Monday, December 31, 2012


For your listening enjoyment, I present a reshowing of 
"The Sibling Pipers"
~Auld Lang Syne~
(First presented to the world by Scott and Danielle S. on New Year's Eve of 2010, brought back by popular demand)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Some Christmas reflections...

And in despair I bowed my head:
                      "There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

My heart has been so heavy. So many people are hurting.

-My friend's brother just died from alcohol poisoning. He was about my age.
-The last little child was buried today from the massacre in Connecticut.
-Went to a movie and gaped at the ads for other films about to be released. Our culture is obsessed with witches and vampires, dark magic and death, zombies and ghosts. We are shocked when death, disguised as "entertainment," jumps off the screen or page and settles his clutches into our homes, our schools, our nation.
-A family member of mine is facing divorce and being mommy alone to two children this Christmas.
-Another of my family members, trying to stifle the pain of his lonely heart with drugs.
-My co-worker and friend has breast cancer and two little girls.
-My friend is tottering on the edge of abandoning Jesus because she can't understand Him.

This Christmas has been different. Because nearly every time I've thought about Jesus' miraculous, silent arrival to earth inside a virgin's womb my thoughts have also raced forward to His return. There will be absolutely nothing quiet and lowly about it next time. My heart keeps echoing the same cry over and over... "Come BACK! Come back again soon and make everything right again, Lord." I found Matthew 23:40 a few days ago. "...And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”  I read it over and over and pictured what that would be like. Jesus says that so many people--from every nation on earth-- will mourn because they didn't choose Him. But there will be so many people rejoicing and saying, "THIS is our God! We waited for Him and He is HERE!"

Oh, how differently His second coming will be!
  • No tiny, helpless newborn wail; this time the very breath of his mouth will decimate His enemy! And along with His shout, and a deafening trumpet call! (2 Thessalonians 2:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:16)
  • A dirty donkey on which to flee from the wrath of a ruler? NO! No puny earth-kings will stand against Him. A white stallion will carry the High King of Heaven! He will be a mighty, victorious King with an army in His wake, arrayed in a dazzling robe of white and no dirty tattered swaddling clothes! The brightness of His coming will not shine from just one single star, because He Himself will shine so brilliantly that He'll literally overwhelm the enemy with the blaze of His eye! His righteous, victorious vengeance will crush sin and evil forever. He will simultaneously strike terror and sear joy into the hearts of earth's inhabitants as He rides as a Mighty Warrior, his robe dipped in blood! (Revelations 19:11-16)
  • No door will bar His entrance.  No manger to contain Him, for not even the mountain upon which His foot steps will be able to hold will split in two. (Zech. 14:4)
And yes...He will make everything right again.

Will you be ready at His second advent? And do you long for it!?
"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." -2 Tim. 4:8

Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Some random Aussie pictures

Jet lag.
2:00 am. 
My brain is stubbornly refusing to shut down like a good little brain should and go to bed with the rest of my body. So, while lying here with my eyes wide open--or purposely squeezed shut, which is just as bad--and my mind whizzing at 100 MPH, it occurred to me that now is as good a time as any to get to that blog post I've been meaning to write! So I've dragged my computer to bed with me and I'll see how long I last. Maybe blogging is the proverbial "sheep counting" for me and will do the trick. Maybe in a few minutes my sleepy head will bob onto my keyboard and post a paragraph of jumbled letters and numbers for my friends and family to puzzle over tomorrow morning. 

At any rate, until that happens, let me tell you about the last stop of our Bright Lights ministry trip: The Land Downunda'! Woohoo! Traveling to Australia has finally been checked off from my bucket list! I've wanted to go for so long and my kind Father has granted me the desire. And granted it in such a perfect way. As much as I love to travel, I think I'd feel somewhat aimless--guilty, maybe-- just traveling the world without a purpose other than entertaining myself and seeing new sights. Jesus gave me the gift of being able to travel to Alaska, Asia, and Australia with an awesome team and for the purpose of investing in the lives of precious young ladies there. I've just kept marveling all two months of the trip because He's so kind!! 

I'll try to keep it to concise picture captions. :) These pictures are uploaded in no particular order, btw, in case any of the team reads this and is wondering what on earth I was thinking. ;)

On an off day, we enjoyed a train ride from downtown Melbourne to the country for... 
...A barby with friends! :)

Beautiful countryside.

Our team enjoyed an awesome evening at our new friends, the Langford's home. Here we're gazing out at kangaroos in the field just below their home! It was amazing. There were at least 20 kangaroos grazing and bouncing around while we ate our dinner on the porch and watched them. 

This big guy came for a drink. 
She kindly posed for a silhouette shot. 

The birds were noisy but oh, so beautiful. 

Mr. Langford took us on a breakneck-speed "buggy" ride through the fields after dinner, and we raced the kangaroos! A pretty unforgettable experience!

Sun setting in the Australian countryside. 

This picture doesn't do justice to the awesome time of singing we enjoyed before leaving the Langfords.  Some crazy good guitar pickin' and hilarious songs made for an atmosphere of joy with this family that we won't forget! 

On the last day of our time in Australia we went to a wildlife sanctuary and got some hands-on experience with Aussie animals! God's creativity never ceases to amaze me. And animals showcase it the most brilliantly of all!
It's called "I'll-lean-in-and-we'll-look-like-we're-good-buddies." 

I never realized how utterly adorable wombats are.

And the KOALAS! I'm in love!

It's a kookaburra! 

The day after we arrived, friends took us to a park where wild birds will often come and eat out of your hands. It was such a magical experience! To have these wild creatures come of their own volition and trust us felt like a gift. It was amazing. I could have stayed there all day.

The turnout for the Radiant Purity and Strong in The Lord conferences was really great and people drove (or even flew!) from hours and hours away. It was amazing to know that they valued this teaching so much and it blessed our team to know that the truth of God's Word will be spreading like ripples throughout Australia as the girls return to their homes and begin discipling others. Awesome thought!

The weather was too gorgeous to keep my SiTL team cooped up indoors so we enjoyed meeting on the grass. What a precious time of fellowship and mutual encouragement! 

Buddy the skink! I almost stepped on the little guy one evening but he forgave and we made friends. He was the only reptile I saw in Australia. No crocs. Steve Irwin had given me the impression that they await you under every rock and in every tree. Feeling dissolutioned. 

Feeling a little cooped up one evening, Nickie, Jolynn and I set out on foot to find an Australian fish n' chips place.  The walk was longer than anticipated but ended up being a fun memory. :) Here, Nickie and I demonstrate our stubbornness. 

Yessss, we finally found it...

...And it was totally worth the walk!

My Aussie friends and I prepping for a skit :)

My awesome Radiant Purity team. 

This was the group of Australian leaders who helped us with the conferences. Precious sisters!
Sarah Ha and her entire family became such special friends to us. Everywhere we went on this trip we met servants of Christ who blessed us in SO MANY WAYS and the Ha family just kept on giving and giving and giving to our team! When I meet brothers and sisters like them it makes me want to seize every opportunity I can to bless and serve other people whom God brings across my path. I'm so grateful for their fellowship and example. 

Eloise. Aussie tale-teller extraordinaire.
Don't believe this gal if she tells you there are such things as Drop Bears in Australia. 

Emily pulled one on me one evening after we had been talking about the various insects in Australia and girls had been horrifying me with stories of cockroaches and large spiders that actually climbed up their legs. Sneaking up behind me with that blade of grass, she gently stroked it up my leg and sent me screaming and kicking across the room. :) Got to watch these Aussies!
More later. It's after 3:30 am and.....glory be.... I'm getting sleepy!