Friday, September 24, 2010

"We Can Do Hard"

This is the 200th post of my blog and I've been wondering what it would end up being about. I mentioned last entry that life's been a little hard the last couple of weeks.  I'm still having adjustment issues and it seems like everywhere I look these days, life is hard for somebody.  I love the title of this entry and I can say that because it's not mine.  Mary Beth Chapman coined this phrase as she's helped her family navigate through the tragedy of losing little Maria a couple of years ago.  Watching God bring beauty out of ashes in their family has been an encouragement to so many because of His amazing faithfulness.  Should you want to follow her journey yourself, here's the link to her blog.

Since moving back to Georgia, we've been going to Passion City Church.  This week, Louie and his sister, Gina, had the sad but wondrous experience of being with their mom as she slipped into eternity to be with the God she faithfully served while here on this earth.  We know according to Psalms 116:15 that "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones", but for those left behind there's a loss that won't be fully healed until they're reunited someday.  Here's the link to the Passion City Church blog if you want to know more about what God is doing in Atlanta through this ministry.

Today, my heart is especially heavy for a friend of Tiffany's that she graduated from Furman with.  I introduced you to Emmett and his family several months ago and shared how they had learned very unexpectedly that he had esophageal cancer.  They started a blog to keep friends and family updated and I've been following their journey of faith and struggle.  Earlier this week, they went for another CAT scan to assess the chemo effects and got discouraging news.  If you'd like to follow their story, here's the link.

I'm going to let Wendy's words (Emmett's wife) close this entry.  Sometimes life is hard, but because of God and His love and grace, we can do hard.

"You see, if you read the Bible as I do, from the slightly cynical angle of someone who started walking with God later in life, then quite often Jesus answers questions in a way people vastly misunderstand. Pretty much every conversation he has makes sense in light of the cross, but if you think about the context, then people’s perplexed reactions make perfect sense to me. I am completely and perfectly aware that I may have misunderstood the Lord’s answer to my prayer that day because I want to believe Emmett will get well. I completely understand that I cannot see beyond my circumstances and ten years from now I may understand that prayer differently than I do now. But for now, we’ve made the choice to take him at his word, which is very difficult for me. Because you see, as I write this, thousands of women are being or have been raped in the Congo by rebel and government soldiers, with no one to turn to for safety. Children in southeast Asia are being sold as slaves into the sex trade, and thousands of people around the world are going without food, medicine, or clean water. So why would God have mercy on us? There is absolutely no reason he would. Suffering of all kinds exists because there is sin in the world, and sin multiplies just like the aggressive cancer in Emmett’s body. And the love of Christ, which he has chosen for now to demonstrate through his church, seems as impotent as the chemotherapies used to fight Emmett’s advanced cancer. The beautiful mystery is that God’s love will triumph over evil on this earth, and millions of people throughout history who don’t deserve the love of God will find true healing in the blood of Christ. So we’ve chose to believe in physical healing because that’s the only way we can find the courage to face each morning. We weep often because we find it difficult to balance apparent reality with a hopeful faith."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I have found that when I stop to look for them, there are lots of things that come our way to make us smile. It's when I quit looking that life seems to get bleaker. I'm sure that's part of the reason Jesus reminded us to come as children because who better sees life's wonders?

It was a quiet weekend for the most part, but a couple of things got my attention and reminded me to be wonder-filled again.

First, we went to the Braves game on Saturday with some friends and strong storms were in the area. Fortunately, nothing hit us until right about the time we got to the car after a brisk walk/run. But it did create an opportunity for a cool rainbow appearance. I only had my phone to take a picture with, but if you look closely, you can still see it.

The game ended up going into extra innings and in the bottom of the 12th inning, the Braves won it with a walk-off homerun! Yay for exciting baseball games that we win!! The celebration at home plate was definitely something to smile about!

For those of you who are pet owners, I know you'll agree that they brighten our days often. Kit is very old - she'll be 15 in November and she's definitely slowing down. I know the dreaded "day" will come sooner rather than later, but for now she's still healthy and enjoying life. One of her favorite things to do is sleep on/near/beside her human of choice. If I'm around, it's me but Hamp serves as a great alternate. This was her keeping me company a couple of nights ago. How can you not smile at this??

