Monday, December 28, 2009

My Texas White Christmas!

Riding horses on a sunny 70's December day

Building a snowman after the blizzard came the next day!

Bundled up in our stylish parkas for the ice sculpture exhibit

Singing Christmas carols with the family

Making Christmas goodies (and eating them!)

Remembering the true meaning of Christmas

All is calm, all is bright.
Wishing you a beautiful Christmas season and a New Year full of joy and peace!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What do I know?

Addison Road has done it again. Written a beautiful, stirring song that reaches to the depths of me with lyrics that speak to my soul.

I remember listening to their song, "Hope Now," on the way home from one of my doctor visits during my PCOS appointments. The words encouraging me to have hope in the One who created me, the One who sees the whole picture and not just the moment. That when we feel broken down by the world, His love sets us free, as the songs says.

And now I've been hearing another song on the radio, "What Do I Know of Holy?" I was sold on it the first time I heard it. Letting the words sink in during a time when I'm learning that life cannot fit in the perfect little box we'd like it to...and neither does God.

"I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small...
I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees"

I know I've made Him too small at times. Snuggled up for my prayer time with my Father, ready with multiple hopes, sorrows, supplications. Focusing on my life, my little world.

But it's not my little world. It's His. It's all His. And it's huge. I make Him too small when I am only concerned about what He can do for me. With where I am at this moment in life. The small portion in front of me instead of the big picture in front of Him.

Not that He doesn't care. Because He does. With a never-ending, unconditional, amazing love.

Yet when I focus solely on my limited vision and my struggles, I need to be careful not to make myself the god. Not to think I am the one things should revolve around. "What do I know of holy?" The one who "spoke me into motion"? The "God who gave life its name"? Am I remembering his power and his might and his perfection? Am I realizing that if I saw Him in all His glory, I would fall to my knees? The qualities that make God so mysterious and huge and beyond my human thoughts are the same qualities that make His personal love, His willingness and desire to be part of our individual lives so amazing.

That a God we still can barely comprehend wants to be close to us. He doesn't mind that we can do so little compared to what He has done for us.

As we begin Advent, preparing for the birth of Jesus, I feel so incredibly blessed...

that we serve a God who is so infinitely above us, but who comes down to our level to bring us to Him. That the God who created the universe sent His Son to become one of us, that we would not be afraid to come to Him.

What do I know of holy? Maybe not much...but the Holy One asks me to follow Him, to learn to know Him. And though today I may only know a fraction of Who He really is, I have the hope of all of eternity to keep learning.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Letting Go

God speaks to us in the little things, often when we least expect it...but when we need it most.

So many internal struggles had been building. Worries about this, frustrations about that. Uncertainties, unknowns, fears. Giving them to God was something I knew I needed to do in my head, but something my heart found difficult to do. And so I carried them with me, despite how they weighed down my spirit.

On a typical Thursday morning a few weeks ago, I worked in the stress test room in Cardiology. We had our usual line-up of patients. Everything is specifically timed and must run like clockwork for a smooth day.

Our third patient of the morning arrived. A middle-aged man with thick glasses, clutching a book. I sensed something different about him. When I looked into his eyes and saw the lack of focus. When I heard him speak and listened to his words. When I read the diagnoses on his chart.

He was legally blind.

And he had schizophrenia.

There's a special place in my heart for those with mental illness. Going through my psychiatric nursing clinicals in school allowed me to see into the hearts and minds of the patients. And you just don't look at mental illness the same again.

Throughout the morning, the patient was friendly and talkative. Optimistic even though we were performing a test that was attempting to determine is the arteries of his heart were blocked. I realized the Source of his joy when I saw that the book he was clutching was his Bible. My heart was touched, but I continued with the day's duties, anxious to stay on time.

As I mixed his IV medications, I overheard him chattering to the other nurse. He was discussing the struggles he had gone through and how his faith helped him in difficult times.

I stood behind the room curtain listening, amazed at the beauty of this man. Everything in me urged me to take his words to heart-- to believe that his message was for me, that God wanted me to listen to his words. God was manifesting Himself through this man. Allowing me to see the beauty and wonder of a soul that trusts in the Lord.

And then, in the patient's sweet and simple way, he shared the thought he treasures most from his case worker:

"Let go and let God."

