Places I love

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A National Geographic Kind of Day

Today was pretty much amazing!  

All I have to say is that God gave me an awesome day.  I had the house all to myself today and upon waking up I was really missing my hubs, but before I could feel sad for myself God grabbed my heart for an adventure!!!  God knows that sometimes I wish I had been a National Geographic photographer. I love animals and seeing the creativity of God in His creation. Well, today my Lord kept me company all day long with various animal sightings.

I felt like Snow White, creatures were flocking to my yard!  I want to share with you some of the pictures I took today. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did when I was taking them. 

This first set is of a coyote that wandered into our yard and while I was photographing him ate a baby bunny. It was very cool to see him catch it, but very sad for the baby bunny. 

The next set is of a variety of bird species that I witnessed throughout the day. Aren't they cool?!  The falcon in the middle made me jump for joy! I couldn't believe it. They are common up here but not seen that often! SO EXCITED!

The final grouping is of one bunny. I think this may be the Mama bunny whose baby got eaten by the coyote. She was chasing mag pie birds and running all over the place today. My heart broke for her. I think she may have been looking for her little baby. But, I'm pretty sure she knew it was gone and just wanted to birds out of her area. Poor bunny...

I had a really fun day playing professional photographer and enjoying God's creation.  Be blessed!


Friday, May 3, 2013


This day was full.  Full of a lot of things...

So, my day started out saying goodbye for three days to my husband, my Mister, the love of my life!!! This is the first time in 2 1/2 years that we have been apart for this long. I know, I know, it's only 3 days, but I'm seriously in love with this man!  Anyway, a Christian brother blessed Chris with a 3 day fishing adventure, so I dropped him off and off he went.

So, the quick version of my morning went like this:

* Dropped off my Mister
* Almost ran out of gas on the way home
* Made it home and scrounged for change in  our drawers, pockets, dishes, ash tray in vehicle, etc.
* Barely made it to gas station at bottom of hill where I used the few dollars left in checking account for gas to make it to bank.
* Made it to bank and cashed in my coin (Total $3.89) I know, I've got the big bucks...

Then I had to know how sometimes the hydrating hits you all at once?  Yep, I was there. So this is where an adventure began. I was near a King Sooper's so I thought, well, they have bathrooms, right? I shuffled in and guess what? I was met by a "Closed for Cleaning" sign and a large cart blocking my way. Only the women's was closed. I had 5 guys pass me going into their bathroom while I stood there, legs crossed.

Anyway, so a McDonald's was near so I stopped and went in. I rushed into the bathroom and was beat to the handicap stall by someone in a grey sweater. The only other stall in there was open and I rushed pass a very tiny little girl and a woman drying her hands to go in. As I turned to go in I stopped dead in my tracks. The scene to which I walked into all the sudden became clear. The little 2 year old girl, cute as could be, was standing there smiling at me with no pants on. The woman was not drying her hands but drying the little girls hot pink pants. I looked at them and looked at the toilet that was smeared with poo.

All I could think was, are you kidding...I'm going to have a bladder infection by the time I find a decent toilet! The woman smiled at me and said, "Um, yeah, we had ourselves a little accident and are in the process of cleaning it all up. Sorry." I smiled and said no problem, it happens. The little girl shrugged and said, "Yeah, it happens." I then said my goodbyes and ran out at which point I decided to go the library. I needed to do some writing anyway, so off I went, pressure building. Needless to say I was very thankful that the library was not that busy and the bathrooms were to my liking and I was able to find some relief.

When I settled into my library cubicle I was honestly on the verge of tears. The morning had worn me down. I say all the above jokingly because I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was literally praying one moment to the next. When my husband kissed me goodbye this morning, he prayed that this weekend would hold unexpected joys for us both. Well, God in His tender way of giving good gifts to His children answered that.

I sat at the library and a friend called me and asked me to meet her outside the library real quick. I walked out and she got out of her car with an envelope. She hugged me and said that she and her husband had been praying and that the envelope was for me, to keep doing what God has told me to do, and know that HE loves me. She hugged me and we cried. I put the envelope in my purse and she drove off. This was unexpected. When I took my seat, I opened the envelope that said "A Gift from Jehovah Jireh" and was shocked at what I found. God provided. He gave me an unexpected joy. God is so faithful and good. I broke down and cried my eyes out for a good 10-15 minutes. I could fill my gas tank. I could pay a bill. I could rest in God's provision.

When I got home, my parents decided that Chik-fil-A was making dinner tonight and we went and enjoyed ourselves. On the way home, we drove by an intersection where a group of people were gathered staring up into a tree. We turned around and it was an owl nest!  I LOVE ANIMALS!  God's creativity in animals never ceases to get me giddy and clapping like a little girl. There were three puffy owl babies and a Mama in the nest. My Mom and I got really excited and made my Dad drive home very fast so we could grab our binoculars and camera. My Mom and I rushed back down the hill and I took some pics.  It's a little blurry because it was getting dark, but still, aren't they AMAZING!!!! Also, it was awesome that they had boundaries put around them to protect them. It is a federal offense to disturb nesting owls so I was across the street and far away when I took this. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL!

So, this day started off full of strife and lack, but the day has ended with God's abundant provision and two unexpected joys. Both were a gift. One practical provision, the other an opportunity to enjoy God's creation. He knew what I needed and what would make my heart leap in excitement. This is the goodness of the Lord.

