Thursday, December 22, 2011

These past few days have been very precious to me. I feel like God is doing something in my heart and life, and I'm not exactly sure WHAT.... where it's all headed. As I was talking to my friend Danelle a few days ago and she was describing happenings in her life I said "It seems as if God's playing Connect The Dots in your life and you sense it happening but don't quite see the whole picture He's drawing." (I know, isn't it tacky that I just quoted myself? On my own blog?) ...But, it's what's happening.
I feel like God is desiring to do a great work in our country--perhaps even the entire world-- and that I must somehow prepare my heart to join Him in some small corner, some tiny, personal part of that work. He said that if HIS PEOPLE (not the unbelievers but HIS people) would humble themselves, pray, and seek His face, and repent, He would move. Since there's nothing particularly special about ME, I think that maybe God is doing the same work in the hearts of believers all over the world. I think maybe He's beginning a work of great grace: to stir us to long for revival.

I'm going to share with you some of the dots I believe God is connecting. Who knows; maybe the big picture will emerge sooner rather than later! (Heh! Doubtful though.) :)

First of all: I have been reading a book called My Heart In His Hands, the biography of Ann Judson of Burma. Not going to write a book report about it now, but I will say this: it's a fantastic, challenging, extra-ordinary biography. As I was reading it one morning, I was actually stirred to tears; tears of longing. I want to be used of God like she was. To the best of my shamming mind's ability to feel this way, I don't think I care if it's a remote, inglorious, and even terribly hard field as long as I sense that God is using me as His servant to fulfill His purposes and spread His glory. I guess the reason I was filled with longing to the point of tears is because I realize in reading Ann Judson's biography that in order to be used as Ann was I must walk in the fellowship with God that Ann did. And I am far, far from that. I long to be there, but there is so much distracting me and I want to somehow learn how to extricate myself from the world. Things that are very commonplace in my life are things that Ann did without (internet, movies, TV, etc.) and I sense that I must drastically reduce the input of these things and drastically increase the input of what she spent her time on: the Word of God and prayer. Normally I try not to be too personal on here, and I hesitate to reveal these inner workings of my heart so publicly, but I'm writing this here on my blog partly to encourage my brothers and sisters to do the same, and partly to set forced accountability. I've typed it for you to see, now, and I encourage my friends or family to ask me upon seeing me if I actually DOING what I've written here. Please; love me enough to challenge me.

So that was one of the first "dots"-- a desire for something greater. Greater dedication of myself for God's purposes and God's work, and a greater sanctification of myself in holiness for preparation to that work.

The second "dot"-- a trip to Pennsylvania with dear friends. What a fantastic few days it was. These are some of my dearest sisters in Christ and I see them too rarely. These are people I look up to and admire as those I know who are walking in close fellowship with Jesus. We talk, literally, for hours about nothing but God and what He's doing in our lives. And it's lively, exciting, animating, stirring discussion. Whew!!!!!!! :) In the course of our conversation we began to discuss a book called "Red Moon Rising." I haven't read it yet but am about to, now. it's about prayer movements that are springing up across the world. Prayer ALWAYS, ALWAYS seems to proceed revival. And it looks like God is beginning to move His people to prayer. I got goose-bumps (or "goose-pimples," or whatever you call them, though I think "goose-bump" is a much more palatable term) when we were talking about these prayer rooms that are popping up around the country. And my friend Esther and her husband William are involved in one in their own city!! They are seeing God move in beautiful, amazing and unprecedented ways in the hearts of people in their region and they believe that it is in DIRECT result of prayer! Churches of completely different theological persuasions are coming together to agree in prayer. Unbelievers are hungry and open. God's doing amazing "coincidence" type of miracles to bring people closer to Him. I got to visit the prayer fascility, called a "CPR" or "Community Prayer Room" and was blown away by it. An entire place, dedicated to nothing but interceding for God's will to be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. (Goose-bumps, anyone!?)