I've seen the statement on bulletin boards; I've read it in print. But it has never had the power it had that moment when this helpless patient spoke it from his heart.

'Let' is such a big word, he said. And he's right. How difficult it is for us to let go, to release our grip from things that are safer in the hands of the Father anyway.

Today my patient came in again for the results of his stress test.

They were abnormal.

But he and I both know he'll be okay. He knows the One who makes all things new. He knows how to let go, how to give his uncertainties and fears in exchange for strength and courage.

He may be thankful for the care the nurses have given him. But I'm thankful for what he has given us.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"A Peek Into My Day" Carnival

So I've been really, really behind in my blogging. The longer the break I take from blogging or journaling, the harder it is to start back up. .

I thought the YLCF blog carnvial would be a perfect time to get back in the swing of things, so without further is a day in my life:

8:20am Ahh, the joys of sleeping in on a Saturday. The joy is usually short-lived. I love the feeling of sleeping in, just not the feeling of my day beginning late!

8:30am Morning prayer time with Jesus. These days are ones of adjustment as my family finishes our first week in the new house. I'm not the best person to deal with change, so I soak up my time with the Lord, drawing strength and grace for the day.

9:00am Breakfast time! A quick one today-- yummy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

9am-12pm Spent the morning doing little things around the house: tidying my room, reading new books from the library, chatting on the phone with Grant, working on to-do list for church CCD class, playing with Micah in the leaves. He's not only the cutest and smartest dog in the world (a little prejudice on my part, perhaps) but he is also oh-so-fun to play tag with! We took a short walk down the road; it was rather windy and chilly. The beautiful fall colors are coming to an end.

12:30pm Lunchtime with my family, then I pack to spend the night with my married sister for some girl time! Her husband and father-in-law are working outside, so I'm more then happy to keep her company.

1:00pm I stop at the library to look for a movie to watch...and an hour goes by before I leave. But I have a stack of books and movies, so all is well!

2:00pm I stop at the video store because the library just didn't have any fun chick flicks that we were in the mood for. "You've Got Mail" is the title I settle on for tonight. Meg Ryan and a PG rating-- sounds good to me!

3:00pm I arrive at the charming farmhouse where my sis and her husband live. We spend the afternoon chatting and listening to music while home-making greeting cards. I'm so grateful for my sister and the time we can spend together. We both have our struggles and challenges but I'm encouraged and inspired when I'm with her. She has a beautiful home, a loving husband, and an abiding faith. I want to be just like her.

5:00pm Crafting makes us hungry! We leave for the little town Subway and bring back sandwiches for us and the men. The men join us for supper and then return to their work. Kendra and I clean up the kitchen and settle in for the movie.

7:00-9:30pm Snuggled up on the couch and chair, we enjoy our chick flick, despite a few scratches on the DVD.

9:30pm Jeremy comes in for the evening and the three of us pray the rosary and then chat for awhile.

9:15pm (No, I'm not out of order. Jeremy turned back the clock for daylight savings time! hee hee) I have my own evening time with the Lord and then read a few chapters from my library books.

9:45pm My day ends with a phone call to my man, discussing our days, our upcoming time together, and anything in between. :)

10:30pm Time for bed. I get to sleep in the spare room and I'm every bit as delighted with spare rooms as Anne Shirley. Goodnight, world.

YLCF Blog Carnival

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Approach of a New Season

I love the change of seasons. I get this little thrill just thinking about colorful leaves and orchard apples and gorgeous fall sunsets.

Except that entering a new season means leaving the old.

I was washing dishes tonight, looking out the window at the evidence of fall's approach. (Washing dishes is a perfect time for thinking and dreaming, you know? *wink*) I've looked out that window for years and years and I've washed countless dishes there. But when my family moves in a little over a month, I won't wash dishes there anymore. I won't watch the wildflowers dancing or see the sunlight glisten on the pond.

This home has woven its way into my heart-- "The Evergreens" as I affectionately called it during my pre-teen, Anne-of-Green-Gables-obsessed years (although I admit that I'm still obsessed with Anne!). So many memories here. I love the fields, the woods, the country roads. My little garden. My birch tree, "The White Lady" (more Anne-inspired names!). Leaving all of it is like trying to pull apart the threads that have been knitted in my heart-- it hurts.