Thank you Jesus.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Rough Day

This has been a rough day, but my God and my husband love me so I think I’m going to make it.

Life is not easy at the moment.

My husband and I are both unemployed and have been since we returned from our 5 month training in Uganda, East Africa last year. Finances are tight. Well, let’s be honest, we have no finances but God has been faithful to provide a job here or there for my husband as we have needed food or gas.

We have had to go without many things for the last year and a half, but last week held one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make in our 2 ½ year marriage. My husband and I had to surrender our dog Phantom to a rescue shelter. If you are a dog person, you know that a dog is not just a dog, it is a family member. This last week we prayed without ceasing that God would provide more time for us to find jobs and be able to move somewhere that would allow Phantom, but that was not the answer He gave.  A foster family was found, and Phantom was taken to them, and our hearts were broken.

Some may say God didn’t answer our prayer, but as I have wept and grieved I have heard the soft whisper of the Lord to my heart. We and so many others prayed for more time for Phantom, but I think what God was doing was giving more time to my husband and I. A few weeks ago the thought of giving up our dog seemed unbearable and unthinkable. No way would that be God’s answer. However, over the weeks, as we have prayed and cried together God moved our hearts. It is a supernatural thing. God didn’t take away the pain. He didn’t end the suffering that comes from losing our precious little buddy. He didn’t provide a way for us in the way we thought He would.  

What God did do was show us the tenderness of His Father heart in giving us more time to let Phantom go. God did not traumatize our hearts and ask us to just suck up this difficult thing. God walked us through the time of uncertainty into a place of surrender. I think sometimes we think of surrender as a place where we scream out, “Ok fine God! Have your way!” And we huff and we puff and then fall into a heap of confusion and pain. I don’t believe God ever intended surrender to feel that way. As a Father, I think He gently and firmly holds onto whatever we have in our hands until we are able to let it go. I think His heart is to see us release that thing, whatever it is, and jump into His arms.

When He knew that Chris and I were ready to release Phantom if that is what it came to, He gently pulled him from our hands. We didn’t yell at God for not answering, we collapsed together onto our knees and wept with all our hearts with our Father’s arms around us. We wept knowing that not only was He holding tightly to us, but He was holding firmly to Phantom. Because Phantom matters to us, He matters to our God.  There is great peace in that truth.

I said before that today was a rough day. I woke up this morning and saw that my phone was flashing, indicating someone had commented on a Facebook comment I had made. The back story to this is that the sweet rescue that took Phantom for us had posted Phantom on their Facebook page to advocate for his adoption. They were amazing and so helpful and were integral in us being able to let him go. We knew he was going to be in good hands from the moment we first spoke to them on the phone.

Long story short, some woman (not associated with the rescue) had commented under Phantom’s photo that she was disgusted by us that we would give our dog up. She said directly to me that I wouldn’t give up a child would I? And in her exact words she said, “I’d live under a bridge with my dogs before I dumped them.” The rescue responded to the inappropriateness of this because they are professionals and I greatly appreciated that.

However, when I first saw the comment, before I had even set my feet on the floor to start my day, my heart broke. I know many of you reading this right now are reacting on my behalf to her comment, and believe me, some not so nice things went through my head too, but God revealed something to me. He showed me how far some people are from understanding God’s love.

This woman obviously thought we were selfish and looking after ourselves rather than Phantom. I sat there and thought, yeah, if we had kept him a bridge is exactly where we would be because there was no other option. So yes, we could be homeless with our dog and we would all be together, but we would have no food or shelter. I then looked at a picture of Phantom at his new foster home in a chair, on a blanket, relaxing and looking perfectly content. He was being cared for, taken in, put in a family. He didn’t look lonely or abandoned. He was being him in his new home.

I began to cry as I thought, hey, we did the selfless thing didn’t we God? Wouldn’t it have been selfish to keep him instead of putting our hearts aside to give him a chance of finding a family that can care for him right now in a way that we can’t? We gave up this dog that we loved to a shelter we knew would do their best to give him a chance at life.

My heart softened and broke as I thought about God and what His word says about His heart. He gave something up he loved in order for us to have a chance at life too. Yet, whereas this woman thinks love is about not giving up at all cost, God showed me that the harder kind of love is to make a choice that insures the best possible chance for the one that is loved, even if it is at great cost to you.  God’s way of loving is so far beyond mine.

He has revealed to us the tenderness of His Father’s heart to prepare us for something difficult to bear. He has shown His faithfulness in providing something good for the one that we could no longer provide for. He has given peace in the midst of loss knowing that what we no longer hold isn’t tossed to the side but held lovingly and firmly in His hand. Lastly, He has shown us that so many do not understand His love and reject the sacrifice He made for our good for the sake of clinging to what they think they can hold.

So, it's been a rough day. But regardless of having “nothing”, I can look up now and see my husband’s smile and the peace God has given him in the midst of our circumstances. I can look at these words I’ve written and know that without God the words I would write would be very different.

These are the times where God’s word is alive in us. This peace that passes all understanding that guards our hearts and our minds is present in us. And just for the record, I don't believe I have nothing, I believe I have everything that matters and the rest will come in time.  My husband's smile and the love of my Lord are more than enough.

Thank you Father.