Wednesday, August 24, 2011

semi-annual fun

do you have any idea how difficult it is to schedule a date with 9 people at a time? much less 9 women? 9 busy and rather extraordinary women? well, in case you didn't know, it's difficult. but oh, so, worth the effort.

approximately twice a year, i go through that difficulty with the 9 extraordinary women mentioned above. for the first yearly occasion, we battle winter breaks, family vacations, holiday plans, and the like. for the second occasion, we battle summer plans, summer vacations, back to school move-ins, work schedules, and so on.

but ...

this time around, it was easy. it was SO easy. it was the Lord's doing i'm sure. i did a little calendar estimating {inside my head, which means exact dates were not accounted for}, and i proposed a monday evening. i missed my small group that night {which i HATE to do}, but i sacrificed, in hopes that the date proposed would work for the 9 faces required at the the semi-annual meeting.

and wouldn't you know. despite flights home from summer-long missions trips in new jersey, work schedules, summer camp schedules, back to school moving plans, and such, my calendar estimating chose the ONLY date that fit inside a 2 day window {the window being, when all 9 women - 10 including myself - would be in the same time zone and within a 20 mile radius of each other}. my mind blew up. all of ours did, actually. it was like magic. perfection really.

so, on that monday evening, i sent my hubs off to small group and encouraged him to stay as long as he wanted {after preparing him a lovely meal at home by the way}. and then, the door bell rang.

the first girly arrived. then, another. then three more strolled in, knowing they didn't even have to knock. then another, and a few more after that.

now, the reason these women are so extraordinary {and extra special to yours truly} is because ... well, they just are. my story with each lovely lady began differently. most of them were mere sophomores in high school when our personalities met and fell in love. and since then, i have had the privilege of walking with them through 4 {going on 5} years of life. high school, break-ups, graduation, new boys, old boys, overseas adventures, decisions, lost loved ones, and so much more. most importantly, is the adventure i've witness in each of their walks with the Lord. tremendous. i have the pleasure of going to lunch individually with the girls as much as possible when they are home, so i can hear more details about the lives they so courageously live. but to have all 9 women together. true joy.

i can honestly say i know they each love the Lord. they are open. so honest. and so deep. seeing these 9 women grow as friends who trust each other, together and individually is so rare. they weren't all friends before they joined the small group i was blessed to lead. but now ... they are. i can tell. good friends. some grew up together. some didn't. but they are all growing together, now.

over the last year, they were in spread out across the world. from germany, to san diego, to new jersey, to hawaii, to LA, to chico, to cameron park, to all over. i'll say it again: impressive.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

twin messages

want to hear a cool story?

i thought you did.

here goes:

while driving home from work last week, i heard an ad on klove {the christian radio station that our dial leans towards more often than not} for water filters that could provide a family in another country with pure water. for life.

i didn't hear the entire ad, but i got the gist of it. and then i waited for some music to grace the airwaves of my car ride home.

all too quickly life moved on, past the call to help provide a family with clean water. for life.

the next morning, i get in the car. i hear it again. although it's more than just an ad. it's a story, about a boy in rwanda who had to walk miles to school, with no water. he knew the water that was available would make him sick, but after walking so far, he couldn't do it. he couldn't resist drinking it. my heart broke.

the commentators continued to engage my listening ears with an explanation of a water filter, that only costs $55. it uses the same technology as a kidney dialysis machine. families can use it and simply clean it out to maintain pure water.

my monthly water bill doesn't even cost $55 a month. it's way more. and this could help provide a family with pure water. for life.

i really felt like the Lord was saying ... "hellooooooo??????? you have been asking me to speak loudly about how you can help impact my kingdom. this may seem little to you, but it's huge to the family who will be getting pure water. for life." {of course, i'm not one to put words in God's mouth, that's just how i imagined it - most likely accompanied with an eye-roll, because my ignorance is often worthy of an eye-roll or two - to say the least}

so, all that to say, here is the cool part of the story. shortly after i had determined that we had to buy a water filter, erik calls me. he asks how i'm doing, if i made it to work ok, and then something else. i kind of cut him off to tell him i had been listening to klove. he said "ok, go on ..." and then i told him that we need to buy a water filter for a family who needs it. he said, "no way! i just wrote the phone number down to buy one! i KNOW we need to do that too!"

so there you go. it's a little thing. but we both heard His prompting and we both listened. how much bigger will God's prompting get when we both have ears for the little things? i'm confident it will get HUGE.

Monday, August 8, 2011

definition of summer: camping

A few weeks ago, I was in need of an adventure. I needed to rid myself of technology.
I needed to get out from the midst of the concrete jungle that is {insert any place surrounded by concrete here}. I had been talking to Erik for a while about how much I wanted (no, needed) to go camping. I didn't care if we went with a group of friends, or if it was just the two of us. It didn't matter. I just had this urge to get "out". Of course, work and commitments seemed to occupy every weekend we wanted to go.

Until one Friday morning. I'm standing in the kitchen in my sundress, with matching accessories, and curled hair. Clearly ready for the day ahead. Until Erik asked a question, with which the correct answer would require a wardrobe change. "Are you going to work today?" - "Umm, I was planning on it" (hence my dress and curled hair) - "Are you going to work the whole day?" - "I don't have to ... why?" (I had previously worked a ton of extra hours, and my boss had graciously given me the command to take some time off ... all week, when he walked in to see me at my desk, he asked, "what are you doing here???" to which, I responded, "well, I don't know what else to do!")

Erik then responded: "Let's go camping."


I then ran to work, stayed for approximately one hour, told my co-workers and boss I was leaving a little early (ha, only 7 hours early), and then I ran home (well, I didn't actually run, I drove, to be more specific). Changed from my pretty pink dress into shorts and a t-shirt (representing the ol' alma mater, of course), and helped my spontaneous hub move nearly the entire contents of our refrigerator into the cooler. Less than an hour and a half later, we were on the road. The road to an unknown place (really, we had no idea where we were going). It was beautiful.

We didn't drive too far, as we had to be back on Sunday afternoon for a memorial service. But we drove. Up. Into the tree tops. And then up some more. We drove in circles trying to find the perfect spot. We aren't the kind of people who pay money to sit 20 ft away from some guy's lawn chair. (not that there's anything wrong with that kind of camping ... I mean, hello childhood camping days).

Surrounded by trees, we 4-wheeled our way into a cove. The river wrapped around us. We reveled in the roar of the water. We gazed at the glittering sky above us. We reconnected. With each other, and with our maker.

Our pup was in heaven. We were at peace. I can't thank my sweet man enough for whisking me away to a mountain top far away from normal life. We both needed it and were so glad we took the opportunity of an un-scheduled weekend. Erik showed off his wood carving skills. I read a book (that's pretty rare if you know me at all). We blazed the river decorated with rocks - they served as perfect stepping {jumping} stones for our early morning adventure.

To say the least, our spontaneity served us well.