But while I leave behind the places I love, I don't leave behind the people I love. Nor do I leave the memories. Memories are forever just as family is forever.

The old season gently fades, and the new one begins to unfold, an exciting adventure with its own unique beauty if we only have the eyes to see it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Life is Beautiful When...

-a patient in cardiology brings surprise lilies for the nurses

-my co-worker and friend finds out her melanoma surgery was successful

-my twin brothers celebrate their 19th birthday (my baby bros are growing up!)

-my family laughs during a Scattergories game

-I take a convertible ride with my Micah in the passenger seat

-God works in my heart and reminds me once again of His unconditional love

-I see the workings of the Spirit in my teens at church

And finally, life is oh-so-beautiful when...

-I'm leaving tomorrow for the Army base to meet my man on his return from Iraq!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Looking to Him for Joy

I heard it again today at church. Psalm 34:6. Didn't we have that verse last Sunday, too? Sure enough, I flipped through the pages to last week's Bible readings and it popped up again.

Hmm. Was God trying to tell me something? It's a good thing He doesn't mind repeating things when I just don't get it the first time!

Psalm 34:6 says, "Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy." There's a lot of good stuff packed in that short little verse...

Joy. That quality that every Christian is supposed to bubbling with. A smile always on our face. Positive thoughts and words always in my mind and on the tip of my tongue. Never a worry or a fear.


Not so much. One of my favorite definitions of joy is this: "Joy is that deep-settled confidence that God is in control of every area of your life." Wow. That doesn't sound like superficial smiles or trite sayings. Deep-settled confidence. Knowing God is in control.

That sounds more like a choice, a decision. Not a fleeting emotion.

And to make that decision, we "look to Him." He is the source of joy. We can only find that deep-settled confidence by looking to Him. If we are seeking Him, learning more about Who He is and about His amazing love, how can we not choose to have joy?

And when we have that true joy, then we will be radiant. Only when we have spent time with the Source of joy will we be able to share it, to radiate it, to others.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"I am a princess. All girls are."

When invited to a princess party, it's best to dress like a princess.
Because as Sara Crewe said, all girls are princesses, right?
(Me with Grant's niece Rosemary)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Little Thoughts

Life is beautiful…

-when the sun smiles down as I walk barefoot through the grass.

-when the smell of baking bread floats from the oven.

-when I cherish the moment and enjoy a bike ride with my family.

-when a call from my man in Iraq brightens my day and warms my heart.

-when we both get excited about the countdown until his homecoming.

-when I realize that once again I need to focus on my Jesus so that I can walk on water instead of sinking below the waves of life.

-when “the peace of God, which passes all understanding” is within my heart.

-when I understand that trials are a part of life and they do not necessarily mean we have wandered outside of God’s path for us, but that He is right beside us bringing good from the difficulties.

-when I see that life, rather than being a fearful unknown, is a joyful adventure.

Monday, June 22, 2009

When the storms come

The past week has been stormy. Not the exciting, gives-me-delicious-shivers type of thunderstorms outside, but the emotional storms within. Work was stressful. My hormonal workup blood draw is coming up this week. I miss Grant. My dad's job is unstable.

And my friend at work was diagnosed with melanoma.

I'll never forget last Thursday morning when she first heard the news. The cardiology girls gathered around her, sharing tears and hugs and heartache. A million thoughts running through our heads and yet not knowing what to think at all. The fears and the questions. The what if's and the why's.

On Sunday at church, I listened as the Gospel of Mark was read, chapter 4, verses 35-41. The Apostles on the storm-rocked boat...fearful, questioning. Wondering about the outcome.

So they went to Jesus.

I love the fact that He wasn't worried about the storm. That the wind and the crashing sea were nothing that He couldn't handle, nothing unexpected or surprising. Yet He cared about His followers, knew their fear...

And calmed the storm.

My friend had an appointment today with her doctor. He was reassuring and encouraging. The lesion is so unusual that it's possible it isn't melanoma after all. She will still have to undergo testing, but there is hope.

I know that the Lord is close when storms rage in our lives. I know that even when it may seem like He is sleeping, He is very much aware of what is going on. He knows our fears and our questions, our hopes and our hurts. When we come to Him, He will either help us weather the difficulties--or He will calm the storm.

Because He is the one "even the wind and the sea obey."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Fun at Cedar Point

Waiting in line for the Top Thrill Dragster...note how well our happy, carefree smiles mask the fear beneath...

