Friday, March 28, 2014

just a touch of spring

Pear blossoms in the evening sun. Spring is finally starting to come!







Sunday, March 23, 2014

snapshots

Snapshots of our relaxing time in Florida.











Monday, March 17, 2014

Conquistadors and Pirates

Last month while there was an ice storm in our home town we headed south to sunny and warm Florida where we visited my grandparents and had the privilege to go on Landmark Event's tour in St. Augustine. Mr. Turley did a wonderful job planning a tour exploring pirates, the fountain of youth, conquistadors, early settlers, and more. Mr. Bill Potter and Colonel Eidsmoe were our wonderful and informative tour guides.  I've gone on numerous tours with Mr. Potter and he never ceases to amaze me with his wealth of knowledge. 









The legendary Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine. I have a couple things to say about it. 
First, it tastes horrible. 
Second, I was very disappointed to hear the the spring from this well actually provides the drinking water for most of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Deer Park and Dasani water also bottle water from this spring. So most likely you have drunk water from the fountain of youth and not even known it. Not as special and exclusive as I first thought it was. 





 Mr. Potter at Fort Caroline. 



On our last morning we visited the Pirate Museum, the only one of its kind in the world we were told.  It contained a lot of historical artifacts from pirates. Pictured above is Captain Kidd's family bible. Apparently, he did a lot of reading from it during his last days, though no sources report that he became a Christian. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Beauty in the Transparent




My natural tendency in life is to hide my struggles and hardships.  In fact, I think most people do. For whatever reason we want to live in our own little bubble and keep the hard things to ourselves so when we go out among friends everyone is wonderful and happy and we can escape the hardships waiting for us in our minds. But really, is this wise or Biblical? What if in the Bible none of the authors ever wrote about their faults or the struggles of others? But instead only wrote of triumphs, miracles, and encouragement. Those triumphs, miracles, and encouragement wouldn’t mean anything unless there was loss, sickness, and hardships beforehand. Those times of loss, failure, and confusion make a triumph all the more beautiful, when we can see how God orchestrated events and thoughts and plans to bring about His perfect will that is far more perfect than we could have ever imagined. 

What if Simon Peter never told anyone he denied Christ three times, and it was not recorded in the Scriptures? What if we had never heard of King David’s adultery and murder? We’d have a very different picture of these men and would see them almost as “supermen” instead of the sinful but godly men they were. The same applies to us. Part of remaining humble is to share struggles and sins. But so often our pride gets in the way and we prefer to post a rosy picture of ourselves and not share our true struggles.

When I think about when I’ve had the most encouragement either from a talk, sermon, friend, or advisor, they are the times when they have shared their struggles and shortcomings and then how they overcame it with Christ’s help. Now I’m not talking just about how I struggled with selfishness for the last couple of years, or depression early in my life. I’m talking about specifics, the nitty gritty, specific situations. Such as how I spoke rudely to a friend and how it damaged our relationship and then how we grew back together. Or how I used to say this thing to my husband and how it wounded him and caused strain in our marriage. Or how I was so self centered in my family and here are the examples of how it caused pain. 

Most Christians can say they’re struggling in their prayer life, or being too lazy with Bible reading, or lacking motivation for this and that and not feel too bad about it. It’s almost the “thing to do” to make it look like you’re a good Christian and aren’t too proud. But I ask myself, when was the last time I confessed a specific sin to a friend, or really shared what was on my heart and made myself vulnerable? Vulnerable. No one likes to feel vulnerable. Yet vulnerability is what draws true friends together. As bad as you might think your sin is, I can guarantee you many, many people have struggled with the same thing before. So do you want those around you and after you to struggle with the same thing again? Or would you rather share your struggles and how you dealt with it to encourage them in their Christian walk? James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Next time you’re with a dear Christian friend, share what struggles weigh on your heart. What sins are you fighting against right now? What lessons has God taught you recently? Name some of the ways God has answered your prayers in ways you never could have imagined. Share God’s unexpected blessings in your life. Give hope to those around you and share stories of God’s faithfulness. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Athens day 1

Our last stop on the trip was Athens. I've always wanted to visit Athens after seeing so many pictures of it in history books. The city of Athens isn't particularly nice, the economic downturn shows. Countless beautiful old buildings are abandoned, falling apart, and covered in graffiti. Sad.



The incredible view from our hotel room. This is the temple of Zeus. You can't see it in this picture but just to the left you can see the Acropolis. 

This is what most of the buildings look like, beauty underneath but hidden by dirt and graffiti. 


I was so excited this day. I felt like I had stepped into my history book. 

This is Mars Hill. It's right next to the Acropolis and is the hill where Paul gave his talk in Acts 17. Like the previous Biblical places we had visited, to be where Paul spoke is very moving. 
Pastor Morecraft gave a wonderful talk walking us through Acts 17. 




This is the Antikythera. The function is written below. The most amazing part of this device is how old it is, before Christ, and yet they knew how to measure the placement of the sun, moon, and tides. 



There is one big rule in Europe. Eat gelato. It's 100 times better than the US. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Day

Snow days are incredibly rare around these parts, once every couple of years. So we take full advantage of them once they come.














We don't have sleds around here, or hills. So we take our ocean toys (boogie boards) and use them to slide across the street on the ice. Northerners can laugh all they want, we still enjoyed it.