The next "dot" is that I am in Chicago right now. Visited with my dear friend (and now a wife and soon-to-be-mamma!) Kendalyn and am staying at Jane Hawthorn's home with The Grens. (She is the younger sister of Jim Elliot; a dear, dear woman!) It's been so special to be back with Elisabeth, and Lars too. I missed them a lot; especially caring for Elisabeth. The reason I mention it though is that Jane recommended that we visit the Wheaton Archives and Billy Graham Museum at Wheaton College which is literally just down the street. My mom and I went first (she spent the first coupled days in Chicago and we had a beautiful time! Which I'll describe later in a 'nuther post!) Then the next day, Lars, Elisabeth and I went. I was glad to have a look at the museum twice because it hugely, HUGELY stirred my heart. The Billy Graham Museum was never anything I particularly wanted to visit, but I was SO glad I did. The emphasis of it was on revival. (Just me or is that word seeming to pop up a lot?) And, of course, they mentioned that the key to revival was prayer. It would take many more paragraphs to explain the further workings of my heart from this trip to Chicago. So I won't bother because this post is already interminably long.

Is God stirring your heart in any ways? If he is, I encourage you to take time to respond to Him. ask Him to further reveal what He wants to do IN you and THROUGH you. I think we are all just one tiny piece of the puzzle.... one tiny dot among the millions He is connecting, and if we His people will readily say "here am I, send me," He will take us up on it. He will move us. Maybe not to the ends of the earth, but perhaps across the street or to our own family or in some way, to have an impact on OUR sphere of influence. But first of all, I think He wants to move us to pray. And that's the hardest move of all, I think.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just decorated my Grandpa's side of the house for Christmas, and am sitting with him watching White Christmas. He interrupts the show with his silly comments or random stories. (One such comment just popped out a second ago when a very lithe, very young Betty Haynes comes out in her dazzlingly white outfit for one of the shows. "Why, she looks just like my mother." Then he smirks, (his mother never looked like that) and looks at me for my response.
I love this...
Our Christmas tradition. :)

I want to learn to better cherish moments with those around me. To live fully in those moments; to delight in the sweetness of relationships and the joy of being with people I love with all my heart... and even--dare I say--their quirks. I've been praying recently that God will fill my heart with greater love for people. Great Source of Love, infuse me with it!

Dickens on Christmas:

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on their journeys."

-CHARLES DICKENS, A Christmas Carol

Friday, December 02, 2011

My Life Goal

I was reading in one of my favorite little books today, "My Utmost For His Highest". It is a compilation of sermon excerpts from Oswald Chambers. Sounds dreadfully dull but it's actually incredibly heart stimulating and mind exercising. I read this, and was stirred!
"I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness for God."
Yes, yes, YES! I am leading a young girl's discipleship group called "Bright Lights" right now, and I can't even tell you how much I enjoy each of my little 14 girlies! I keep on praying, fervently, that they would love me-- but NOT for my own sake: it's because I want to point them to Jesus. I think back on the people in my life who I've greatly admired, and was drawn through them to the Christ they were consumed by. I want to be that to my Bright Lights girls. I was talking with a friend the other day who mentioned that we are to be like the moon: just a dull piece of dust-covered rock, in and of itself... but because it simply reflects the sun's brilliance, it is luminous and breathtakingly beautiful. May God take this dull piece of flesh which is me, and make it breathtakingly beautiful by the radiance of HIS presence. I LONG for my life to be this (I know I've quoted it here before but here it is again!):

"Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me."
And if by my life I cannot accomplish it, let me do it by death!
God alone sees that these aren't just words. By His grace, this is my heart-cry.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

I am a huge fan of warm fuzzies. Warm fuzzy sweaters (I'm wearing one now!), warm fuzzy blankets, warm fuzzy cups of hot chocolate (okay minus the fuzz)... I love it all and Christmas is the ultimate Warm Fuzzy Inducer. This was evidenced by the beautiful, jingly, wonderful candlelight evening downtown a few weeks ago!*

W-worth usually holds a candlelight walk, I think, but I'd never gone to it. Actually, I'd envisioned it as being a bunch of cold people in winter coats solemnly carrying candles down the Main St. sidewalk in silent procession. I'm weird, I know. But that little mental picture I'd drawn was certainly enough to curb my interest.