120mph is just a little fast for me...

My brothers and me...with the Power Tower looming behind us

Paying time at the old western jail

Let's try a gentle coaster now, shall we? These were my last moments with those nifty, blue-rimmed $1 sunglasses-- someone stole them while I waited in line for the next ride. Peter thinks I am better off without them. And maybe he's right as I look at this picture...

Ah, summertime memories.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts from Jeremiah

I've read it over and over and over again. In the morning on the way to work. Driving home from an appointment with my doctor. When I'm lonely and wishing Grant was there driving instead of me.

And it speaks to my heart and mind every time.

I first read Jeremiah 17:7-8 during the season of Lent. It was in a devotional I was using and the words were just what I needed that day. I tore the page out (don't worry, the devotional was just for 2009!) and posted it on the dashboard in my car to remind me of God's promises in that passage.

And now I realize the words weren't just what I needed that day...but words that I need every day.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord

Ah, that word 'trust.' Such a difficult thing for us as humans, whether it be trust in one other or trust in the One above. Why is that? Are we afraid that to trust another means to become vulnerable, to risk our well-being (and fragile emotions!) to someone besides ourselves? Yet despite what it seems, to surrender that control to the Lord, to humbly admit we can't do it on our own, brings such peace--and blessings, as the verse says.

Whose hope is the Lord

Hope is one of my favourite words. The true meaning of it is so deep, so rich. Hope brings meaning and purpose to life. To hope means to hold on to the belief that good things are coming, that God has a good plan even if it's not like our plan.

He is like the tree planted besides the waters, that stretches out its roots to the stream

When I choose to trust in the Lord and let Him be my hope, I am stretching out my roots to His waters of grace, quenching my thirsty soul.

It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green

Trust and hope dispel fear. When we place our trust in God, not in a certain outcome, we know that no matter what happens, He is still God our Father with a good plan for His children. When the heat of difficulties come, we can withstand the fire and come out with new growth.

In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.

In times of waiting or even in times when I see nothing coming of my efforts to become who I want to be, I can wait patiently. I can continue to serve the Lord the best I am able, trusting He is working in my life quietly, and that someday I will see the fruits of this season.

-Jeremiah 17:7-8

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Thoughts

My friend Chantel wrote an excellent post on Memorial Day that you can read at It sums up so many of my heartthoughts this weekend.

We had a special outdoor Memorial Day service after church on Sunday. I stood there alone with a heart full of emotions and eyes full of tears. I thought of my man working long, tiring days in Iraq. I thought of the soldiers from wars past as one of the men read a letter written by a Civil War soldier to his wife a week before he died. And as I watched our beautiful flag in the breeze and heard the mournful sound of Taps, I thought of the families of the five soldiers who were killed last month in Mosul.

Then I felt a hand on my shoulder and I turned to see my dad standing beside me, with tears in his own eyes. I knew his thoughts were close to my own. We stood together silently. Just knowing he was beside me at that moment, supporting both me and Grant, meant the world to me.

I am oh-so-proud of my soldier. And of all the men and women fighting with him to protect our country. And of those who have given everything they had-- their very lives--for our nation. I am indebted to their service. I am thankful for their sacrifice.

Because I love this country with all my heart.

May God bless America and bring us back to following Him as a nation.

Lived, Laughed...and Loved Every Minute

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Please pray

Five U.S. soldiers killed in Mosul, Iraq truck bombing.

Mosul. That's where Grant is stationed.

Yesterday evening I called Grant's mom to see how she and the family were doing. I was concerned about the Texas wildfires near them. She thought I was calling about the Mosul headlines and asked if I had heard.

I hadn't. And I fell apart.

I hadn't heard from Grant for two days and now all the 'what ifs' came flooding in. Grant's mom comforted me and encouraged me to trust in the Lord. She was my Titus 2 woman, a beautiful example of strength and faith.

But in the darkness of the night, fear will threaten faith. I tried Grant's cell phone twice, listening to it ring over and over and over again. I emailed him, asking him just to let me know he was okay. I looked at the handwritten letter on the table I had just gotten in the mail that morning. I looked at the pictures of us on my desk. I cried. And I prayed.

