooo...how does it feel to be a teenager?" And I inevitably answered, "No different than it felt to be twelve!" But I lied. It felt different....just a teeny, weeny little bit more grown up.

Looking back, I was so naive. Over the past seven years, God has changed me in ways that I wouldn't trade for anything. And I have also changed in areas that I wish with all my heart I could go back and undo.

(at thirteen and twenty) :) :)

**               **                  **

At thirteen, I had little to no idea of what responsibility was.
Now at twenty, there are times I feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of life.

At thirteen, Mom told me, "guard your heart!", and I thought, "Wow, I must be a really good girl...this is easy!"
Now at twenty, boys suddenly don't have cooties and guarding my heart is a whole lot harder than I realized.

At thirteen, I had this vague, never admitted idea that because I was homeschooled, my parents were Christians, and I had said "the prayer", I was going to heaven.
Not at twenty, I realize that my faith has to be oh-so-much my own. That nothing anyone else did or is doing can earn me points with God. And for that matter, nothing I can do will earn me those points either.

At thirteen, I was so innocent...so trusting and willing to believe.
Now at twenty, I question. I doubt. I've been hurt, built walls, and find trust hard to come by.

**               **                  **

I've learned that you can do almost anything in life with God and hard work. Naturally, I don't have talent. Period.
People hear me play the piano and say how it must be so nice to have musical ability...and I laugh. Me? Musical ability? Oh honey, you haven't seen the tears, and the pain, and the years and years of hard work and playing the same five notes over and over again.
I post my photography on Facebook and people say how wonderful my work is and how blessed I am to have such an eye. What eye? I'm only showing you the top 10 of the thousands and thousands of pictures I've taken. You haven't heard the critiques and the "don't show that to anyone else" that my dear family and friends have used to train me. You haven't witnessed the excitement of running out to get the one shot I've been dreaming of for months.....only to not be able to get it.
All that to say that my mom has always stressed that the most important thing to learn is how to learn. If you can research and practice and be disciplined, talent isn't that important. Oh, it's nice and wonderful to have talent, I bet.....but not necessary.

I've learned how important it is to enjoy people! A problem I have is that I tend to be slow to trust and open up, and as such, I have few close friends. Another thing my mom says is that, "The most important thing in your life is your relationship to God. The second most important thing is your relationships with other people." Not until close friends have left have I started to realize the extreme value of fellow believers. Don't put off a friendship...dive in headfirst, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and don't build walls when you get hurt. Cause people leave, and you miss them, and have regrets...about things you could have done differently.

I've learned that life doesn't work like books and movies. This has been a huge lesson for me. I tend to have gargantuan hopes and expectations, and when real life doesn't meet up with my idealistic mental world, I despair.
The friend got cancer.....
The baby horse didn't live....
The questions come....
The hero doesn't ride in.....
And God is still good and in control.
Just yesterday morning, our vet (who also happens to be a very special man and a strong believer) told me a story that will stick with me a while.
"Many years ago, we and another couple were starting a home church. This other couple was very dear to us and extremely vital in the progress of what we believed was God's will.
Then it happened. A drunk driver at a speed of 100 mph hit them as they were out driving one evening. He killed the wife and her father, and severely injured the husband.
Over the next couple of weeks, I wrestled in agony with the question, 'Is God still good?' I just didn't understand how this could have been part of the plan. Then one morning, I went in to work at the zoo. As I walked back to the aviaries, I noticed a strange thing. All the Wood Ducks were standing in a perfectly straight row, with their heads tilted at a funny angle - right eyes on the ground, left eyes turned up towards the sky. I asked the lady who worked back there, 'Is this normal behavior for them?' Immediately, she replied, "Oh, there must be a hawk around." I looked up, and sure enough, above the mesh netting of their enclosure, a hawk soared.
As I left the ducks and went on to the rest of my day, I glanced back one more time. There they were...still all standing in that funny position. And I thought to myself, 'You stupid ducks....can't you see there's a net between you and that hawk?'
And it hit me. That's what I was doing. I was acting just like those ducks....looking and only seeing the bad, the scary, the evil horrible part that loomed over me, flying low, casting a shadow over my entire life. But in between me and the evil - there's God.
He's saying, 'Can't you see? I've got you covered. The evil can't get to you no matter how hard it tries because my love covers you, protects you, and surrounds you. You can trust and rest because you're beneath the net of my love and power.'"