Long-story-short, they gave the candlelight walk the wrong name.
It was the Quintessential Christmas Experience. Even the real Old St. Nicholas, horrified as he may be at what Christmas has become in our day and age, couldn't help but break a smile if he'd have walked downtown that night.

Mom and I were greeted by the strains of Sinatra and his fellow crooners singing the old wonderful carols as we stepped into the festively lit square. W-worth has a quaint, beautiful little square normally, but at Christmastime it's transformed into something extra special. The lampposts are strung with garland and lights; the gazebo is decked, and next to it a huge Christmas tree graces the square. Shopkeepers try to outdo each other in their lights and decorations. The pastry shop has an intricate little train set running... it's beautiful and I can't help but smile every time I drive through town at night! But the Candlelight Walk night was even more spectacular. Even before you saw the beautiful horse drawn carriages giving people rides through the streets, you could hear the full, merry jingle of the sleigh bells attached to the horses' harness.

Stores were packed with people ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the Christmas merchandise proudly displayed' folks who evidently enjoyed displaying their own Christmas spirit with holiday shirts, crazy hats, and--in a few cases--full blown Dickens regalia! The jewelry store had a little kiosk in front of it with a woman ladling out steaming cups of hot chocolate. A number of shops had cookie trays and snacks in the back, and the antique shop beat all... with a live display of a huge jack-in-the-box, wound every minute or so by a woman we thought was a mannequin until she suddenly moved... and then out popped a real human jack-in-the-box!

As if it weren't all almost too good to be true, as mom and I passed the barber shop and glanced in the window we saw this: Yep! A real barbershop quartet right there in the shop, with their darling little outfits and appropriately gregarious personalities to match! (And, like all good barbershop quartets they had one rather tall and one rather short fellow.) With the sight of that, my warm fuzzy-odometer simply maxed out and mom and I agreed to run home as fast as we could--we live about 5 minutes from the square, but the event was closing within 15 minutes!)--and grab our cameras! (Heretofore we'd been moaning and groaning that we were crazy for not having brought our cameras... but really all I was expecting was a bunch of cold zombies walking around dark sidewalks with candles and I didn't think that would be much to take snapshots and blog about.)

So mom and I rushed home and while I grabbed the camera she made a quick cup of hot chocolate for dad, who was one of the police officers patrolling the event. We brought it to him and took a few pictures with him. He is a very good sport because police officers aren't normally supposed to have photo shoots with their daughters in the back of the police cruiser while they're on duty. Kinda' ruins their "tough cop" persona, if anyone's watching.

We got back in just enough time to snap a few pictures of the barbershop quartet before they finished for the evening...

Then--lo and behold!--the kind horse people let mom and I take a last ride in their carriage before they packed up for the night. It was very, very fun and even a bit rotic (i.e. "romantic" without the "man").
We snapped a few more shots around town:

A few last folks in the sandwich shop before closing time,

Storekeepers pausing to wave to us as they closed up shop for the night,
So doesn't this look like some sort of Kinkade painting? :) All it needs is a little old man smoking a pipe sitting on the bench out front, with a dog at his side.
And AHA! THIS is the reason it's called a "candlelight walk!"

Well, in all it was a completely unexpected evening full of joy and Christmas spirit. Mom and I couldn't stop exclaiming about it the entire way home! Thank you, W-worth, for a wonderful, beautiful start to the Christmas season. Thank you for keeping it "Christmas" and for embracing the joy this season brings without all the political correctness that is erroding at the birthday celebration of my King. I'm grateful and I will definitely be back for the candlelight walk next year if I'm around!

...Now if we could just think of a better name for it...!?

*(Yes, this was a few weeks ago meaning they were celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving had occurred. This is usually an unpardonable sin in my estimation, but since it created such vast amounts of warm fuzzy feelings in my heart, I'll pardon the grievous misdeed.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

I just want to go on record and say that it's AWESOME, what restaurants like Applebees and Olive Garden do for Veterans on this day! It absolutely thrills me that they do something like this regardless of what sort of money they may lose on it. Patriotism, honor and gratitude are alive! Applebees actually gave out free meals to Vets and I think several other restaurants were doing the same.

