Thursday, June 29, 2006

All In A Day's Work

It's so simple to follow directions, right???
May I introduce you to two friends of mine?!? Here they are: Rachel and Sarah! Both of these girls have been my friends for years, and I love spending time with them. I happen to spend more time with R than I do with S for the simple reason that R and I work together and live two minutes apart while S lives out in the boonies (quite literally!).
Well, R and I are famous for getting lost, and it usually happens when we are almost out of gas, have no cell phone, it's dark out, and occasionally it's raining or doing some other wacky weather pattern:)
Soooo, it's no surprise that when R and I went to Philadelphia last Monday we got lost for about 20 minutes. After all these years, R and I really expect it to happen and always laugh our way up and down side streets that we really shouldn't be on.
But when S and I went to the hospital last Thursday, we found it with no problem. I mean zero. Zip. None.
Today we three trooped down very dutifully, following the directions to the T. Our problems began when we chose a different exit to get off of rather than what the directions said.
Enter Lesson # 1: Always follow the directions when you are in unfamiliar territory (and sometimes in familiar territory!)
Once we got off the exit, we realized it was the same exit R and I took last Monday! Not to be swayed by one bad experience, we improvised and decided turning left was the best option. Feeling rather good about our sense of direction and the fact "that looks familiar! we must be going in the right direction!", we continued on, oblivious to the fact that we were in for an adventure!! Going in "the right direction" was not necessarily true!
That was Lesson # 2: Don't assume!
I kid you not, we spent over an hour driving around Philadelphia trying to find the hospital. We stopped three times to ask for directions, and the final time was the ticket! When we realized we went in the opposite direction and circled around practically the whole city of Philadelphia (that might be an exaggeration, but not by much!), we just started laughing until we almost cried! When we got to the hospital and explained the whole trip to T, she started busting out with laughter!!!!!!!! S commented, "I think it's the combination of Rachel and Anne together that's bad! Anne and I had no problem getting here last Thursday!".
So then we decided to go out to lunch. When we got to the main entrance of the hospital, S exclaimed, "Oh no! I left my pass upstairs in the room!" So S went to the nice man at the front desk, explained the situation, and the man gave her another pass and said, "Return this one when you come back."
We go out to lunch and stop at a store before we headed back "home" (to the hospital). As we were walking through the parking garage, S started laughing. Here she had lost her pass again; making it twice in one day:D She went back to the car, and with a sigh of relief, saw the pass on the car seat and snatched it up.
As we sat in T's room, someone mentioned a line from "The Princess Bride", and since T never saw it, we decided to go rent it. After inquiring about the closest Blockbuster and finding out it was *5 minutes away*, we headed out again. What was supposed to be a 10 minute trip turned into 90 minutes.
Again, I kid you not, we drove up and down the same road four times looking for this store. We stopped and talked to four different people who gave us four different directions!!!! The funny thing was two of the people were sure Blockbuster was on this one street. Well, it turns out that it used to be on this street, but it had moved! So when we finally did find it, S and I started cracking up because we had driven by this store last week and had even commented on it!!!!!
We got our movie and laughed together. T kept saying, "I don't understand how that is possible" and S or I would always say, "It's a movie. It's not going to make complete sense!". By the time the movie was over, T's husband arrived so we headed out the door, and made it safely home, with no problems;)
What can I say?!?! It's all in a day's work with R and I, and then you add T and S to the combo and this is what you get:
1 - A memory that will last a lifetime (we have similar experiences that we laugh about, like the time another Sarah and R cried while we watched "The Patriot" on the way to a Bible Conference in St. Louis!).
2 - Lots and lots of laughter.
3 - A carefree, fun-filled day!
4 - A car that started out with a full tank of gas and dropped below half after we were done;).
5 - A chance to see Dillon and T.
6 - Every time R moved on the bed, it rolled away from the wall;).
7 - T getting her mind thinking on other things besides Dillon's situation.
8 - A feeling of satisfaction that another person's day was cheered up!!!!!
Yup, with us girls, it's all in a day's work:D

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"This Little Light Of Mine..."

