Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Job 38

***Warning: LONG POST...but there is some really "good stuff" at the end that you won't want to miss! *** :)

In a blog a couple days ago, I referenced my very favorite passage in Scripture, Job 38. Right out of high school, I had a couple of years where I really struggled with my faith- with whether I REALLY BELEIVED what my parents had taught me my whole life. Is there really a God, or did all of this just kinda evolve into what it is, like all my science teachers were saying at the time? I remember that as I allowed my first questioning of God to enter my mind, and be tossed around, I had a lot of anxiety. I knew that if I didn't come to some real, solid answers for myself, I might never have peace again.

Anyways, I had a lot of good people in my life who encouraged my questions, rather than just try to stuff them back. My mom, especially, understood me. She wasn't afraid of my doubting, and said that if I would really search for truth, I WOULD find it. I did lots of studying that year...of all kinds of beliefs, religions, and faiths. When I finally determined that yes, I did believe in the existence of god (as persuaded by the logic of C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity), I then had to decide if I believed that god was intrested in humanity, or ME, at all. When I dug deeper, I decided, yes---I believe this being is trying to reach us...as is evident by the fact that all civilizations that have ever lived have tried to have a relationship with a higher being, a god, in most cases. And when I determined that 1)There is a God and 2) He wants to know me...I came quickly to believe that the true God of the universe has probably already revealed himself to mankind, so I started studying all major world religions...Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity. Again, it was C.S. Lewis on the second go round that persuaded me that there are holes in all of the other religions of our world. They do not add up 100% of the time. And while believing that God became man, incarnate, and died on a tree to cure His creation of their sin is not the easiest thought...it cannot be disproved. I attended some really cool Christian conferences, one being Acquire the Fire with Josh McDowell, and was thoroughly convinced that night, for myself, that the likelihood of Jesus Christ fulfilling all of the prophecies He did, outside of being who He said He was- is simply impossible. And there---I HAD IT, my truth.

I believe that there is a wonderful God of this universe who has the greatest imagination and created everything. Period. And I believe He gives us a glimpse into JUST HOW MUCH HE KNOWS AND SEES in the fabulous 38th chapter of Job...(with my favorite bits highlighted!)

Job 38
The LORD Speaks
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?

3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.

5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?

6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-

7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?

8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,

9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,

10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,

11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt'?

12 "Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,

13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?

14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.

15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.

16 "Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?

18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.

19 "What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!

22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,

23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?

24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,

26 to water a land where no man lives,
a desert with no one in it,

27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?

28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?

29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?

31 "Can you bind the beautiful [c] Pleiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?

32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons [d]
or lead out the Bear [e] with its cubs?

33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God's [f] dominion over the earth?

34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?

35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?

36 Who endowed the heart [g] with wisdom
or gave understanding to the mind [h] ?

37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?

39 "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions

40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?

41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?

Job 39
1 "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

2 Do you count the months till they bear?
Do you know the time they give birth?

3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
their labor pains are ended.

4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
they leave and do not return.

5 "Who let the wild donkey go free?
Who untied his ropes?

6 I gave him the wasteland as his home,
the salt flats as his habitat.

7 He laughs at the commotion in the town;
he does not hear a driver's shout.

8 He ranges the hills for his pasture
and searches for any green thing.

9 "Will the wild ox consent to serve you?
Will he stay by your manger at night?

10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness?
Will he till the valleys behind you?

11 Will you rely on him for his great strength?
Will you leave your heavy work to him?

12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain
and gather it to your threshing floor?

13 "The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.

14 She lays her eggs on the ground
and lets them warm in the sand,

15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,
that some wild animal may trample them.

16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
she cares not that her labor was in vain,

17 for God did not endow her with wisdom
or give her a share of good sense.

18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
she laughs at horse and rider.

19 "Do you give the horse his strength
or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?

20 Do you make him leap like a locust,
striking terror with his proud snorting?

21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength,
and charges into the fray.

22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
he does not shy away from the sword.

23 The quiver rattles against his side,
along with the flashing spear and lance.

24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground;
he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, 'Aha!'
He catches the scent of battle from afar,
the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

26 "Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
and spread his wings toward the south?

27 Does the eagle soar at your command
and build his nest on high?

28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
a rocky crag is his stronghold.

