Friday, September 25, 2009

Sometimes It's Harder

If you follow my blog at all, you know that fairly often I reference either a song, a ministry, or a family circumstance that is related to Steven Curtis Chapman. I just read his wife's blog entry for today and I wanted to share it with you. (Click here to read it.)

I have friends who understand her pain and struggle to keep going and they've told me that some days are harder than others. Take a minute and pray for Mary Beth and anybody else you know who has lost a child. The only comfort I can offer is that God truly does understand and your grief is safe with Him.

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." ~1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Thank You, Friends!

TGIF!! I only have a minute for now because I have some cleaning and cooking to do to prepare for Michael and Bekah's weekend visit. No, we really don't have a revolving front door, although it seems like it sometimes. :) Our regular worship leader is out of town this weekend and Ellis asked Michael to come lead us on Sunday morning at church. The flights were really cheap so we were able to fly Bekah to Baltimore with him so Hamp could meet her and we could spend some time with them. She's an awesome young lady and we're looking forward to a fun weekend.

I wanted to get some pictures up from Debbie's visit and also say a public thank you for the amazing friends God has blessed us with. I've realized since moving from GA that I took the proximity of our family and friends for granted. Those relationships are still very much part of our lives, but they look different now. Purposeful planning has taken the place of spontaneous gatherings. But I've realized that intentional living is much more than an evangelistic strategy; it's a way of life.

If you live near those closest to your heart, don't waste the blessing God has given you. If not, let that reality spur you to creative living. Yes, sometimes it's harder than others, but the truth is our Father understands completely the longing to be near His children which is why He set eternity in our hearts.

Thanks, Deb, for sharing part of your vacation time with us! And thanks to those who have not let distance keep us apart - we love you all!

Monday, September 21, 2009

From Friends to Flood

It's Monday evening and I've spent most of the day keeping up online with the flooding in Georgia where our families and friends live. It's been crazy to see how widespread the devastation is! I've taken a couple of pictures from Facebook that others have posted to show you what the street looked like earlier today where we used to live as you turned left out of the neighborhood.

This is going to be one of those events that everyone will remember and have stories to tell about where they were when the Flood of '09 hit. Be safe as you're out and about in the days ahead.

I mentioned in my last entry that we had friends in town for the weekend and I wanted to show you some pictures from our time with Jill, Daryl, and David on Saturday.

This one of tall David (or short Joneses) makes me smile!

We ate lunch at Koopers Tavern so we could watch college football before heading to the Orioles game via the water taxi.

This boat was going through the harbor as the water taxi left the dock and it was an amazing site.

The Orioles game against the Red Sox was a fun experience for our visitors as they got to watch a game in Camden Yards for the first time.

As I'm finishing up this entry, the Weather Channel is on in the background and it sounds like it could take most of the week for the tropical air to leave the southeast which means more rain could fall. For so long there was drought and now there's a flood. I think life is like that sometimes and I don't understand it. But I find myself remembering the song "Here is Our King" (click here to listen) that David Crowder wrote after the tsunami hit a few years ago. While probably not an explanation that satisfies our questioning in hard times, the words are true nevertheless.

The Ocean is growin'
The Tide is coming in Here it is

Here is our King
Here is our Love
Here is our God who's come to bring us back to him
He is the one
He is Jesus

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Perfect Fall Day

According to the calendar, Fall doesn't officially begin until Tuesday, but I must disagree with that minor detail. It's absolutely gorgeous in Baltimore today and pretty much a perfect day. It's in the low 70's, the sky is a clear blue, there's a slight breeze and college football is on the television in the background as I'm typing. Kit didn't waste any time checking out the new day as soon as I opened the window this morning.

David Webb has come to visit for the weekend. We pretend with him that he's here to see us, but really it's to go to Camden Yards and check that historic ball park off his list of ones to see. Daryl and Jill Rench are in town also for the same reason and in a little while, we're all heading down the street for some sightseeing, eating (of course!!), and then a water taxi ride to the Inner Harbor where we'll walk the rest of the way to the game. It will be crowded with Boston fans who can't get tickets to Fenway Park, so it will be a fun game to watch.

I went outside earlier and took some pictures so I could try and share the day with our friends and family in the south who are no longer suffering from a drought and contemplating ark building as a new line of work. Before I do, I must show you a picture of the french pastries we bought to eat along with the quiche I made for breakfast this morning. David walked to the french bakery down the street to get them for me while I finished things up in the kitchen. Being able to do things like this definitely falls under the plus column of living in the city.

Now for the pictures outside - all of these were taken right around our apartment building area.

These next couple of pictures show the conflict I experience sometimes between the beauty of the area we live in and the stark reminder that I'm in the middle of a city that is old, dirty, and not always safe.

Before we head out, I want to share a book with you that I'm currently reading and encourage you to do so if you haven't already.

Written by Francis Chan, it is not only thought provoking, but honest and challenging and it quickly forces us as the reader out of our comfort zone. I'll let his words end our time together for now.

"So what does that mean for you? Frankly, you need to get over yourself. It might sound harsh, but that's seriously what it means.

Maybe life's pretty good for you right now. God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but who is still totally obsessed with God.

Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard.

...To be brutally honest, it doesn't really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory...the point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His."

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It seems the only time I've had to relax recently is late at night when the world finally quiets down. There's been a lot going on lately and it has taken a conscious effort to take a deep breath, remember God is God and I am not, and trust Him with the lives of those I love. This is easier said than done sometimes.