I walked into Visitation tonight, just in time to hear 25-30 people (mostly men!) sing heartily,
"This little light of mine!
I'm gonna let it shine!
This little light of mine!
I'm gonna let it shine!
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Thinking that was a rather unique Visitation song, I joined right in, waving my "light" around with everyone else. We went through the 4 verses of the song and then the song leader said, "Ok, go back to being mature adults now and sit down."
This song is a special song that is sung every week in Sunday School with the 2-5 year olds. No matter which young man is leading the singing, every guy knows to end the singing part of Sunday School with this song. All the kiddies love it, and they are always so excited to go around having their light "lit" by one of the teachers. They giggle every time!
I sing this song with gusto whenever I get downstairs with the kids, but it felt different singing it with adults. Perhaps if "Jesus Loves Me", "The Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock", "Rolled Away", "This Little Light Of Mine" and other *kid* songs were sung as adults, we might all realize the simple truths that are in these Sunday School songs. I mean, really. To a little kid, "Jesus loves me, this I know" really means that!!!! Do you think they sit at their desks or in their homes wondering, "Does Jesus really love me? Will He really take care of me? Doesn't He need some help from me?"
NO, they don't.
Perhaps that's why Jesus said to have faith like a little child.

"This little light of mine............. I'm gonna let it shine!!!!!!!!!


This morning I was on my way from one of my jobs to the bank. Since we have experienced three full days of torrential, steady rain floods (not showers!), I was prepared for this morning to be no different. As I guided my car onto a back road, I noticed a roadblock set up on Spring Creek Road, barring anyone from entering this dangerous road today. The name alone speaks volumes as to the location of this short-cut road. Yes, a creek runs parallel to it, and yes it springs up and over its banks anytime we have a considerable amount of rainfall. (What I'm wondering is why do they seem to want to build all the housing developments nearby??? I guess
I'm missing the logic here...).
But I digress.
So I continued on, making a mental note of the roadblock and breathing a quick prayer of thanks that I didn't need to take Spring Creek today.
As I drove around the bend, I quickly applied my brakes. Right before my eyes, there was a huge tree blocking 95% of the road. I was able to drive around it, but I noticed that the mud was starting to get thick as a result of other people driving around the tree too.
My concern grew as I saw at least 10 cars passing by me, heading in the opposite direction. Unbeknownst to them, there was a dangerous roadblock ahead. I flashed my highbeams to each car, hoping that it would serve as a warning to them.
While the Spring Creek Road roadblock was set up on purpose, the other roadblock was definitely not set up on purpose. On purpose or not, they were both blocking the road. One was so people won't get their cars stuck in high flood waters, while the other was an accident waiting to happen, to cause harm.
The application can be made to the spiritual walk. In a way, pastors, family, teachers, and friends attempt to warn me when they see a roadblock coming up. Whether the roadblock was set up for my good or for my harm, it is always a good idea to pay attention to roadblocks. If I disregard the roadblock, and go tearing through determined to do it *my way*, then I'm bound for some trouble down the road.
This morning my teacher was a road, a tree, and lots of rain!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Around The World On A Wall

My almost 10 year old nephew slept at my house this past weekend while his mom and sister were in Michigan and his dad worked 3rd shift. Tyler came into my room Saturday morning and began looking at the various decorations on my walls.

"Whoa", he said, as he looked at a shelf heavily laden with objects. "Where is this from???"

"This" turned out to be a memento I had brought back with me from the Czech Republic, so I casually said that as I turned back to brushing my hair.

"And what about this?" he asked, pointing to another object.

"Oh that's from Panama," I replied.

"Wow! Is all this stuff from different countries?" he wondered.

"Yup. This is a candle from Nova Scotia. This is dirt from South Africa. This necklace comes from Zimbabwe. This nesting doll is from the Czech Republic. This is a Canadian coin. This pin is from Ireland. This box is from Chile. This shell I picked up on a Florida beach. This globe represents the world..." I stopped pointing to the objects and picked up my brush again.

I could tell Tyler was wondering why I had all this stuff, so I laid the brush down again and explained.

"Whenever I look at this shelf, it reminds me to pray for missions and missionaries all around the world. Each item on this shelf represents a mission field. Each item represents souls that haven't heard about the Gospel yet."

Long after Tyler left my room, I pondered the scene from that morning. The shelf honestly does remind me to pray for missions. But some of the time I just pray the *missionary prayer*: "God, bless the missionaries. Save the souls they're working with and encourage their hearts. Amen." Did I really pray for the missionaries, or did I just put some salve on my conscience so it would feel better? How can I expect God to answer that prayer when it is so general and very vague?

I was excited to open an email from a missionary in Australia yesterday. You could tell he was excited as he wrote, "GINA GOT SAVED!!!!!!!!" Well, I was excited too, for I love to hear about people getting saved. But you know, conviction settled in as I thought about the fact that I prayed for this girl only a couple of times.

Missionaries often send back names of specific people for us as Christians to pray for. There's a reason why they do: those names represents souls that are lost and on their way to hell. I have an opportunity to travel around the world daily.... praying for specific people across this world.