So, I had a date with Gramps (who was a tank operator in the South Pacific during WWII) and his friend Ed. Two rather handsome Marines; I felt pretty lucky, I must say... (wink!) The place was crowded but everyone standing in line was happy and seemed to want to talk about their war experiences or the lives of other veterans who were special to them. Marines would walk by our table and salute my Grandpa and Ed who would reply with a quick "Semper Fi!" Folks thanked them for their service, and a woman walked up to Grandpa and hugged him. He was beaming!

The entire drive home, Grandpa talked about his experiences in the war: cutting his knee open on a boat and being stitched up without any pain blocker, the natives he met on the South Pacific Islands, and the funny experiences he had like bathing in rivers and trying to hide from local women who came down to wash their clothes on Guam.

I will never grow tired of hearing his stories. I feel infinitely, infinitely blessed to be the granddaughter of a hero, and to still be able to hear him telling me his stories.

Semper Fi, Gramps. I love you.

Below: Grandpa got a little pin that said "Thank You" with his menu and I ceremoniously pinned it on. :) =

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I can't believe that ...I've joined Facebook.
What a blessing and a curse such things are.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Oh, Victorious Warrior, come and fight!
The enemy is here, and he is cunning-
The world's glint entices; it is stunning.

Oh, Great Protector, full of might!
Come bolster up my spirit; it is fainting-
Make my heart steadfast as it is waiting.

Oh, Lover Divine, come now and ravish!
Seep into each crevice of my being-
Set my soul afire, my spirit singing.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Guilt or Motivation?

We were sitting in our Wednesday evening ladies Bible study. A bunch of ladies were there; some who have little knowledge about God and others who have known God for a long time. Since our Pastor's wife was out of town, Jan--our "baby Christian"--had volunteered to lead it. I was so proud of her! Jan hasn't been a Christian for very long, but her faith is so alive; her heart is so pure and her excitement is contagious. Most of the ladies in the room, in fact, were women that she works with. She invited them to church and they came, drawn by the light and joy they see in Jan. Many of them are dealing with the same issues that Jesus delivered Jan out of not too many months ago. I think they find hope when they see the difference in her life. We sang some songs together and then Jan began to ask for prayer requests. After each lady shared, either Jan or I would lead out in prayer about the needs they had expressed.

One troubled woman shared (at deep length) about the struggles in her life. Jan listened sympathetically and then said, "We're going to pray for you." The woman agreed, but pointed to me:
"I want her to pray. I like the way she prays."

Woah. I cringed.

It was a horribly awkward moment.

What on earth do you say at a moment like that? "Why, thank-you... I'm glad I impressed you"? Or maybe "'s the better pray-er"?


Surely she didn't mean it to hurt Jan or to embarrass me, but it's amazing how quickly the devil jumps into a situation like that to completely take advantage of it. Immediately I felt condemnation sweep over me like a tidal wave. I truly didn't think I'd been trying to impress anyone with my prayers. I hadn't wanted anyone's praise or notice for it. If anything, all I wanted was to somehow make God's presence feel real through my prayers and show these women that He really was listening to us and caring about our needs. But the fact is, when the comment was made, I was hugely aware of the deficit in my life: I do NOT pray the way I should. I do not pray as often as I should. And for a long time God's been convicting my heart about that fact and I haven't done much of anything about it. My thoughts went wild:
"YOU HYPOCRITE! Here you are with these flowery prayers that impress people in public, and here God can't even get you on your knees in private. You're disgusting. God must be shaking His head at you right now. What a fake. Oh, you can sound good in front of other people but in private you're nothing."

Fast-forward a week.