Then in the middle of the night I heard the beep of an incoming text message on my phone-- "I'm ok." They had been on blackout with no phones or email due to the tragedy. My nightmare was over.

Yet for the families of those other five soldiers, the nightmare continues. In the same breath that I praise God and thank Him that my Grant is safe, I pray for them. While the fear is lifted from my heart, the ache remains because there are those who will not get an "I'm ok" text. Who do not get one more chance to say "I love you." Who never wanted their soldier to come home in this way.

On the eve of our beloved Lord's rising, it's so hard to think of the deaths of these heroes and the pain of their families. I don't understand it. I know that there is meaning in suffering. That we serve a God who brings healing and victory over death. And a God who knows what it is like to lose a Son. Yet some things seem unanswerable.

Be with their families, Lord.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

He understands

Last night I watched The Passion of the Christ with the teens at church. Even though I've seen it several times before, it was still able to touch me in a fresh and personal way. A way that reminded me of Jesus' humanity and what that means for me.

Seeing the character of Jesus in The Passion is unlike so many other portrayals of Jesus because, well, He just seems so...human. There is no aura of light surrounding him. No bright rays from heaven shining down upon him. No throne from which He rules.

Instead He looks just like us. He smiles like we do. He sweats like we do. He bleeds like we do. He even laughs like we do.

He laughs with Mary in a scene from the past. And then He looks at her from beneath the cross with blood and sorrow in His eyes. He shares a meal with His friends. And then He watches them run away in the hour of darkness.

This is a God who knows what joy is. What heartache feels like. How laughter lifts us up. How pain weighs us down.

I realize not only does He understand this because He is an all-knowing God, but He understands because He became man. Because He took on flesh like my flesh, with a heart like my heart. He worked. He cried. He laughed. He knows what it is like to be human.

And that comforts me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The God of Hope

Are those cobwebs I see in the corner of the page? I know it's been awhile since I've posted...over a month...and I'm feeling out of shape when it comes to blogging...but I had some thoughts to share, so here I am.

I was reading my CCD book the other day preparing a lesson for the kids when I came across this quote from Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical "God Is Love."

He says, "there are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that in the end we are only instruments in the Lord's hands. This knowledge frees us from...thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord."

There's a lot to digest there, but I love it. These days, it is so easy to become discouraged with the world's problems and burdens. Grant was telling me about the recent news on 'custom babies' and on euthanasia for terminal patients. I read in the newspaper about President Obama's recent increase in funding for embryonic stem cell research. Two high school kids in the area recented committed suicide. My coworkers' husbands are losing their jobs in the plummeting economy. Immorality. Sadness. Despair. In the midst of these, what can I do?

Simply what the pope said: Do what we can and entrust the rest to the Lord.

That's comforting. The weight of these burdens is eased by the fact that I can't solve the world's issues on my own. Only God can. I simply need to be available to Him, ready to be used in whatever way He leads. That takes humility. But it brings joy and hope and peace.

Joy, because I can find beauty and a light heart in today's blessings knowing He is in control of the future. Hope, because I serve a good God with a perfect plan for His children. And peace, because I have no need for worry when my heart is full of joy and hope.

Such were my thoughts earlier today...and tonight, when I read my daily devotional, I smiled at the Lord's timing as I read this verse:

"May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Ski Trip Adventure

We took the teens from church on a ski trip a couple weeks ago. And I'll never be the same. Okay, maybe it didn't scar me for life but it gave me enough paranoia that I might need some Xanax or Ativan for that girls' retreat in Michigan coming up this month.

We met at church bright and early that day. If there was any concern with my driving abilities at such an early hour, those doubts would soon vanish. Trust me, I was wide awake as I rounded the corner of the church to the vans being loaded, only to see the back van door slam and glass shatter. And the shocked look on the face of the guy who had slammed it.

Life happens. So we cleaned up the glass and used some duct tape and plastic to take its place, and then were on our way. 20 degree weather with several inches of snow-- perfect for skiing, not so much for driving. Especially when I'm driving a 12 passenger van that is not mine. The roads were covered with packed snow and patches of ice. Even the interstate wasn't as clear as I had hoped.

Enter, I mean, adventure...#2. My windshield would not stay clear of slush. I tried the wiper fluid, but it was empty. The windshield wipers were no match for the sticky, icy mess without wiper fluid. So we stopped on the side of the turnpike-- yeah, where it says only to stop for emergences--and thankfully, one of the other drivers had some wiper fluid for me.