29 From there he seeks out his food;
his eyes detect it from afar.

30 His young ones feast on blood,
and where the slain are, there is he."

...See what I mean? Doesn't that just make you want to PRAISE HIM??? Did you ever realize all of the little "moments" He experienced while creating everything---that He TOLD the waves of the seas how far they were allowed to come??? He saw all of the morning stars dance together and the angels singing for JOY as He started the whole process!!!He gives orders to the morning...He knows where darkness "resides"...and where hail and lightening are "stored"...This same God, who has the power to loose the cords of Orion still cares about watering lands where no one lives...feeding ravens and lions...and knows when every single mountain goat gives birth!!! And if this were all not enough---He even loves me...and you! How humbling. Next time you start doubting, or think about gettin up on a "high horse"...read Job 38. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Passenger Once Again

This little lady and I celebrated her 11 month birthday last week...and she
L-O-V-E-D her gift, graciously donated to us by my sweet friend, Beth...A FORWARD FACING CARSEAT!!! It had gotten to where car rides simply were not fun, actually dreaded, because this 24 pound little lady (who is, might I add, in the 97th percentile for height!!!) was not enjoying being cramped up and facing backwards ANY LONGER! This is what she looks like now- always smiling in her seat---and looking around like every new thing we pass is a special surprise just for her!!!!

Only one more month (actually less now!) 'til my baby girl turns 1. I cannot believe it. I can't even express in words how wonderful these last 11 months have been. Never in all my life have I experienced more JOY. I love you Jadybug!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Over!!!

As I lay down Friday night with a knot in my belly, knowing that in just a few short hours I'd be facing my goal, head on...I said to Rich, "In less than 12 hours, it will be OVER!" That thought was so good...and helped me slip off to sleep...
We spent the night at my Mom's so she could keep Shaelyn Jade that morning. I got up at 5 am with PLENTY OF TIME to get there...until I was about to put on the last part of my race "get-up", my tennis shoes...and realized I left them AT HOME...in SPRING HILL!!!! MY SHOES!!!!! Can't exactly race without them!!!!AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! All I can say is that my husband is SO patient with me and just assured me he'd get me there...and he did! Did I really expect to NOT forget something? Wouldn't me ME, would it???! :)...So anyways, as we SPED down I-65 Saturday morning, I said to Rich, again "In 4 hours, this will all be OVER!"...

All I can say now, as I sit here tonight with very sore legs is----IT'S OVER!!!!:) As much as I love to run, as exhilarating as the finish line is, as much as I am the one who gets myself into these races, I always hold on to the desire for it to JUST BE OVER....and it is! It was a wonderful race. I felt better at the end of it this one than the other two I have done...probably because I also had more prayers and more cheerleaders there this time than ever before! I had prayed that God would hold the clouds back (Job 38...my favorite passage in Scripture that reminds us of just WHO is in charge of everything!) during the race, and my prayer was answered. I ran in a perfect temperature with the most perfect breezes just when I needed them...and just as I crossed the finish line, literally, a refreshing sprinkle cooled me off...and soon turned to that storm we'd anticipated! God is so good. I had talked to Rich throughout the race, and I knew that I had some peeps at the finish line (that I couldn't get to quick enough)...but when I rounded that last bend and SAW the excitement on THEIR faces, I was so blessed and SO PUMPED, and almost cried! I was so excited to see my baby girl this time, my first race with a little one of my own there to cheer me on, and that was probably my favorite part. She was a little overwhelmed by the crowd, but as I passed by and our eyes met she was excited to see her mama, and I was so excited to see her! The whole day was just wonderful. Sore, but wonderful. :) It's those moments at the end of the race that you actually run for! All I can say is that if you have never ran in a race, you need to! Seriously. So many people say, "I hate to run" or "I can't run" or "I am not a good runner"...but if I can do it, you can do it! It is so rewarding to set a goal and accomplish it. Throughout the race, I was talking to Jesus and He was talking back to me. His precious Word resounded in my head and reminded me that I COULD DO THIS, even when my body was ready to quit.Some of my favorite snap shots of the day that I will hold in my memory and cherish forever...

My race number...

On your mark...Get set...GO!!!!!

It was so crazy that in a crowd of 32,000 runners, I actually found my good friend, Jon, and his brother, David, right at the starting line. So fun!!!

Let me just say that my friend, Teri (who was also celebrating her 30th birthday by accomplishing this major feat!) is hard core! Here we are, passing each other during the race...me at mile 5...her already at mile 8!!! She's the one waving big! Our sweet hubby's took the pic as they cheered us on...

Two other 1/2 marathoners that Rich was cheering for...Drason's 2nd race, Sonya's first...and they did awesome!

Here I stopped for a quick pic at about mile 8 with my biggest fan...it was his big smile that kept me going! He was posted at mile 5 and mile 8 and the finish line...and I could see how proud he was in his eyes! I love this guy more than I can say with words...and I am ALSO HIS biggest fan!!!

My fans...Teri hung around after she finished to cheer me on! She looks so good because she had been finished a good while when I got done! :)

Mom and my sweet girl, Bri

My two "sisters" Court and Tiff...and Brax who loved the whole thing!

Joey, Barron, and Shaelyn Jade...

This is me just as I am approaching the finish line and see my family and friends...this is where I almost cried!!!