I was picking Jan up from work and bringing her back to Bible Study the next Wednesday and we started to talk about--of all things--prayer. (I had just been listening to this message by Paul Washer and was really rocked by it so I was telling her about it.) "You know Dani," Jan began, "I have been asking God to teach me how to pray. I was really affected by what happened the other night....when _____ asked you to pray because your prayers are so much better than mine. She's right; your prayers ARE a lot better than mine. And I'm just so ashamed; I'm almost embarrassed to pray at all now. So....I've just been asking God to teach me how to pray. I want to learn, really. I just can't do it as well as you do."

In a flash it hit me. Good grief! Here we were at a Prayer Group, of all places. An insensitive comment was made. And suddenly the devil was ready and waiting to jump on ME with guilt for being a "hypocrite" and JAN with shame for being "ignorant." And the worst part worked. (For a whole week, that is, until Jan and I communicated honestly with each other about what we were feeling.)

I was reminded again that we can have a choice of two ways we can respond to many situations in our lives: guilt, or motivation. When the incident happened I chose to wallow in a little guilt:
What a hypocrite Dani is.
White-washed little sepulcher.
Instead I should have embraced it as a reminder to keep striving in my PRIVATE prayer times and pray just as fervently then as I do when others are around and I'm being heard.

Jan, too, was struggling with guilt:
What primitive sounding prayers.
Who wants to listen to that anyhow? Not God and certainly nobody else.
And though luckily, she was doing something productive with her guilt (allowing it to motivate her and praying that He'd TEACH her how to pray,) she was still letting that guilt beat her down and make her feel ugly.

That is SO NOT God's plan for our lives!
Why on earth do we wallow in the pit of self condemnation and despair when God reveals something in our lives that He wants us to work on? Do we forget that it's only those He LOVES that He corrects (Heb. 12:6)? Or that the righteous person can fall seven times but keep on getting back up again (Prov. 24:16)? Or that, thought Satan stands before God constantly accusing us, Jesus stands before God day and night defending us (Revelations 12:10 & Romans 8:24)?

I feel like I received a definite wake-up call that day as Jan and I were talking. I could see so clearly the deceptive, wily plans of Satan to sneak into a vulnerable situation and twist it for our harm, and it angered me. It made me desire more than ever to PRAY. Not to worry overmuch about motives or how I sounded to God or anything else but just to make the effort to PRAY.

I'm helpless to describe it in any sort of eloquence or to make this post more interesting, but I felt a compulsion to write it down with the desire that it would encourage and motivate someone. I may not be able to fervently pray on my face before God for hours at a time like certain people I hear about. But even if I just set aside a few more minutes each day and make the conscious effort to draw near to God, I know my overtures will NOT be rejected and he WILL draw near to me. Already I've sensed it this week: I received an incredibly miraculous answer to prayer (another post for another time) and, more beautifully, felt God's joy and fellowship and CLOSENESS with me in a way this week that I haven't felt in a long time.

Guilt would have made that impossible. It would have continued to push me away. Motivation, though, brought me back. So I'm trying. I'm praying more. Enough? No, probably not. But MORE. And just like anything else it's going to get easier with practice. Just like any other relationship it's going to take work. But I am just NOT WILLING to live my life on earth without the closest possible fellowship I can enjoy with God. It's not worth it. He's the whole reason I exist. I don't want to try to exist without Him.

So the moral of the post for you?
I don't know.
Pray about it. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

"My Prayer" by Amy Carmichael

And shall I pray Thee change Thy will my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But no, Lord, no, that shall never be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.

I pray Thee hush the hurrying eager longing
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire.
See in my quiet places wishes thronging,
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.

And work in me to will and do Thy pleasure.
Let all within me, peaceful, reconciled,
Tarry content my Wellbeloved’s leisure,
At last, at last, even as a weaned child.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A New Song

I wrote a new song a couple days ago and was messing around with it in Garage Band (I so wish I knew how to better use that program! The quality of this recording it terrible!)

I just wanted to thank Jesus for all the things He is to me. Hope if you listen, it will help you do the same. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Car Got A Tattoo!

I gave Betty a little extra style today. Isn't she funky!?
She was afraid it would hurt but I told her all she'd feel was a little pressure.