And who knows??? One day a missionary just might get a little excited in his email and write, "____________ just got saved!!!!!!!!!!" And you know the joy that you'll feel if you've prayed for that very person to get saved.

It's a feeling of satisfaction and gratitude that the Lord rescued another person perishing.

A Tribute To Friendship Part 3

That afternoon was a surprise to me, to say the very least. R began jumping around, laughing and giggling at the same time while I just shook my head and murmured, "I can't believe it!!!" I was very excited for J and T, but kind of stunned at them having a baby so soon. But I know that God is the one Who gives a child to a couple, and He is never taken by surprise!

The only stipulation T gave us was when she told us was that we had to keep it a secret until Christmas... which was over 2 months away. Talk about torture! Especially for a jabber-bird like me:D I did get to tell my mom, which made it easier because at least I could talk to somebody about it!

T had an ideal pregnancy: a little morning sickness, minimal weight gain, not too many emotional mood swings;), and not too much pain! Despite the fact that she was pregnant, T managed to work at least 25 hours a week, maintain a Bible Institute schedule, and come up to church for a weekly walk (yes, even in January when it felt like it was April!).

It is such a blessing to have a close friend who keeps me on my toes and who knows me as well as my sisters do (and sometimes even better)! Sometimes a friendship changes when a girl friend gets married, but in this case with T, it only got better. About a month ago, T and I spent the day in Lancaster County "just because". She had the day off and I took off of work and we had such a blast rummaging through an *old-fashioned* second-hand shop (where they only take cash or personal check and the older men just sit around chatting... all they needed was a checkerboard:D), stopping at a free petting zoo, eating a picnic lunch, enjoying the beauty of a country store in a barn, and getting lost on the way home! But we had fun... just being together and talking about anything and everything!

I knew the Lancaster County trip was going to be one of our last for a while, and that thought was confirmed on Friday June 16th when I called T to see if she wanted to go yard saling the next morning. She did NOT want to go because she was on the way to the hospital!!! Little Dillon was born that evening, but had some problems so he went off to the children's hospital. All weekend long I kept in touch with T, and often prayed and cried for my dear friends and their baby. The following Monday I got to go visit my friend in the hospital.

No words were needed as we hugged each other. More was expressed in that hug that any words that could've been exchanged. You see, when you have such a dear, dear friend, you ache when she aches, and you rejoice when she rejoices. I know T would do the same for me, for she has shown herself faithful, even at times of rebuke and correction. For "faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

Thursday my friend S and I got to go down to the hospital... this time to celebrate T's 21st birthday! My car was literally loaded up with all sorts of gifts, goodies, and balloons for J and T to enjoy. But I think all of that paled in comparison to the gift T got that day: an opportunity to hold Dillon for two hours!!! Up to that point, she had held him for a grand total of 4.5 minutes. As I stood there watching T and Dillon, I just smiled, knowing that she was truly cherishing each and every minute.

Dillon's name means faithfulness, and his mommy is a good example of it. Some people who walk into my life will stay there for a life time. Lord willing, T will be one of those people. I am the one who is privileged to call her friend.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Tribute To Friendship Part 2

With T's phone call that afternoon, little did I know how much my life would change that day!
T had left PA on the previous Tuesday to head home to Ohio for Christmas, which was on a Saturday. The very next day, I was sitting at home, doing something on the computer, when the phone rang around 4ish. It was T on the other end, and she said, "Can you and R meet me in the library before church tonight? I have something I want to tell you." I was surprised she was heading back here so soon, especially knowing she was missing her family. So I said, "Sure. What do you have to tell us? Is it good news or bad?" T replied, "Weeeeell, that depends."
On what??? Either you know it is good news or bad news. There really is no middle ground. So with that question in my mind, I hung up and called R, asking her if she would meet in the library. We spent the next hour wondering what in the world could it be...
New car? No. Moving back to Ohio? No. Sister expecting a baby? No. New job? No.
Finally we hit upon it. A guy. Yes!
When T pulled into church at 5:45, we had a good idea what she was going to say, but we waited for her to say it.
"Um, I just wanted to show you this!!!!!" T said as she held up her left hand. On it was a sparkling diamond. "J_ _ _ _ _" I shouted, knowing I had the guy pegged. "T smiled and said, "Yep!"
God had brought T out here so she could be saved, go to Bible Institute, and meet J. I had graduated from high school with J and I knew they would be perfect for each other. J and T did the old fashioned courtship
~ betrothal~ with chaperones and no touching. Their wedding day was sweet indeed.
One beautiful day in October T called me up and asked me if I wanted to go walking. This was not an unusual request as we often partook in this pleasure in order to catch up in each other's lives. So I said sure and then T added, "Can you ask R if she wants to go?" I replied, "R probably won't because she never has time and she's always busy" but I asked her anyway. R surprisingly said yes, so T came up to church and we started walking.
Soon we were talking about T's recent wedding and about the bridesmaid dress that I had worn but T had bought (since I wasn't as partial to the dress as T was). We were trying to figure out when T could wear it when R said, "Maybe you can wear it for Christmas." T was quiet, and then responded, "If I fit into it then..."
You could've heard a pin drop on the paved driveway.
"Wait... no... it really can't be... is it??????????????" I stammered.
T just smiled as she said and shook her head yes. T was expecting a baby!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Tribute To Friendship

