Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I've Never Done This Before

To be honest, I'm quite the newbie blogger. I can make my way around the deep chasms of the blogging world very safely from the top of the depths looking down. *gulp* I follow several blogs and plenty of them I've discovered by browsing other random blogs. I wasn't aware of how many transparent Christians there are in this blogosphere. But I'm very happy to have found them :)

I cannot even remember how I came across Aspire, but I've stuck around and have enjoyed reading Hannah's posts. She is very real and open, plus she delights in the little things in life, those things usually bring the most joy.

Speaking of joy, I also, through Aspire found out that Hannah's mom, Rachel, has a blog titled Finding Joy.  Mrs. Rachel encourages me because of the happiness that she finds in her everyday life. Transparency is showing who you are at all times, the good and the bad. That is what I appreciate about these ladies and of all the other people I follow.

I was reading Finding Joy, and I found out that Mrs. Rachel was having a link up Sam with the challenge to find your favorite photo of 2011. Like I said in the intro, I'm not to sure on how to do much around here; I don't even know how to post the cute button that was made :P I do have my favorite photo with out a doubt.

I worked for family friends and cared for their little girl this past spring/summer. Her name is Lindsay and she was such a fountain of happiness! We spent a lot of one-on-one time together and this picture was taken after the family came home from vacation. In the background, you can see balloons and a "Welcome Home!" sign we made. I have so many fond memories of this girl, she was very intelligent although she could not speak. She was full of love and the best way for you to feel that love was through her tight, squeezy hugs. Lindsay conquered life with her handy-dandy purple wheelchair. Most may want to express pity to the family when he or she finds out that Lindsay had a chromosomal disorder. But to that response  those of us who knew her, we would have probably smiled because we knew the real Lindsay. "Chromosomal" refers to the intricately chosen alignment of the chromosomes that God predestined. "Disorder" refers to what may happen when you leave a dish close enough to Lindsay : a broken dish, but many laughs. Or it may refer to what happens when you leave the wipes container by her bed: she pulls all of them out. Her insides may have been a mess, and Lindsay could pull the "hot mess" and "sassy" attitude sometimes, but at the end of every day with her I never had a bad day. Every time I was with her we had some new adventure together. A new opportunity to make a memory. I have many memories stored up; I'm very blessed to have been able to spend time with her. September, 2011 she experienced several complications that caused her to be hospitalized, she came out of the hospital the first time, and the family had high hopes to resume "normal" life. Several days after that, Lindsay needed to be taken to the hospital again. And because God's sovereign plan is so much higher and different than ours, He decided it was time for Lindsay to arrive at her new home. I chose this photo because of the enormous impact that Lindsay had and still has on my life.

{Due to checking on permission to post this, this was my new year reflection, just a little late :) }

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Grandeur of the Grand Canyon

Doesn't that sound like a cheesy title? A title that took agonizing over to come up with? You know...the same kind of agonizing that a writer goes through for a thesis statement. {{those can be toughies}} But, believe it or not, when dwelling on the Grand Canyon, it isn't hard to use the biggest most best words in my word bank to describe that place. This national landmark is a sight to behold. After visiting the park for four or so odd hours, I kept looking at the canyon thinking, " Is this really real?" Well, let me tell you, I came into contact into with the canyon in an up close and personal way.

This was at the first sight-seeing spot at the Grand Canyon, I was stunned.

We began the day by walking around the South Rim of the Canyon. It was pretty icy and snowy. Which, by the way, means it was potentially one of the most dangerous places for a natural disaster to occur to a human being. My stomach was caught up in the narrow passages of throat for a wee bit, I mean please, it was a Grand, massively large, intricately carved, wonder of the world. I was in awe. The day was going along very pleasantly. The weather was pure and crisp. We stopped on the side of the road of near the Canyon to throw snowballs down the canyon wall, throwing and enjoyment was had by all.

My Mom, the crazy nature/science/state and national park junkie that she is, wanted to walk down into the canyon. Once she found out we were "going down" she kept saying, " We're going down, We're going dooowwwwwwn!!" As a group of eight with the age range of 7-45, we tackled the " Hermit Trail." It began with a clear path and slight obstacles like rocks to walk around, up, over and dodge.  The sun was shining and the silence was deafening.We walked down the trail a bit and then came into contact with snow along the shady part of the canyon wall.