Off we go again. My teens seemed rather oblivious to any dangerous road conditions at times, particularly when I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw feet where their heads should be. I calmly explained to them that I prefer them buckled since I'm responsible. Yes, you may have some snacks, but you don't need to flip over the seats to get to them.

Ah. The window was patched, the windshields were clear. What more could happen? Only that my van decided to have convulsions when I used the brakes. Gary suggested it may be from a problem with the anti-lock brakes on the right side...that made me feel so much better? I decided that was not the source of the problem, however, when the van stalled at the turnpike station--about 10 feet before we reached the station.

Since I'm writing this, you can guess the end of the story. We arrived safely at our destination and enjoyed a day of skiing, snowboarding, and falling down the slopes. One of the girls lost her ski goggles. A couple of people from our group accidentally went down a Black Diamond. My skis were sized wrong and I didn't realize it until I was putting them on by one of the slopes.

All in all, though, it really was a fun day. The Lord had His hand on us and taught us some things about faith. He is good. Life is beautiful. But I'm still hesitant to go on that trip with the girls this month...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Delightfully Insignificant

With a full mind and confused heart, cabin fever wasn't helping. Feeling the need for some fresh air and surroundings, I piled on the snow gear and trekked to the woods with my faithful dogs. As I headed back via the path in our field, I felt refreshed already. How could I not when Micah skipped and jumped and smiled the whole way?

And then I entered a snow-covered Narnia. Stillness. Peace. Beauty. It was my tryst with the past. I made a snow angel, tasted some fresh snow, and swung on the tree swing. I visited all my old haunts, reminiscing about the imaginative games we played as kids. It was magical. I felt almost as if I had walked back in time. It was good to step away from the present and its concerns and confusion.

Looking up at the clear blue sky and around at the pure snow, I felt delightfully insignificant. I felt very small in this vastness, yet I knew the God who created it all. And He wanted to know me. He was immeasurably greater than all of this-- yet cares for me individually. He was big enough to hold and mend all my worries and fears.

Those worries seemed insignificant anyway in the simplicity of the moment. Life is not as complicated as I make it. I just need to take note from His other creations to see that. The trees in the woods-- they wait patiently and quietly for spring, keeping their branches raised to their Creator. My dogs-- they aren't worried about the future but are more concerned with living each moment to the fullest.

I don't need to have my life figured out. I just need to wait patiently and quietly for the next step to be revealed, living each moment to the fullest, with my arms raised to the One who does have it all figured out.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Waiting with patience and Living with purpose

"You're not alone, For I am here,
Let me wipe away your every tear,
My love, I've never left your side,
I have seen you through the darkest night,
And I'm the one who's loved you all your life,
Faithful and true, Forever, Oh my love will carry you."

-"You're Not Alone," Meredith Andrews

I love when God sends us songs on the radio at just the right moment. I had been talking on the phone with Grant not too long before and found out that his 2 week leave from Iraq is being pushed later, possibly even to April instead of the February I had hoped for.

All of a sudden I realized how much I had been planning on that February visit. How the waiting was difficult, but at least I could begin to say we might see each other next month. I knew it was tentative, as almost everything is in the Army, but still my heart kept this hope alive for February. And there would be more days, more weeks, another month or two before we would be together.

As I tried to find strength somewhere within, this song came on the Christian radio station. I heard the beautiful lyrics and was reminded I am not alone. Even though Grant can't be here with me, the Lord has never left my side. Jesus, my greatest love, has seen me through dark nights before. He is the One who has loved me all my life, long before Grant and I knew each other. And so I rest in Him, knowing that His plan is best. I carry Grant's love in my heart, and allow my Savior's love to carry me.

My New Year's resolution this year is to have a patient heart. This is my fourth year in choosing a quality of heart to work on so I can be more like my Savior. A thankful heart in 2006, a hopeful heart in 2007, a joyful heart in 2008, and now a patient heart in 2009. It's definitely appropriate this year as I wait for Grant's safe return. Yet it's more than that. It's a quality I want to permeate my whole life. Instead of the rushing, multi-tasking, busy mentality of today, I want to seek quietness, patience, and purpose. Life is so beautiful when we take the time to truly live it.