Friday, October 07, 2011

An addendum to the last post

You know my two favorite stars? The ones whose names I never forget and I saw them in the constalation Orion?

Not so much.

Reading in my (aptly named) "Astronomy For Dummies" book today, I realized that when I thought I was looking at Sirius I was actually looking at Rigel.
Now Rigel is a REALLY cool name for a star too.
But... serious?
It wasn't Sirius!!

And here I was so impressed with my stellar skills. Epic fail.

*Sigh!* I still have a lot to learn....

Sunday, October 02, 2011

You just gotta know my Gramps...

Just a few hours ago, I was on the beach in Naples, Florida. With my toes dug into the cool sand, I watched as the last orange, searingly brilliant sliver of sun melted into the sea.

Breathtaking. There's not much that makes me worship quite like a sunset in Florida.

After the show, I trudged up the soft sands to where my Grandpa Oriti sat on a bench. The breeze was constant but gentle, and the palm trees were now silhouetted black against the tangerine sky. I sat next to Grandpa and we were quiet for a while. Then he inched his arm gently around my shoulders and broke the silence.

"You know what, Dani?"
"What, Gramps?"
"I think I could sit here with you for....

....for another three minutes or so."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


More than ten years ago, Pastor Dennis McCoy began a beautiful ministry at our church; a bus ministry for inner city kids in Barberton. Among the children who faithfully hopped on the bus each Sunday morning was Michael--a skinny, quiet, earnest little fellow whose reverence in church never seemed to match his family situation. We didn't know much about that situation, other than that his father was an alcoholic, not frequently in the home... his mother was an alcoholic too, and--we later learned--a drug addict. Time passed, and a lot of changes occured in our church, including a new pastor. Michael grew, vertically in particular. Taller and skinnier, he still faithfully traipsed to church each Sunday and, on the verge of teenage years now, his interest in God began to grow. It began to change him from a child to a young man. Already prematurely "adult" because of the man he had to be in the home (his father in-and-out of prison, sometimes abusive, now living with another woman), his mature leadership in his home began to draw his mother to church more frequently. Oh, she used to appear for Christmas pageants or special events, but now she began attending regularly.

And one day, Jesus found her, huddling miserably at the bottom of the pit she had dug herself into. He reached down, grabbed her outstretched hands, and pulled her out of the drug addiction, out of the alcoholism, out of the hopelessness. Jan's entire countenance changed! Her face was radiant. Her spirit was ALIVE. Her heart was set free and she wanted to tell the world about it...and she did! Co-workers, family members, random strangers.... and Michael's dad.

But Michael's dad, Mike, was still in prison; literally and figuratively. He had told Jan that he wasn't going to make a choice to follow God unless he was willing to give himself completely to that decision. As it was, the chains still bound him in a vicious cycle of homelessness, abusive habits, alcoholism, and prison. One day, back in prison, he asked for a Bible. And he began to read it. Longing filled his heart and he realized that he, too, had had enough. He surrendered. And suddenly, still in prison, his heart was set free! When he was released, we were amazed by the change in him. His face was radiant; his manner was kind and humble. Mike's desire was to repair the relationship with Jan and become the father he'd never been to Michael. He, too, began to tell the world about what had happened to him. Parol officers, family, and old friends. He can sometimes be found quietly weeding the church grounds or manicuring the flower beds without telling a soul what he's doing. He's been given so much by God, and he's looking for ways to give back.

Soon his nephew, Bobby, saw the change in his uncle. He couldn't believe that the angry, fighting, drunken man he had once known was this gentle, kind, joyful stranger. Bobby realized that something was missing from his own life. He realized that the drugs and alcohol had stripped him from everything that was once important to him, and he couldn't save himself from it no matter how hard he tried. He began to attend church with his uncle. And a few months ago, he too prayed for salvation from his chains. He's begun bringing his family members to church, and his daughter in particular-aware of the change in her dad- is eager to know more about God.