My parents were so sweet to get Shaelyn Jade to the race for me...and are always there to cheer me on!

My favorite peeps. In all the world.

I want to thank you for your prayers. Thanks to all my friends who sent encouraging verses, texts, and emails. They really pushed me on!

Also want to say Happy 30th to Teri one more time...she helped me train for this race and is always such a sweet, encouraging friend to me, and I am so thankful for her! All these friends gathered together to celebrate her to end this marathon day...Love you Teri!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

"I'll say a little prayer for you..."

Remember a while back when I shared THIS crazy endeavor with you? Well...somewhere a couple months back, I decided that a good way to get me geared up for it, at least the running part, would be to also shoot for the Country Music 1/2 Marathon. But now, as I sit here on the eve of this part of my goal, I am wondering if I have actually lost my mind. RUN 13.1 (and don't you DARE forget that .1!!!) MILES??? TOMORROW??? For those of you who haven't seen this ole girl lately, I am not in the same running condition I was in when I first started running years ago. For sure. But alas, I will once again set an alarm clock for 5 am tomorrow, fill up on electrolytes and a banana with peanut butter (what I always have eaten before any run...maybe a goodluck charm?), and find myself stretching in front of Centennial Park by 7 am. I will have butterflies in my belly and I will be so far back in the corral that I probably won't actually start running til about 10 minutes after the initial gunshot...that is, when the winner of the race will already be rounding mile 3 of the course. Unbelievable the condition that our bodies CAN be trained to be in! And I will, no doubt, be hurting pretty bad by mile 2...and probably question whether or not I will be able to finish. I will be running alone, which I actually love best...and the 50,000 other people around me will actually become background noise as I pass mile 6..7..8..and start hurting a little bit. Mile 9 is hardest in a 1/2 marathon, for me...and I will probably try to talk myself into walking at this point. I can be pretty persuasive :) actually, so if you are posted at mile 9, you may see me walking (with a limp...ha!). But as I get to mile 10 I will know the end is in sight...and as the course splits at mile 11 from the marathoners, I will just be thankful that, this time at least, I will not be running 15.2 more miles. Around mile 12 you can start hearing cheers for finishers... and then that last mile is exhilerating!!! My body will be so tired, but adrenaline goes a long way! So, as I have sat here talking to my Father (not Monty) this morning, I have asked that He would give me endurance and determination tomorrow...and safety. I am so thankful that I have two legs that WILL carry me on that road tomorrow, two lungs that will provide my cells with oxygen, and a strong heart that will pump that blood where it needs to go! Everytime I starting training heavily, and get back into the "swing" of long distance runs, I find myself in awe of God's intricate attention to detail in our bodies. They are machines that, taken care of, can do GREAT things. Even run...and run...and run!

So tomorrow, as you get out of bed, I will probably be about 1/2 way finished. Would you "say a little prayer" for me?? (...Love that song, especially on My Best Friend's Wedding! :)) I will be depending on those prayers...

...and these three other essentials to cross that finish line!

...Come on out and cheer...or check back later for race pics! It's gonna be a blast...rain or shine!

Monday, April 19, 2010


We were so honored that my littlest youngest brother, Taylor, wanted to share his big day with us yesterday...and we wouldn't have missed it for the world. We joined he and his sweet girlfriend, Lanie...

... and my Dad for dinner last night at Wild Ginger (and ice cream afterward of course!)And only at Wild Ginger does your "...and could I get a small plate of fruit for my child?" request look like this...

...fabulous! :)

And to honor Taylor (who will always be "Tay Tay" to me), 19 things I love about him!
1. He is not judgmental.
2. He is a loyal friend.
3. He has his own style...and isn't afraid to be different.
4. He is comfortable in his own skin.
5. He loves Dave Matthews!
6. He is a great athlete, but a better musician.
7. He is super smart!
8. He loves spending time with his family.
9. He has a great sense of humor.
10.He is a deep thinker.
11.He loves Harry Potter.
12.His favorite restaurant is Royal Thai.
13.What you see is what you get with Tay.
14.He loves kids.
15.He reads a lot.
16.For Spring Break, he hiked the Appalachian Trail...how cool is that???
17.He loves his only sister...and is so sweet to me.
18.I love how close he and Rich have always been.
19.And I LOVE that I have a baby, now, that will love him, too!

Happy Birthday, Tay Tay--- I am SO proud of the man you have become. You ROCK!


Thought this was a good sequence to show of our sweet Hosanna...

She just thought she'd try to get these birds to land on her arm...

...then he started looking her over real good...

...then he started getting a little more familiar with her...

...and then he and his friend got REAL familiar with her! We laughed and laughed as they pecked away at her head! :)

We love you Hosanna...you always make us smile!