 I cautiously and slowly walked through the snow. whew, glad I got through that. ahem. So I thought. Around the next turn, there was a sunny patch of land with dry ground, and around the next corner was snow, again. Kennedy said, " You're walking slowly and you look scared, are you nervous?" I replied calmly with a smile," No, I'm fine!" The next moment in time, as I replay it in my mind again comes to life in slow motion; I slipped. I slipped on ice onto my butt. I was really shaken. At first, I just sat in the cold snow as it soaked into my jeans. [ at first lasted maybe... five seconds] I cried plenty of tears. "I slipped because Kennedy made fun of me," I sobbed. The rest of the entourage moved on while Dad stayed behind. After some ((reluctant on my part)) coaxing, I attempted to go on farther down into the canyon. I was a feeble wreck! My entire legs, from each femur to the tibia and fibula, were ridden with the shakes. As slow as a sloth, I walked, crawled in some spots, and side stepped down the trail. We didn't go all the way down into the canyon because that is quite a feat, for it takes several hours one way. We eight, assuredly did not have that much time. But I did make it to our stopping point and back!

After I made it down to the stopping point, I cried again. 


{{just couldn't resist the chance to release my inner hippie ; ) }}

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fully Loaded

Fully Loaded because :

  • We're a big family and that's the only way to do it.
  • This potentially could be a once in a lifetime experience. {hopefully not, I'd like to come back}
  • Fully loaded trips are the most memorable :)

Monday 12/19: We went to Walnut Canyon. The reason why I think it is named Walnut Canyon is because you would've been a nut to live there! The fact that people even lived in a canyon is quite the daring feat. These people lived in the depths of rock that was carved *cough* coincidentally just for them. Indians were very resourceful and incredibly smart. Indians were pliable individuals, they had to be to survive. Out here the roads move with the land, in the same way the Indians weren't set out destroy the land but to use it  as the renewable resource that it was. They used the land for sustenance and they also used the land for their homes by adding to what was already provided to them, such as the Canyon.

 Later that night we went to hear a Navajo Indian, Brian Benally. He was really funny and he reminded all of my family of Brian Regan and Tim Hawkins. He gives Indian tours in Sedona for Red Stone. Brian enlightened us with many facts and explained that the text books don't have a lot of the Indian story right. He said that only 10% of Indians actually came across the Bering Strait. Also, did you know that the Apache and Navajo Indians are both the same people with different names? True story. Brian told us when he gives his tours to the Hopi Mesa he said the Hopi can tell when he arrives, "Wait-- is that a Navajo? Hurry! Lock the refrigerators!"

Common Indian Questions and Brian's responses :

  • Do Indians still eat buffalo? "Yes, but only the wings!"
  • " Most Indians now days have cell phones and drive cars, my Dad just bought a yellow corvette. People ask if we still ride horses. *cough*  There's 250 horses under that hood." 
  • "If you want to know how to make an Indian blush ask him where his loin cloth is... I don't have one."
    {The Navajo cultural clothing requirement is to not show anything but one's face and hands.}
As soon as I get a better, faster internet connection I'll post about the Grand Canyon. That was quite a scary adventure for me. But don't cry 'cause I lived :D

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"I must scream it to the world, my excitement from the top of someplace very high!"

(why, yes, that quote is from Cars :D )

Yesterday, I read Ezekiel 20.

 Um, Wow!

The first half of the chapter talks about the history of past Israelite rebellion, and how even though they had to experience the wilderness, God punished them in that way for his namesake! Isn't that just mind blowing?! Literally. I had to scoop up my feeble, human mind after reading about this. God. God of the universe God chose to deliver the Israelites out of captivity because it brought Him glory. God takes his worth seriously, He knows when we try to be fake with him. {note the word try} God detected that in the Israelites. (Ezekiel 20:30-32) I can't ever pull off serving two masters. It just doesn't work like that. I can choose to serve the world, or I can serve the Lord.

In the second half of the chapter, the "good" part, God rewards them because of His name. He has standards and rules; if you obey them, you will love and reap the benefits of blessing. If you disobey, you will feel God's wrath, as an Israelite that is. But now I have Jesus! The wrath removing sacrifice who "always lives to make intercession."[hebrews 7:24]

And I, I want to be real
there's to much at stake and I'm tired of faking
I just want to be real

With that said, yesterday was also amazing because we went sightseeing around the Flagstaff AZ area. Flagstaff in general is quite the quaint western town. By quaint, I mean slightly laid back while also maintaining  a modern edge. We first went to Sunset Crater Volcano, hiked up a mountain and stopped for lunch at the top. Pictures are fun, but unless you visit anywhere out west, the pictures don't give justice to the incredible beauty. After some hiking, we piled into the car for some driving. We drove to Wupatki National Monument, which was 20 miles away from Sunset Crater. At Wupatiki there are pueblo homes to observe and trails to walk down. Everyone kept saying how surreal everything was. For example, we were standing where history was made, where real Native Americans lived. All I wanted to do was sit in the silence and soak it in. The view was amazing, the history impacting, and the silence was moving. During all the appreciation that we were expressing, I kept thinking about Lewis and Clark, I mean have you seen the mountains?! They traveled over them, endured all sorts of weather, and all that for the sole purpose of exploring land. A new land, land that caused people to want to begin a new life. I also was reminded of the fact that winter was harsh for these people, and summer was brutal, how survival was what most of these people must have hoped for.