A couple weeks ago, we held a baptism in a public park. Curious onlookers watched and a few unconcerned ducks and geese floated past as a family (finally a family!)-- mother, father, and son-- entered the water. In this public setting for all the world to see, they symbolically left their old life at the murky bottom of the lake, and rose with shouts of victory and hands upraised in glorious praise to the Savior Who had delivered them from the depths of sin!

A quiet, skinny kid had led them to this place... and the faithfulness of numerous believers had facilitated it. Pastor McCoy had planted, countless faithful believers had watered, and here we were seeing the fruit. And already, that fruit is bearing more fruit. Those of you who had a part in this beautiful day, rejoice to see the pictures below!!!

Last Sunday in church, Jan stood up front and sang with tears in her eyes,

"My chains are gone... I've been set free...My God, my Savior, has ransomed me! And like a flood His mercy reigns... unending love; amazing grace."

I wish you could have seen her.
She was radiant.

These are the things our Great God offers to us!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lover of All, I hold me fast by Thee,
Ruler of time, King of Eternity
There is no great with Thee, there is no small,
For Thou art all, and fillest all in all.

The newborn world swings forth at Thy command,
The falling dewdrop falls into Thy hand.
God of the firmament's mysterious powers
I see Thee thread the minutes of my hours.
-Amy Carmichael

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gold, Moose, and Sad Farewells :(

(So actually we left Alaska over a week ago. But I haven't posted since so this is the "official" au revoir!)

A beautiful shot of Nome from the beach

Nathaniel hasn't gotten a moose yet, but God provided in other ways. Some good friends offered a hindquarter of their moose. So we drove out to their house and began butchering. It took an entire evening to get the hidquarter (roughly 70-80 lbs. of meat) butchered and packed--some into mooseburger and some in roasts. But we had fun doing it and are so thankful for God's provision to get the Hobbs through another winter!

This hindquarter is HUGE. It's hard to tell in the picture.
It was a beautiful evening so we were grateful for the chance to cut the meat outside.

It's a family affair! Even the kids pitch in as busy little butcherers :)

Leg, anyone?
(Okay so I'm being oober dramatic here, but it really was very heavy.)

The family who gave us the moose enjoys recreational gold prospecting. After we cut up the meat they showed us how they do it. So fascinating! And SO much work for such a tiny amount of gold...
The gold flakes in the larger bottle are what they collected from the year of prospecting.
The nugget was mined by a professional miner.
Pretty cool!

Here's a picture of the "real" miners out on their gold dredges on the Bering Sea. They pepper the sea every day that it's calm until winter sets in. It's intense work, too... one man is underneath in the frigid water, sucking up the sea floor through a huge hose, while another man on the dredge monitors the flow and makes sure that the guy below isn't having any trouble. They still find a huge amount of gold on the sea floor. All this work for riches that will one day melt away. How much harder should I work to secure the riches that are eternal--more precious than gold--laid up in heaven!?

It was so tough to say goodbye to my dear friends James and Amy and their little boys Justice and Archer. They're leaving Nome and settling in a part of Alaska on the road system where James can more easily pursue his art career.
He's an INCREDIBLE artist.
(Click here to see a slideshow on their blog of a mural he just completed in a village school)
...And I pray God will bless them on this new adventure. I'm super excited to see how He's going to lead them! but it sure won't seem like Nome without them there!! I'll miss popping over and chatting with Amy over some random craft or project she's working on. *sigh!*

A final early morning picture right before mom and I left --all of us (even Nathaniel) in our kuspuks.
Oops the boys are in jammies, but Mimi is making them kuspuks so maybe next year they'll be dressed up too. :)

But wait... why on earth is THIS GIRL sporting a kuspuk!!??
Alas, she is abandoning me tomorrow and flying to...of all places...Nome Alaska.
Look out, Nome, she's takin' you by storm! :)

RuthAnn, RuthAnn..... how could you leave me!?

