Living Life

A little bit over a week ago, God received one of His beautiful daughters into the care of His Heavenly home. She was one of my co-volunteers at the Christian Appalachian Project. When I saw the post on Facebook and then read the corresponding news article my initial thoughts were, “No way… No way… NO WAY!!! WHAT?!!!” She was 27. SO YOUNG. That’s one year older than me. I always pictured my 27th year as going to be the best year of my life – which is not really an important side-note, but nonetheless it suddenly seemed dampened.

Looking through the memorial on her Facebook page, I questioned God, Why? She had a passion for children and was great with them. She loved serving and her friends and her family, and Kentucky. As a matter of fact, she was on her way to visit friends in Kentucky when a car accident took her to her Heavenly home. Tomorrow is her funeral, and I pray for safe travels for her friends and family as they gather to celebrate the 27 years Jennifer spent blessing each and everyone of their lives, and for comfort as they mourn.

Now I realize that Jen is filled with so much love and joy in Heaven, unfathomable to us here on Earth, but throughout the weeks I can’t help but think about if that had been me, what I would be missing. There are so many parts of life that I LOVE. Simple things. Moments I hold dear. People I love spending time with. People I’d like to get to know better.

I get to be here on Earth. I get to live today, and each day until God takes me home too. I’m going to live my life to the fullest, bringing glory to God while enjoying the little things I love about it.

DSC_0380

I LOVE:

Hot showers in the winter months.  Runner’s high. Deep conversations with friends, especially the unexpected ones that continue late into the night. That feeling I get when I see and converse with the guy I like – a spark of energy keeping me awake because life in that moment is simply too wonderful to sleep. Belly-aching laughter with friends. Reminiscing loved ones with family members. Traveling. Road-trips. Dogs. Horseys. Pizza. When the worship team plays a song that my soul really needed to sing. The chance to be an auntie. Trying new things. Puddle-jumping! Coffee. Singing loud to my favorite tunes while driving. Making friends out of strangers. Cooking for guests. Using my time to help another. Grandparents. Sitting on a dock early in the morning watching ducks and loons glide across the otherwise still lake, as the morning birds sing. Turning to a verse in the Bible that really speaks to me. An epic blog post. Writing letters to friends and family. Watching God provide [even though it’s super scary at times]. Smiling. Learning a new song on the piano. Games. Yahtzee! Troll2 with J-Hood. Photo adventures. LONDON ❤ Big Ben. College basketball. Massages. Watching TV/movies. Saying something that makes someone else smile. Rodeos. Cowboy boots. A cheering crowd and medal after 13.1 miles of running. Haircuts. Visiting sites from movies/TV shows and taking pictures. Dreaming and hoping. Being grateful.

1102-130303 DSC_0403

Snow-Coated Transition

So I’ve been meaning to fill you all in on my first month at cleftRock. I have oftentimes compared it to cliff jumping. The before is exciting, exhilarating and this awesome unknown. So I run and run passionately in the direction of my dreams, and then I jump and it’s thrilling and scary and amazingly faith-filled. I’m flying! As the icy cold waters rush over me, at first, it feels all loving and refreshing and it consumes me. Then suddenly I remember in a panic, that I don’t know how to swim. All the important questions that I hadn’t asked because I was so excited to simply run away from where I was and fly to something else, something better. Now I’m thrashing, sinking and feeling less like I’m living my dreams, but more like I made a mistake, it’s dark, and I’m alone. Only after I allow myself to struggle for a bit too long, do I hear a still small voice saying, “Just float,” And I feel a gentle presence calming my heart, mind, and soul. I’m floating. I’m breathing steadily. God is guiding me along the river in the direction of our dreams. And for now I’m simply letting Him carry me along, and that’s all He needs me to do. Be still and know that I am God [Psalm 46:10].

From my perspective, I wrote this in a text message to a friend during my first week back after the holidays:

I got my car all packed with leftovers from my apt and then it wouldn’t start – deadzo. But I got a jump and my mechanic said itz alright so I headed to cR where I was attached by the flu [a going-away gift from Minnesota, [“Suck it Kentucky!”] so I was out all day Wednesday and all the while trying to persuade the mouse in my cabin to leave me and my stuff alone! Oh and yesterday on my run I was ferociously barked and nipped at by dogs on my road that hate me, as well as nearly tackled by a large playful dog that loves to leap!

That’s my week.

To add to this, my computer charger also died, so for a couple weeks I was without a laptop to watch movies [and since I don’t have a super smart phone, I also didn’t have access to wifi]… I felt drastically close to the characters of “Into the Woods.”

I WISH. MORE THAN ANYTHING. I WISH.

All the questions my family and friends had been asking hit me like a baseball bat to the gut. Oh I get it now, they were just caring by asking these questions, that I need to learn to consider before I jump into new experiences… Next time I’ll know.

I wish I would have heard this song during the the month of strugglefest, but alas, it’s encouraging to hear now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ

Life started getting better during team-building week. It saved cR me. I was able to open up to my very loving and accepting team about how I was actually doing, who I am and what I need to survive [aka socialization and LOTS OF HUGS!] 🙂 It was wonderful getting to know each of my teammates, as well as myself better.

Once I accepted I wasn’t completely alone, I remembered to actually listen to God. After one of the lovely snowfalls, I went for a photo walk with Jesus. He reminded me that even though this time is cold and uncomfortable, it is also very beautiful. I just need to refocus myself on God and all that He is doing and I will see the shimmering pure beauty of His creation, timing, and plan.

DSC_0160DSC_0128

Now this realization doesn’t make everything all better and/or easy, but doable. With God ALL is possible [Matthew 19:26]. Not an easy certain, but a hard-working, intentional POSSIBLE. Which is exactly how I foresee this cR journey to be, possible only through God, hard-but-good work, and intentional in every aspect, especially relational.

This month – February – cleftRock takes a sabbatical to practice what we preach and rest/rejuvenate. I realize it might seem silly considering I’ve only been working full-time with cleftRock for a month. But if you’ve followed me at all this past year, it’s been full of crazy transitions and leaps of faith. I must say I am quite exhausted. I will be traveling to see family in Indiana and Idaho, and would gracious accept prayers as I journey to socialize as much as possible 🙂 as well as train for my half-marathons [ferocious dog-free], and discern how God would like to provide for this cR journey – and what I need to do to help. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!!!