Animal Crazy and Crazy Animals

While Rich's family was here, it was only appropriate that Grampy took Shaelyn Jade for her first trip to the zoo. She LOVES any and all animals and literally cannot concentrate AT ALL if any animal is nearby. So we were excited to see how she'd respond to animals everywhere, and she loved it!

One thing that you can't help but think about on a day at the zoo is the beauty and diversity of God's magnificent creation. From the stripes of the zebras to the size of the elephants to the brilliance of the birds...

...I was reminded of how concerned God is for all of His creation, and humbled that He even remembers ME.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
~ Matthew 6:26

Our favorite visitors...

We are still trying not to be too sad that our favorite out-of-towners are gone again...Rich's parents and his sister, Hosanna, and niece, Emily, came from San Francisco and spent a few days with us...and it was so fun! We always cherish our time with them, since we don't get too much...and I know Shaelyn Jade got to know them a little better this time!

She thinks her Grampy is funny...and we think she has his love of animals already!

Hosanna and Em were so good with Jade and she LOVED being with them. She kept her eye on everything they were doing all the time!

I had to include this picture of my mother-in-law because it really is a perfect picture of her. She loves to relax on vacation and just enjoy each other's company...and we always do! She reminds me of my Grandma Barb (who was a true angel!)because she has the sweetest nature about her and always puts me at ease. I love every minute of my visits with her...and miss you already, Mum! :) Come back soon!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Yesterday was the day.
The day our family has been waiting on for a LONG time.
15 months to be exact.
Yesterday, Court and Joe finally got the call from their adoption agency.
Their referral.
A BEAUTIFUL...PERFECT...PRECIOUS 7 month old baby girl.
She has a face now. All those months of waiting I had a little picture in my head.
Now I don't even remember what that face looked like.
Because now I KNOW what our Bristol looks like.
Did I say PERFECT? Big, beautiful, brown eyes staring back at us.
From each of our refrigerators.
I have kissed it like 10 times today.
And kept showing Shaelyn Jade so she starts to know that sweet face, too.
They will be such sweet friends...only a few months apart!
There are no words for how happy I was when Courtney called me.
I cried. Of course, right?
I have longed for her, for Courtney. I know it has been so long for her especially.
I saw her last night, and finally there was a PEACE on her face.
She saw her baby girl for the first time yesterday.
She is so real now. She has a face. And a name.
Bristol is finally coming home.
Cannot wait to kiss her for real.
Pray for her.
Pray for her mama (and Daddy!).
She is so loved...wherever she is tonight!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Today's Top 10

10 new kinds of plants to go in our yard

9 (thousand) “I have to go to the bathroom!”s at Home Depot

8 hard working hands

7 long hours

$6 hired help

5 new stuffed animals bought at our neighbor’s yardsale by said hired help

4 much needed tools for the job

3 new plates on our table at lunch

2 smiling faces and very tired bodies

1 BLESSED day (and happy heart!)

Thanks, Mom (and Briley and Brax!), for bringing SPRING to my yard today...it's beautiful, thanks to YOU! I love you!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


As we awoke this morning to another Resurrection Sunday, or Easter, our house was filled with the same song that every Easter morning of my life has been filled with...

He's in the world today,
I know that He is with me,
Whatever men may say.
I feel His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
and just the time I need Him
He's always near.

Christ Jesus lives today,
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
Salvation to impart,
You ask me how I know He lives?
He LIVES within my heart!

...I wouldn't know what else to sing on Easter morning! :) I am so thankful that although we also enjoyed the very fun and commercial side of Easter...

(Thank you Robin for this DELICIOUS Bunny Cake!!!)

...with fabulous baskets (always hidden in obvious places!), and Peter Cottontail, and painted eggs... my parents focused our Easters on the true meaning, the JOY that is ours because of the fact that HE LIVES! ...and my Dad always SANG about it on Easter morning. Even as I grew into my teenage years, where Dad's morning songs were not the coolest, I still secretly appreciated his ability to always have a song in his heart and to worship from his heart even while doing routine mornings around our house. I have the image of my Dad singing fixed in my mind's eye. It was a part of his day to sing praises, and I will do my best to follow in his footsteps. I hope my children have a memory of their crazy Mom and Dad SINGING to Jesus and praising His precious name, because He became sin, for me. He endured torture and shame, for me. He died on a cross for me. But all of this would have been for naught, except for this part:

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is RISEN!"
~Luke 24:5-6

...THE event that changed all of humanity after it. He AROSE from the dead, FOR ME!!!!

Thank you, precious Savior, for loving me, in spite of my sin, and for taking my place, on the cross. Thank you for the hope that you give us because of your resurrection. I pray that you would help me to live all of my moments, in light of that moment in time.

...and in closing, a few pics of how we spent our first Easter with our baby girl...