Okay. In all truth I am SO, so so happy for RuthAnn. She's going to be working with native children and families through the Nome Community Center (where I used to work but a diff. job). This is a dream come true and an answer to a boatload of prayers. God bless you my sweet friend, and may your wildest dreams come true in Alaska! :) I would never in a million years keep you here, but I will miss you terribly.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Auntie Time

Mom and Carlee have been trying to get some sewing done while we're in town, and I took the kiddos to the beach for lunch yesterday so we'd be out of the way. Now, I know you don't usually associate a picnic on the beach with winter coats and hats, but hey in Nome you strike while the sun's shining so we bundled up and headed out! The kids seem to be strangely immune to the frigid water and plowed through the shallows finding all sorts of treasures... little harmless jellyfish, tiny krill, a hermit crab, and countless starfish; yellow, purple and orange.
A starfish nursery :)
Shaina's baby starfish

On the Nome beach there are almost no shells, but there are colorful pieces of glass or pottery that the sea has sanded to smooth, small pieces; mostly brown, green, white or blue.
Katie LOVES searching for beach glass!
So this is actually not from our picnic, but I love this picture of Caleb with his hands in his pockets. He loves to walk like this. :)

Unfortunately, our happy beach romp didn't end so blissfully. By the time we left, Caleb was screaming and cold, Wesley was bleeding and crying, sand, wind, cold water and snot were mingling into a gooey mess all over little faces and clothing, and Auntie Dani was about to curl up right then and there on the beach in a fetal position, muttering maniacally to herself, "Overachiever! Overachiever!"

Aunt Dani should not bite off more than she can chew.

But hey the first 3/4 of our time was awesome and I recovered sufficiently from the trauma to play a rousing game of Twister with the kids before bed.

(This pic is a CLASSIC Wesley picture! The little drama king gets so intense when he's telling you stories...those big blue eyes get wide, his arms flail, and his little lips purse...)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Have I ever mentioned that I love Nome?

Yep, Nome sweet Nome! So good to be back.
Here are some shots:

What a joy to have Grandpa in Nome! He and dad left yesterday (Saturday) and mom and I are staying for another week. Gramps enjoyed riding the 6-wheeler on Nome beach. :)

Carlee and Grandpa on Anvil Mountain, with the city of Nome in the background.

The kids loved roughhousing with Grandpa. Here, Wesley's dinosaur and Grandpa prepare for battle! Whodaya think won...?
Welsey demonstrates his stellar climbing skills! (I love the look of proud accomplishment on his face here. What a kid! :)

We had fun spending Thursday at a cabin on the beach. Shaina discovered a bunch of late season blueberries growing on the tundra and we picked a bunch! Moose hunting season has just opened up, so Nathaniel and dad were off while we stayed at the cabin, and we kept a gun close by because there are a lot of bear in the area. (Notice, by the way, the beautiful kuspuks Mom and Carlee are wearing!)

Caleb stood on the deck of the cabin and scanned the sea for signs of whales, like we were. He wasn't sure exactly what the purpose of the binoculars were, but he glibly pressed them to his forehead like he thought we were doing...and felt very grown-up, indeed.

Grandpa loved seeing the musk ox. There's a herd that hangs out on Anvil Mountain (right outside of Nome) and these guys passed right in front of us on the road giving quite a show. :) They're cool animals.

Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs. :) Carlee's hair is growing back beautifully and although there are many MANY leftover effects from her cancer battle, she's been able to do so much with us! It's been fun to get out into the wild and not leave her behind this time. Thanks be to God. Please keep praying for her continued health and the complete eradication of cancer. And while you're praying, say a prayer that Nathaniel will get a moose this year! They really count on the meat from his hunts and it would be a huge blessing if he could get one. And quickly. :)

Something about drops of water in nature flip my switch. I love taking shots like this.

An absolutely gorgeous fox was kind enough to pose at this picturesque log while we snapped some photos. He was as curious about us as we were about him!

My little man-cub is growing up. :( Noah is 8 yrs. old!!

Sadly, there are quite a few dead walrus on the beach... and even a dead beluga. Most of the walrus show signs of having been poached. What a horrible practice. (Can you see massive size of this walrus? Wow!)

Shaina and Kate. Putting flowers on top of the head is all the rage with Kate right now. What a trendsetter...go girl!

Me and my 'Lub!

A Hobb betwixt two Sobies. :)