I've learned that life goes by so fast. One moment I'm looking forward to something that seems it will never come....and the next moment, it's just a memory. And because of this, I have to love life right where I am, as imperfect as it may seem. It's more than contentment, it's finding joy in the little things of life and always having your eyes open to what God is trying to show you. Even if it's a line of Wood Ducks.

I've learned that I put far, far too much thought into and too high a priority on getting married. Often, I feel like the Prince in that wonderful silly movie "Ever After" when he says,

"Do you really think there is only one perfect mate? And how can you be certain to find them? And if you do find them, are they really the one for you or do you only think they are? And what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or, or they do, but you're too distracted to notice?
"Let's say...God...puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But.....one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it?
"Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the one you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first...or...was the second one supposed to be first?
"And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?"
Lisa, Lisa, Lisa...cant' I just slow down and leave things in God's hands...instead of trying to handle situations on my own?

Which leads me to the next thing I've learned.....stay out of God's way! He knows what is best in such an infinitely greater way than I do; how can I ever have the audacity to think that He's wrong? Trust. Faith. That's what it comes down to. The questions will come, and the world won't make sense, but for heaven's sake, don't think you're the one to fix it!

And while I can speak eloquently about all these wonderful things I've learned, it's rare that I remember to put them all into practice. So I really hope this doesn't sound like I've got it all figured out....cause I'm a far cry from there.

**               **                  **

I wonder - where will I be in the next seven years? What will I have to show? Will my words, actions, and thoughts have brought glory to God...or will they be wasted?

I'll end with some of the Scriptures that have come to mean so much to me....

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" Phil. 1:6

"And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matt. 6:33-34

Sep 3, 2013

Update and Ta-Ta For Now!

In just a few days, we leave for Oklahoma for Nationals.....can someone say "excited"?!? As a result, I will most likely be absent from here for the next couple of weeks. Unless they have really good wi-fi at the show grounds.

That said, I wanted to post a quick update of our recent life. I've been waiting and waiting...trying to find time to edit these pictures, but it's not happening. So, some are edited, some are not - just be a wonderful person and ignore the imperfections.

I do have one "real" (as in deep, serious) post that I would *love* to finish and post before we leave, but I have my doubts.

Starting back in June.....annual church campout! Only a couple families got to go, but it was a blast and very special :)

Did some more surfing :) No better way to stay cool, I tell you!!

Moving on to July......went on an incredibly fun hike with a great friend. It was up in Sedona, and while the trail was rather hot, it ended at this gorgeous swimming hole with freezing water! One of my most favorite hikes ever!

August rolled around, and we celebrated the 20th birthday of this amazing friend...most often known as our oldest brother :)

This picture......I love it! The dear little thumb-sucker is head over heels in love with David, and is hard to pry away from him. To everyone that knows her, this is just so her. Thumb...David...awesome.

Yes, he is attempting to hunt crawdads with a bow. 'Nough said.

We also had a wonderful graduation/he's-a-man-now party for the same amazing young man. It was so wonderful to hear all the challenges and encouragement he was given by the men from our church. So grateful that God has placed us in a group of people who are trying to follow Him so wholeheartedly. 

Last but not least, yesterday was our annual church water day!!!!!!! WOW was that fun!! Slides that are enjoyable to no end, epic water fights, and many bruises and random sore body parts later....it was a blast.


A dear friend from church got this last picture...and I was so thrilled to have it!! I have hardly any other action shots of myself, so this one was just priceless :)

And with that, adieu, my dear friends!!! Have a wonderful next couple of weeks, and keep reminding yourself that all your worth and value are found in Him. He has every moment of your life in His hands and has a plan for it...the best plan.