As promised here are a few pictures of Debbie and Janet's visit this past weekend. They wanted to help me make our apartment feel a little more like home, which I confess has not been a priority for me. I think that all the packing and moving of our family in the past year cured a lot of that. Plus, until this past week, we didn't know if we were going to move when our lease was up in November. We've decided that even though our rent is going up some and we only have one very small bathroom, we'd rather stay where we are for the next year than move again. It's a great location for where we do life, I feel very safe, and we have a view of the harbor. So my nesting friends came at the perfect time and in between eating our way through Baltimore, we shopped, moved furniture, and did some sight-seeing.

(For those who might be interested, according to, the word indefatigable means incapable of being tired out; not yielding to fatigue; untiring. This particular water taxi might be appropriately named, but it is not a word that could have been used to describe us!)

It's probably hard to see in this picture, but the water was an interesting neon green color on Saturday.

When we asked the water taxi captain why, he told us it was because of an algae growth that took oxygen out of the water. This also caused the fish to come to the surface for air which in turn gave the sea gulls a reason to flock to the harbor and catch the fish. Mother Nature can be very harsh sometimes!

Here are some pictures of our apartment once the arranging and picture hanging was finished. My favorite change was swapping the sofa and love seat locations and then placing the love seat diagonally near the window. As cooler weather moves in, I'll be able to sit and look at the harbor while snuggled up in a blanket and think of my creative friends. I haven't been able to stop long enough this week to enjoy it but hope to very soon.

As the week winds down, we have more friends coming into town. The Boston Red Sox are really the drawing card because they're playing the Orioles this weekend and we're going to the game on Saturday night. Fall is knocking at the door in Baltimore and while it will feel more like football weather at the game, baseball hasn't left town yet. I'm not holding out much hope that I'll really care who's in the playoffs, but should the Braves prove me wrong, you'll see it here first!

Monday, September 14, 2009

On This Date In History

This is for Steven - I'm so sorry it has taken me a while to put up a new blog so you'd have something to read while at work waiting for customers to call in. :)

I have hardly stopped since my last entry except to maybe sleep and that hasn't been for very long either. Michael came to visit for a couple of days last week and then Debbie and Janet came for a long weekend. It was great having family and friends here but normal routines were interrupted, thus no new entries.

There's apparently a cold thing going around and I'm not feeling up to par, so this will be short. I'll get some pictures up from our girl's weekend (poor Hamp) in the next day or so, but for now I thought I'd share a piece of historical trivia with you regarding our adopted city that I saw in the paper today. Ready??

Today in History - 1814: After witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old amateur poet, wrote "Defence of Fort McHenry". The poem was set to the tune of a popular British drinking song written by John Stafford Smith and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner". It soon become a well-known American patriotic song and eventually our national anthem.

Much cooler weather is headed our way later this week, so I'll leave you with the smile God sent my way in the paper today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Should Be Sleeping

I'm trying to wind my brain down enough so I can actually sleep when I go to bed and your are getting the results of that attempt. :) Is it really just the end of Tuesday?? My brain is already full and there's a lot of week left that it needs to be functional for...

Quick updates - first, we met a new couple at church Sunday morning that we ended up spending some time with that afternoon...on their boat. Yes, I did say "on their boat". It wasn't quite the peaceful sailing experience I'd been dreaming of, but it was still a lot of fun. It was a very nice boat and enough bumpy on the choppy water that I was thankful I had taken half a Dramamine just in case. My stomach survived and we enjoyed the scenery and just beat a gathering storm back to the marina.

Labor Day was spent eating Hamp's yummy grilled hamburgers and hotdogs he had to cook at Ellis and Ginger's since that's where our grill lives for now. Obviously, not as convenient, but still worth the effort. We made homemade ice cream in the stairwell of our building by running an extension cord from our apartment so we wouldn't ruin any floors. No pictures, but we had a good time with a few friends from church. Holidays, no matter how "small", are always harder for those of us living away from family and friends. We try to make sure nobody is alone because sometimes it can really feel that way even when you're with people.

I worked today and also picked up Michael from the airport for a 3 day visit. We have lots to do as he prepares for his fall semester to start and then I have two friends from GA arriving on September 11th. I think they're braver than I would be to fly on that day but am looking forward to their long weekend visit.

Before I go to bed which is where I really should be, I have to share with you a funny story. As you can imagine, there are many "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto" moments when life is so completely different from all I've ever known. They don't result in near as much fit-pitching as when I first arrived, nor in as many tears. I've graduated to mostly head shaking and there's still the surreal "I live in the city??" question that arises often. But on Saturday, when we hosted the UGA game viewing, I heard the first thing that's made me laugh out loud over how different things are for us many displaced Georgians. If you saw our new friend, Matt, dressed like this, what would be your first thought?

It probably would be that he's a UGA fan and more than likely an alumni because he is wearing a nice polo shirt and not just a t-shirt. The black logo is the dead giveaway and we'd all notice that a mile away anywhere in the state of Georgia, right? Well, before he came to our apartment, he'd gone into Target and was stopped with the following question (which could also be a hint of the season to come, but I digress): "Excuse me, could you tell me where the toilet paper is?" Yes, the lady thought he worked there. Hahahahahahaha!!! And on that note, I bid you goodnight!