It is on the eve of my friend T's 21st birthday that I write this tribute.....

I well remember the day in August 2003 when an assistant pastor asked me if I would be willing to pick up a young college student and take her to church for services. I hesitantly said yes, and Bro. G quickly assured me I would not be alone in getting this girl to church services. As it happened, two other families worked it out with me to go get this girl so no one was bearing too much of the load.

I nervously drove to the local college that Wednesday evening, having only (briefly) met this girl once before and not really remembering what she looked like. As I pulled into the driveway in my big, BIG station wagon (I too was a college student and so my transportation was whatever my parents had...), I saw this girl sitting on a gigantic rock, just as nervous as I was. I stopped beside the gigantic rock, gave a smile that I hoped was convincing, and waited for this girl to hop into my car.
I was wondering how I would endure the next 15 minutes as we rode to church.
I smile now when I think of that ride! Never did a girl laugh so much as this girl did! Of course I found out later it's because she laughs A LOT when she's nervous. Boy, she must've been really nervous that night!
Days turned into weeks as I consistently went to pick her up for church. Coming from a good, Independent Baptist family, T kept asking me when she could join my church (T is from Ohio). But I had this *feeling* that something was not right with her salvation testimony. So I kept brushing aside her questions, curiosities, and comments with some vague answer like "doing a Bible Study to make sure you're really sure that you know exactly where you go when you die... you better not join the church yet" statement.
T was confused why I was so vague (especially since she found out in a hurry how blunt I am!!!!!), but it all made sense on October 15, 2003 when T got saved!!!!!!! It doesn't make sense and it's not Biblical to join a church when a person isn't a blood-bought, born-again believer.
Over the next several months, T and I got to be close friends. In December, before she went home for Christmas, she mentioned that she felt God was leading her away from her forensics science pursuit and into the Bible Institute at church. My mouth dropped open because this girl was saved two months and was suddenly experiencing another major life change. But God had a plan. Never, NEVER, NEVER doubt God when He does something abruptly. It always is for our good.
In January 2004, T started Bible Institute. I was pretty happy, because up until this point, there was only one other girl in the class ~ R, the pastor's daughter. R and I are pretty good friends, and then R met T and soon the three of us were known as "The Three Musketeers". The guys usually called us the "The Three Stooges" or "The Golden Girls", and that was usually said with an eye roll or in a sarcastic tone! Whatever we were called really didn't matter for we encouraged one another, made each other laugh, and did tons of fun things together!
As I sat in T's apartment day in and day out, she often would say, "I don't know why God brought me out here. I'm mean, I went to CCC for one semester, so that wasn't it. Now I'm in BI and working at Cappacino Cafe, but why am I here?" My standard response was: "Your husband is here. Just wait."
Then came December 2004. R and I had noticed some "weird" things happening with T, but we thought it was because our (R and I) best friends had just returned from South Africa where their parents are missionaries. We thought perhaps T thought our friendship wasn't as important since our best friends were back.
Nothing could be farther from the truth!
A big shock and surprise awaited R and I one cold Sunday afternoon when we heard the words, "Can I meet with you and R in the library before church tonight?" T was calling from Ohio...
... To be continued

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

An e-mail worth tears

This afternoon I cried when I opened the following e-mail from J:

We're pleased to announce the birth of our first son, Dillon, born Friday, June 16th 8:10PM 6lb. 10oz 21in. Mom is recovering well and baby Dillon is in stable condition at St. Christopher's hospital for Children in Philadelphia where he was transferred. He experienced some birth trauma, came out not breathing, and he had to be put on the ventilator. He also is having siezures, and they are giving him several medications to get them under control. It seems he is improving a little, so it should just be a matter of time. He will be there for 1-2 weeks or so undergoing tests and treatment if all goes well. I will be commuting to work from there till he comes home.
Dillon means "Faithful" and God has already shown Himself faithful to us in this situation we're going through providing our needs and keeping us looking to him. Thank you so much for your prayer and concern. The love offering was quite unexpected and a real blessing. Thank you.
So many people are going through similar situations. Please pray that we would have specific opportunities to speak to people about Christ and be an encouragement to them in their time of difficulty.
Rejoicing in His Faithfulness,
J and T
Only God. That's all that can be said. While Dillon is not "out of the woods", it's amazing to see God's faithfulness continually and consistently. A friend told me the midwife said there was no reason for that baby to be here, for he was like a limp dishrag.
I need no explanation, and the answer to "why?" probably won't be revealed this side of Heaven. But just as Dillon's name means "faithfulness", I know one of the attributes of my Great God and Saviour is "faithfulness".

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Thought

Today a friend and I were talking about Dillon and his parents, and I said, "God said He won't ever give us more than we can handle." My friend's thoughtful response was: "Then this situation is a testimony of J. and T.'s faith." God knew He could trust this couple with this situation, not because they could handle it, but because they know that He can handle it. Keep praying for the little tyke. His grandparents are in, and his daddy came home tonight to grab his mommy some stuff to stay in Philadelphia for a week. Tomorrow should bring a few more answers from the medical doctors...of course the Greatest Physican of all knows the end from the beginning.

Fun Facts

1.FIRST NAME? Anne with an *E*, just like Anne of Green Gables:-) I'm fiercely protective of that E!
2.WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My dad is into genealogy, so I'm sure I am:-)
3.WHERE ARE YOU? At home.
4.WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? This afternoon as I shared Dillon's situation with someone.

5.DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Not particularly, unless I work very hard at it.
6.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Sweet Lebanon Bologna (it's a PA Dutch thing!)

7.KIDS? Nope:-) Waiting on hubby first:D
8.WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? yes, most of the time.
9.DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? yes... am I faithful? No. This blog would probably be considered my journal.... yikes!
10.DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? I tend to be a lot... I'm always convicted whenever I read verses about controlling the tongue, or a lady talks about speech at a Bible study or something like that.
12.WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Yikes! I tend to think not, but I don't want to say no, because I do like new adventures.

13.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Honey Nut Cheerios... which may lower my cholesterol, right?;)
15.DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? For the things I need to do... and that's about it!
16.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Cookies and Cream (has to be Breyers!)

17.SHOE SIZE? 5 1/2 & 6. (Have you ever noticed how some shoes are *sized* differently? Wouldn't it be better if a 5 1/2 says it is a 5 1/2, then it should be a 5 1/2???? *sigh*. Excuse my rabbit trail)
18.RED OR PINK? Pink!
19.WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My tongue. It definitely is a small,but mighty instrument that no man (or in this case, lady) can tame. But the Lord is working on it!

20.WHO DO YOU MISS MOST? Family and friends who don't live near.
21.WHAT COLOR SKIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Right now I'm in a pair of white culottes.

22.LAST THING YOU ATE? Ice cream... of course:-D
23.WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My parents talking and a fan.

24.FAVORITE SMELLS? Rose and an apple candle.
25.WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My dear, wonderful, sweet sister-in-law!

28.FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Football. If I was completely loyal, I would say volleyball:-)
29.HAIR COLOR? Dirty blonde... although I was informed by a 4-year-old this week that her hair is clean blonde, not dirty blonde!!!!! I laughed a while over that one;)
30.EYE COLOR? Blue.
31.DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? I actually only wear one contact... in my left eye. Most people find that little fact mind-boggling.

32.FAVORITE FOOD? Mom's:D Taco dip with tortilla chips ranks up there pretty high too!

35.HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs, hugs, hugs!!!! They are so comforting and familiar!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Blue, Blue, Blue

I often associate anything blue with a boy... don't you??? Just like anything pink is associated with a girl. I'm also more partial to boys than I am to girls, since I have 5 nephews and 1 niece! So it was with great anticipation and excitement that I heard the words, "We're on our way to the hospital" from my good friend's husband last night. I just had this *gut feeling* that the baby would be a boy... especially since everyone had changed their opinion in the past week and said it was going to be a girl! I jokingly told my friend on Tuesday, "T, someone needs to stand up for this baby to be a boy, so I will!" But my excitement was greatly dampened when I checked my email 3 hours later. While my friend did give birth to a little boy, he didn't breathe on his own. Tears streamed down my face as I began to take little Dillon and his health needs before the Greatest Physican of all.