This week's smiles will mostly be brought to me by what has been dubbed "Theme Park Therapy" by Tiffany and Nikki. I'm heading to Orlando for two days of Disney adventures, including the newly-opened Harry Potter world at Universal. They discovered last year that there's a brief window of time right after school starts everywhere when the parks are hardly crowded. I'm not working right now and they're only 7+ hours away, so......what's a girl to do? Stay tuned for pictures to come!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


This has been a hard week.  Life is just not easy sometimes and when that's true for those you love, it makes you want to ask the age old question, "Why?"  While I often ask that question, I rarely get an answer and if I do, it's always after enough time has gone by that I'm looking in hindsight.  I try to instead ask "What?" so I can be on the lookout for what God may have for me in any given moment.

I thought about that a few days ago as I was experimenting with some editing features on my computer.  I really know very little about it and don't have any of the good software to really try and learn.  I'm hoping to change that in the near future, but for now I'm very limited in what I'm capable of doing.  That being said, I was able to get some interesting looks to an original picture I had taken in Baltimore last year.  As I was looking at the results, I had a small epiphany.  (Side note - isn't that a cool word?  It's one of my favorites and it's just not one you get to use on a regular basis.)

What was this insight you ask?  I'll see if I can explain it by first showing you the original picture I used in my editing experiment.

It was an ordinary scene made extraordinary by the perfect combination of a full moon and a clear night and great timing. Now look at several more pictures of the same scene, but this time with various editing techniques.

The picture is always the same, but with editing the overall look was changed and also how one might perceive it. I realized that the same is true with God. He allows different exposures, color adjustments, and tints in our lives that might change our overall look, but they still keep us the person He created without changing our purpose.

Psalms 138:8 - "The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting ; do not forsake the works of Your hands."

Something To Think About

~Mary Engelbreit Daily Calendar, September 3rd

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Smiles

Poor August, there's just not a lot you can say that's very nice about its presence in the summer lineup. There's stale air, excessive heat and humidity, and no holiday to break up the monotony. Then comes September. Just hearing its name evokes images of cooler weather, changing leaves, bonfires, football games, marching bands, pennant fever for a few lucky baseball teams, and the beginning of school for those of us who liked to go.

And speaking of pennant fever...just to keep you updated, the Braves are still in first and are beating the Mets again tonight. There are 29 games left and fans are daring to believe the magic could be back in the ATL again.

In keeping with the theme, I wanted to share a few of the things that have made my heart smile in the last few days.

~Pets - Tiffany started class last night in the new adventure she's embarking on of getting her master's degree in counseling. Nikki gave her a balloon to mark the occasion and Ellie the wonder cat decided it was her new toy. I've seen her before with one and she'll take the string in her mouth and walk it around the room like she's walking a pet. It's really quite funny and had Tiffany in hysterics as she watched Ellie. She took a couple of pictures, but so far I've only seen this one and it makes me laugh out loud every time I see it.

~Memories - Hamp and I went for a walk the other day around the track of what used to be my old high school. I spent many hours in that track area as a drill team member during football season and a soccer fan in the spring. As we passed the far corner near the scoreboard, I remembered when we had our pre-season pictures taken for drill team at that same spot. In scanning some pictures earlier today I came across it and while there is proof othewise, I couldn't help but think that it feels like yesterday when it was taken.

~Pictures - I suppose this could fall into the category of memories too, but having pictures that have documented our lives is a gift I take for granted often. I was the obnoxious mom that always had her camera pointed at the latest happening, but now those same pictures remind us of connections from days gone by. Here are a few I came across as I was scanning some to save.

When they were around five and six years old, Tiffany and Jack were in a wedding together as the flower girl and ring bearer. The photographer captured this shot and it's one of my favorites. I love the typical girl/boy differences that each of them is showing.

I think I've shared this one of Tiffany we had taken when she was three months old. She was a "healthy" baby and did all of her growing early!

Then I found this one of me when I was two months old and realized we actually look more alike than I thought we did.

~Changes - Just thinking about a new season underscores the approach of a change coming. I don't think I'm as afraid of change as I used to be, but it's still not something I lean into. If things never changed, however, we would miss the new adventure, the new friend, or the beauty that can only come with eyes wide open to now. Without change, I would have only seen this

and would never have seen this.