Sunday, January 25, 2015

Canada! It was pretty amazing...

Two weeks ago today I had no idea that I was starting one of the most amazing weeks of my life. The phrase "The time of my life" took on a whole new meaning.
Okay, back story. I turned the big 3-0 on December 23rd. My sweet baby brother had, much earlier in the year, begun work on a huge surprise. He put into play a plan to send me to Canada to meet my friend of 11 years, Jackie. Jackie and I actually met online and became the modern day version of pen pals (which did actually include some snail mail too!) and over the years, sharing many of life's ups and downs, we became fast friends. I tell people all of the time that I truly believe the Lord gave her to me. Well we've talked for years about meeting "someday" but that someday continued to elude us. Until January 12, 2015. Aside from the amazingness of actually, finally meeting her it was a crazy adventure in and of itself. I hadn't flown since a very young child, virtually no memory of it, so it was essentially my first time flying. And I was doing it alone! lol I told one of my piano students at one point when discussing his overseas trip with his dad that at least he had his dad with him, I had to pretend to be an adult! Haha The anticipation and foreignness of it really was what was killing. Turns out I love flying πŸ˜‹ I just told a friend last night (when discussing my trip for about the 100th time) that I don't understand how someone can come away from a flight not believing in the Lord. The whole experience is so amazing. It's secluding in a way like few other experiences so that it's really just you and Him up there. And even if you love it there's still a little bit of fear lol Which leads to more communication with the Lord. At one point too, the first time we took off, I was just in awe of how much of the world you could see at a glance. I was so, so far above everything that was going on below. And it occurred to me that that's the way it is with the Lord. Everything feels so big in our world. Interactions with people. Life moments. Incidents. And there are times when I fear that the Lord maybe can't see it all, can't keep up on everything, doesn't really know everything that's going on, and then I start trying to help Him πŸ˜• I know. I'm crazy. But I was very strongly reminded from my window seat as I saw a lot more below me than just my own small part of the world that that's how it is with the Lord. He sees the whole picture. He sees two people who are about to collide worlds. He sees the before and after of each little incident. He sees it all. And I need to remember that. So yeah, I got off the plane closer to the Lord than when I got on. It was pretty amazing.
Okay, I will try to speed this up instead of going day by day ... since I was gone for 6 days ... lol
Meeting Jackie and her lovely family was amazing. It was like meeting your best friend for the first time but you are already best friends 😊 I'd told my sister for years that I felt that Jackie and I was as close as we could be without meeting. So we filled each moment with all of the little bits of us that we'd never talked about or shared or asked. We filled in as many of the holes that we could. And I think we did a pretty good job too lol We stayed up late each night without fail. Tired or not! Haha We were limited on time and we felt it. But, it was still amazing 😊
We saw the sites, Lynde Shores, downtown Toronto, the Eaton Center, Ardenes (which I love!!!), country stores, dollar stores, Tim Hortons, and of course we had to go to Starbucks once. 😊 Something else we'd always talked about "someday". And it was amazing too. We sat and talked for over an hour and it was great. Filled in a few more of those little holes. Then there was Niagara Falls. Wow. Awesome doesn't describe it. To be completely honest, when I was younger I felt it was very clichΓ© and I didn't care about seeing it. But the older I've gotten the greater the desire to see it. And those who had been already and tried to describe it to me could not have prepared me for the awesome beauty. The roar you can hear long before you even get to the observation deck. The mist that fills the sky above the falls. The dark, emerald green of the water. The size of it! It was so beautiful. And then I would take two steps to my right or left and it was like seeing a whole new falls! haha Needless to say I took ... a bunch of pictures.
All of the sites were amazing but the people were the best part. Of course meeting Jackie for real finally. And she still liked me! Ha! Yes, I actually had a moment of fear where I thought maybe she wouldn't like me in person. πŸ˜‹ I got over it quickly. πŸ˜‰ Her adorable, sweet, so cute (oops, handsome. Sorry, Jedi πŸ˜‰ ) children. They were each so special and I didn't have half enough time to get to know them the way I would have loved to. I got to meet a good friend of Jackie's at church which was so exciting. I had heard so much about her and had such respect for her already that we hit it off instantly and I think maybe we could have talked an afternoon away had you given us a chance. I also got to me Jackie's family. Love her mama. She reminded me so much of my mama. Still a mama, even to her grown children 😊 Oh and when she talked about the light switches at church I knew I'd found a fellow servant πŸ˜‰ Had a great time hanging out with Jackie's sister one afternoon. It was so much fun to see the kids mess around with her. And I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow pianist/piano teacher! Might not seem like much but in my small part of the world I don't get to do that very often. The two hours we had weren't enough to fully explore styles and techniques like I'd hoped.
The whole trip ... oops! I left out Scott. Dear. Ornery. Scott. Haha He, just like everyone else, exceeded my expectations. His love for the Lord and His work and His people is exciting to see and his whole family was like that.
As I was saying, the whole trip was a perfect balance of sights and fellowship. It was an experience that I couldn't have prepared for. That I had no way of imagining how amazing it would be. My home-body trepidations were quickly scattered into the wind and I was only constantly mesmerized by the whole experience each moment of each day. I am beyond thankful to my family and friends who made it all possible. I was unbelievably, undeservedly blessed. And even with saying all of that I feel like it's just a drop in the bucket! But, if I continue I'll just have to write a book. 😊 So I'll just leave you there. 😊
I'll post more amazing pics on Facebook ☺️

Monday, January 5, 2015

But If Not....

So 2015 is chock full of plans already. And I'm freaking out. My comfort zone is being threatened in many ways. And as excited as I am for each adventure, each chance to grow without a normal life event, there is a definite air of nervousness. My heart is being challenged. Bottom line, I'm kind of a mess! lol I think we've already established that though.... And all of this stress is making me want to run in the wrong direction. I want to run towards what I think will calm and comfort me when I ought to be running to the Lord and resting in Him. The part that scares me the most though is that He might not do what I think He should do! Think I have a trust problem?? lol So amidst all of this stress and craziness I read a verse in Daniel today. Actually it was just three words, "But if not...". It's when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are being threatened with the fiery furnace if they won't bow down to the idol. They state that God can deliver them...if He chooses to...then they say, "But if not..." they still won't bow down. Because God is still God. Right is still right. And He is still good no matter what He does, not matter what we think He should do.
But if not....if He doesn't keep me from the fire...if He doesn't take away the pain...if He doesn't make things easier...if He doesn't give me what I think I want...if He doesn't ____....but if not. I will still love Him. I will still serve Him.
But if not....those three words have had a physical effect on my heart today. But's the effect I need to gird up and step forward in faith.