I then remembered a conversation I had with my friend some time ago. We were talking about her pregnancy, and how *easy* it had been. I made the offhand comment, "Well, it's not over yet... you still have to deliver." I thank the Lord for a fast, safe delivery, but now we sit here, waiting for more news, for Dillon had a seizure this morning and is now at the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia.

But God is still faithful, even when something doesn't make sense. He is still in control and is never taken by surprise.

This morning I went yard saling and found the cutest little boy outfits as well as an adorable *boy* picture frame that said: "For this child I prayed....."

Just as Hannah of long ago gave her one, precious son to the Lord, I know that T and J have also given their son to the Lord.... to do whatever HE deems best.

Monday, June 12, 2006

One month ago

As I yanked my suitcase out of the closet, in a hurry to pack for all week, I stopped and remembered the date: the 12th. One month ago today I was flying home from the Czech Republic and rather anxious to get off the 9-hour flight and to safely arrive at Dulles Airport. Memories of the 12-day trip slowly drifted into my mind as I remembered my missions trip with fondness. But then I snapped back into reality, realizing I had 10 minutes to pack before I headed out the door. In the back of my mind though, I thought about some of the teenagers that went on that missions trip who are heading out to camp today. And I determined to pray for them this week, just as I prayed for them a month ago...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A compliment

Today my brother was telling me about a recent wedding he attended. Apparently he was having a conversation with the groom's father and the father happened to mention he supported missionaries. My brother asked him if he knew me because he knows I (through my church) support missionaries as well. The father said no, but the next statement out of my brother's mouth stopped me. "So, are you going to be a missionary?" Having been down this road before, I said, "No. I just want to get married and be a good wife and a good mom." His comment was "good. That's a good goal."

Now coming from him, that was a compliment. And in a day when feminists get upset at a statement like that, it was even more of a compliment.

As I shared that incident with the camp preacher's wife, she told me of someone who recently said they just want to be a housewife too. Her response was one of shock (a good shock though). She hasn't heard a girl state that kind of goal in a long time. Most girls have a glamorous goal to achieve. They want to be a...
-flight attendant
-construction worker
-business woman
-manager of __________ (department store)
-office assistant
-daycare owner
-grocery store checker
-interior designer
-flower shop owner

But rare is the lady who wants to be a...


The preacher's wife asked me how many children I had. "None, because I'm not married, but I am waiting for the right one to come along." The verse she then quoted encouraged my heart...

"Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart..."
~ Psalm 37:4~

This is camp week

I've recovered from my weekend of babysitting the two kiddos, and I'm prepared to exchange it for babysitting three kiddos this whole week while their mama and some older siblings head off to teen summer camp. (Side note: little kiddo # 2 only got up 4 times on Friday evening... not too bad considering she gets up for her parents all the time... that was said with a touch of sarcasm:D)

Now I absolutely love camp. It doesn't matter what it is: summer, winter, singles retreat. Whatever it is, I love camp. There's something exciting about packing up your luggage, knowing you'll probably forget one or two things and realize they're not that important; claiming the *best bunk* in the cabin; girls laughing as a funny joke or story is told; shrieks as cold water is poured on an unsuspecting girl in the shower (happened to me at singles camp:D); a packed dining hall with really good camp food; walking up to the chapel to hear some excellent preaching by a man of God committed to seeing young people serve the Lord; watching the teens play crazy, silly, embarassing games and whisper a prayer of thanks that Bros. R and J didn't think up that game until after you left the youth group; one-on-one time with a girl you have invested so much time in, and you see her talk about spiritual things; loading up the bus and hearing 75 voices praising the Lord for several hours on the way home. Yup. I love camp.

I guess it's because I never went to camp when I was younger (Read: until 14). I have 6 older siblings, and 4 of them got to go to either scout camp or some Christian camp in VA every summer while I got to be the one who drove the ______ hours and was the only kid left in the car as we drove the ______ hours back home. There was always a flurry of anticipation for the camper(s) as he/she packed their bags, looking forward to swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, crafts, games, fires at night, and whatever else happened at camp. The whole week long, I would think about them away at camp and say to myself, "They are so lucky!" So I truly am using the word "never" correctly!

God does have a sense of humor, though. I started going to camp in January 1998 when I was a freshman, and haven't stopped since, although now I go as a counselor/kitchen help/extra adult to have around. Whereas all of the siblings mentioned above haven't gone back to camp! PLUS an extra benefit is that I've been able to take 3 foreign missions trips while the rest have never been outside of the US and Canada! Missions trips are like camp, only better! So I just laugh now when I talk to my sister on the phone and say, "Oh, don't call me next week... I'm gonna be at camp!" She usually replies, "You're so lucky!" Hmmm... patience has paid off!!!!!