I leave thee with deep thoughts, and building anticipation for Christmas as the days slip by. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

texas was you

The whirlwinds swirled. The laundry room was constantly full of clothes. With everyday that lead up to December 13th, the stress level would rise one notch. Finally Tuesday, December 13th arrived. It was the longest and quickest day at the same time. Tuesday is always long because it begins at 5:45am; while it ended an hour before the regular time, it was stressful because as soon as the co-op attending part of the family returned home we all had to leave! Before I knew it we were all in the "big van" (as we call it, our 12 passenger van). There was no going back! Even if one of us had forgotten something--forget it--we'd cross that bridge when we realized what someone had forgotten ; )
The first destination was Trevor's basketball game, which, by the way, was amazing! It is always very entertaining, and well, we won, so that ended my day well and began my night with a fantastic hyper buzz. I was the first to drive, I only lasted about three hours because my eyes began to hurt really badly. Nothing to thrilling occurred between then and the next 15 hours so i'll summarize.

Dad and mom alternated driving, we stopped for breakfast, and slept (if it can be called that) in between everything else.

To some, the word Texas equates bitterness and quizzical expressions," Wait, what's in Texas?" While it is true that the land is quite flat, dry, and "boring", I find the state beautiful. Believe it or not, there is a difference between the sky and the Texas sky. Case in point? In Texas I could feel the sky, see for miles, and just think. Practically everywhere else, the population in is in a rush. Oh, no siree, not in Texas. When the world says run faster, take time to smell the roses.

How to survive in Texas :

Number 1: Don't mess with the wrong people.
Number 2: Mind your own business.
Number 3: Be Friendly.
Number 4: Keep your word. People around here still shake hands when making a promise, if you screw up, you're done for.
Number 5: Own multiple pairs of boots. (some for fashion statements, others for feeding the pigs : D )

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

there is a time

        "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Isn't that a strange concept? That there is a time for everything? Even in the small amount of years that I have lived on this planet, I have experienced many things. 
  • Death
  • Life/Birth
  • Weddings
  • Funerals
  • Joy
  • Deep sorrow
Yet, even through all of those earthly struggles, God provides me with his faithfulness and steadfast love. In the pleasant times in life, God can often be distant. Of course he is still a loving God, but he becomes a prized possession placed on a pedestal, only made "use" of when one is in desperate times. As a human, I am more dedicated to God when life is rough. God, however, is always steadfast, immovable. 

"Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up."

Giving with a thankful heart can be easy at times. It is hard to give over control, though. Sin dominates every area of life, therefore it is second nature. When God calls us to give up ourselves, and take upon us the cross daily, it can be is hard. Submission is frowned upon in a culture that abhors being dependent on anything or anyone. My relationship with Christ is completely different. I'm dependent on Him because he is my life line; He is the I.V. pumping life-giving fluids into me. Without him I would be desolate, forgotten by the world, and condemned to hell, I would face an eternity without him.

{Without Him, I would be without him.}

Recently, I've been doing a lot of emotional fall cleaning. I was under a lot of self imposed stress. College decisions were constantly on my mind, I couldn't think without dwelling on some aspect of the future. On Sunday, I was taking a math test and I couldn't remember a formula. That flicked the tip of my iceberg off. Everything downward spiraled from that point on. I began to cry, and cry, and cry. I used up plenty of tissue paper. (oops, I killed some trees) From the discussion with my parents, it was resolved that this is my first "big girl" decision. Basically, my parents will support me wherever I will be going to college. The wisdom my parents want to impart to me is this, think long term. I surely do not want to exit college with mounds and mounds of debt, it would be a step in the wrong direction after college, and would hinder me. I realized that I had been trying to hold the reigns of the horses of my life. ((which, by the way, is impossible)) God, and only God, is the one who knows all of my plans, dreams, and desires, even before I think them. How could I not trust him? It was a battle between emotions and being level headed. While I'm still figuring out where God would have me, the difference in me is I have an enormous amount of peace. I am trusting in him to sustain me, as he always does. I'm resting in his sovereignty.

After that emotional burden was lifted, I was able to babysit some kiddos that are very special to me. My weekend couldn't have began better :)