At this point, some of you may be wondering something. If I love camp so much, then why in the world am I not going? Hmm. Good question. Hopefully I can answer it.

My church holds winter camp every year in January. It is *the* January event that most everyone gets caught up in. I went to camp as usual: as one of the kitchen cooks. (Side note: never underestimate the effectiveness of your influence. Because I work at the Christian school with a lot of the teens, they feel comfortable talking to me, even as kitchen cook at winter camp). As I watched the teens come and go at camp, I noticed a lack of parents there. There were some, but a lot of the counselors are just like me: in the 20s, hating the fact they can't go to camp because they're not a teen any more, and loving every minute of camp. So they come back as counselors:D

It was only the Lord that had this thought pop into my head: volunteer to babysit for a lady who has 9 kids so that she could go to camp with her 4 teenagers. The oldest two already graduated and have jobs and then there are three younger ones (4, 7, 10). When I got back from camp and mentioned it to Mrs. R., she just about jumped up and down with excitement. "Really??!?!?!?!?!? You would do that so I could go to to summer camp?" Again, it was only the Lord that prompted me to say "yes". In my heart, I want to go. But this lady needs to go this year for some reason.

Then this morning as the service was closing, my Pastor said, "Parents, feel free to come down to camp anytime this week. If your teen doesn't want you to go, then you need to go." Pop. There came another thought. I know of another family who is sending their daughter to camp.

This mom loves camp.

This mom wants to be with her daughter.

This mom lives close to Mrs. R.

This mom has two other children.

This mom needs to go.

So after asking Mrs. R. if she would mind me watching two more kids (the answer was "sure you can!"), I went to find this mom. "K." I began. "You know how Pastor said _____________ this morning? I think you need to go to camp. I would be willing to watch T and T and you can even take my car to camp". (Camp is several hours away.) K replied, "That was exactly what I thought of, for the Lord put it on my heart. Let me just check with my husband to make sure he's ok with it."

So this is the week to watch three kiddos, with an additional two kiddos on Wednesday and Thursday.

This week I see: Babyish hugs and kisses. Lots of kiddos running. Pool time in the backyard. Dirty hands and smiling faces. Mud in the house. Bright-eyed kiddos ready to have an adventure every day. An email with an update from camp. Tears as prayers are offered for those who are at camp.

This week I hear: "Miss Anne? Miss Anne? Miss Anne? Miss Anne? Miss Anne? Miss Anne?" "Not-uh!!!!!" "Can I have...?" "Pllllleeeasee?" Laughter. Giggles. Water splashing. Hysterical shouts of joy in the nighttime air. Little ones snuggling down to get re-energized for the next day. A yawn.

I don't always know why God changes the directions I want to take. But you know what? It doesn't matter. For He is God, and He knows all things. When I see things from my perspective, I miss the entire picture. But when I look at it from God's perspective, I smile and relax.

He sees it all.

He knows I love camp, but I need to be here this week.

He's got a purpose that I can't even begin to imagine, but I know it's going to be good!

If you think of it, pray for summer camp this week. Churchs from PA, MD, and OH will converge on a little campground in western PA for a week of fellowship, food, fun, and, most important of all, God to work mightily.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Today's the day

Today started my week-long babysitting stint... which I was pretty excited about until I didn't get home last night until 10:35 PM. And then for some strange reason, I was up at 3:30, and then I got up for good at 5:30.


That's early!!!!!

So I've taken the two little kiddos to the park, to McDonalds (it rained while we were at the park, so we went there to finish running out all their energy!), and then we watched Veggie Tales.... how cute!!!! On the way home, I heard little yawns, so I'm hoping that means an early bedtime tonight;for them AND for me!

The reason why I'm babysitting is a rather sweet reason: the little kiddos parents are good friends with a 29-but-turning-30-in-August single man from my church. That is, he is single until tomorrow!!! Tomorrow is his wedding day. It was so neat to see God bring his wife to him, all the way from New Jersey.


When God writes your love story, huh? He's good at doing that, and I've got full confidence His timing is perfect! So I agreed to watch the little kiddos so that a best friend can enjoy in one of the most special moments in a person's life.

Now as long as they go to bed early...;)

Monday, June 5, 2006

My Inspiration

It's green. It grows A LOT. It gets thick. I have lots of it on four sides. It's a weekly summer chore. It's

.................... grass.

Yup. That's right folks. Yours truly has truly discovered the lessons in grass.

As this dear section of Pennsylvania had some H2O fall this weekend, I *missed* out on the Saturday trial, I mean, (ahem) blessing of getting on the riding tractor and dutifully trimming the blades of grass down to a semi-respectable, decent-looking yard. I knew that the task could only be delayed by two days, so I asked my co-worker-secretary-friend, "It's not going to rain tonight, is it? Our yard looks like we've taken to growing weeds as a side business!" The delightful statement "No it's not" fell on my listening ear as if to remind me I hadn't gotten out of the chore.

So I left my dearly beloved job at church and came home to a blessing! My mom had already mowed the two sides of the house, leaving me the back and the front to finish. While there was still considerable work to be done, it was nice to know I didn't have to cut it all.

Enter lesson.

As I mindlessly sat on the riding mower, letting IT do all the work, the thought hit me hard as I was ready to begin a new row:

(*Dramatic pause for enlightening moment*)

"Have you ever noticed that the jobs you absolutely hate to do are usually the ones you have to do double?"

I thought about my best friend from my teen years and how she was always exclaiming, "Oh I LOVE to cut the grass!!!!! It's SO relaxing!!!" This was said from the girl who had her lawn cut every week for her because she lived on church property :-S

But I let the thought sink in for a moment... Ok, a few moments. It IS true. When I completely despise something, I usually have to do it double and sometimes grumble my way through it too. I think the Lord was laughing when my family moved here 10 years ago: "She's not going to like cutting the grass. She's going to have more grass than she knows what to do with it. People will often say to her they wished they had more grass to cut. She's going to learn a lesson!!!!"

Lesson learned.

I think.

I read a story somewhere today (and if I stole it from you, forgive me... My memory's drawing a blank) about a lady who was complaining about some tasks she had to do. The other person said, "See it as an opportunity to die." In other words, don't give in to self.

Some of my favorite verses are Galatians 2:19-20 ~ "For I through the law am dead... that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lived in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Grass. Something so little, so insignificant.

Yet it was my teacher today.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

The "I"

Taking out a pretty piece of stationary this morning, I mulled over what to write to one of the graduating girls. As I pondered what advice I could pass on, a verse kept popping through my head: "For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord." The problem was I couldn't remember where it was in the book of Jeremiah. So I began what I thought was going to be a quick search through my Bible concordance. Ha. (Emphasis on HA!) I love my Bible, but the concordance is really lacking some things. After about 15 minutes and two Bibles later, I finally found the verse!!! Ahhh... what sweetness! What triumph! What a passage...
I began to read Jeremiah 29, and was filled with wonder and amazement. You see, Jeremiah wrote a letter to those who were in captivity, but the real Author of the letter was the Lord Himself. Won't you humor me for a moment and take time to receive this breath of fresh air...

Vs. 4 ~ "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;"
Vs. 7 ~ "And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives..."
Vs. 11 ~ "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
Vs. 12 ~ "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you."
Vs. 14 ~ "And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive."

Generally speaking, we tend to say things like: "JOY is Jesus, Others, You" or "There's no me in team" or some cute, catchy phrase like that. But this is one I that demands focus and attention. This is the Lord Himself, calmly stating He allowed the captivity to take place, and He will be the one to take them back out of captivity. Pardon me, but if God put them into captivity, and promised to take them out of captivity, then why would I think for a second He won't or can't do the same for me?

In a day and age where "it's all about me", I tend to think it really needs to be "all about HIM". But that's just what I think;)
Teachers come in all sizes

I'm a pink and blue kind of gal... have you ever noticed when you look into your closet, you see your colors clearly defined? I didn't realize how much of a pink girl I was until this past Christmas. I received lots of pink things from people who noticed I liked to wear pink:-) I remember years and years ago, one of the ladies in my church had a class for "us girls only" about what skin tone we were. There was spring, summer, fall and winter to choose from... not exactly hard, right? Right. It came down to three choices (for I knew I wasn't a "fall"... oranges and browns don't work for me). Eventually I narrowed it down to "spring" or "summer". Just when I thought I had the right season, the teacher came over and said, "Oh no. You're not _____, you're ____." Oh. I learned a lesson from that experience. When I look at a situation from my viewpoint, I only see a partial picture. But by stepping back and viewing the situation from another person's eyes and even from the Lord's viewpoint, you get a different view. This is why the Lord places teachers in my life. Teachers who have been there, and done that. Teachers might be... A parent. A pastor. A college professor. A friend. A sibling. A nephew or niece. A perfect stranger. The checker at Wal-mart. A neighbor. A child from junior church. A baby Christian. Today as I go to a high school graduation, I just might learn something from the very girls I taught this past year.