Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Oh the Joy of Autumn!

Since I have so much extra time these days, I've had the chance to do lots of fun fall activities. It's an added blessing to be able to enjoy another autumn here in PA! I love fall!!!! Fall leaves fall!!! Dance and spin on your merry journey down to earth!!

Ahhhhh!! Who could resist going on a hay ride and searching for the perfect pumpkin?! My friends, Steve, Sunny and Serena live near Elizabethtown and one weekend we visited a pumpkin farm in order to do just that.

Here's the Lanford family on our hay ride

Here I am with my conquest: a pumpkin! I had to go on a pumpkin hunt because the weeds were so tall and it was hard to find pumpkins. ((Oh where oh where oh where is my pumpkin!))*

*Note: any time there is a ((something)) it indicates that whatever is inside should be sung.

My old Stillwaters' roomie, Mandy and I decided to go on a hiking adventure on Hawk Mountain. We went with Mandy's dad binoculars and created our own personalized hiking route from the available trails. The problem came when one part of our route took us on the "most difficult" blue trail. We picked up the blue trail off of the main outlook (where I saw an eagle!!) and we couldn't find it at first until I realized that it dropped right off the side of the lookout! Although this trail was supposed to be used by experienced hikers, Mandy and I forged ahead and literally climbed down the mountain over huge boulders. It was slow going and a little scary at times but we made it, crossed over to the red trail and went in search of the orange trail. We were walking along our merry way when I realized something was amiss: no red marks on the trees!! Somehow, thankfully we intercepted our trail somewhere and climbed, climbed, climbed up the mountain. Phew! We were out of breath... what a hike! I can tell you that my arms and legs were pretty sore that week.

How could I forget all my lovely fall walks? I've been taking long walks at Peace Valley Park and the Perkiomen Trail (my goal is to walk every part of this trail). It's a wonderful way to get in shape before I go, memorize verses and talk to God in the middle of beauteous scenery.

Here's some autumn snapshots!

Peace Valley Park

The Perkiomen Trail

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why Am I Still Here?

The question of why has been bothering me recently. Not because I am doubting God's plan or anything. My heart is still clinging to a deep trust even as I wonder why. It's good to ask "why" sometime because it makes you evaluate where you are at and where your faith and trust is resting.

I'm still here and there has to be some reason! Unfortunately, that leads me to more questions:

1. All a part of God's plan!
Does God have some mysterious reasoning in all of this? Like something that He wants to teach me or connections that He wants me to make? Is this extra time a part of a gift to me to allow me to enjoy another fall, some in-between time and the chance to scrapbook my life from the past 7 years?

2. Culpa mia (the culprit looks like me)
Or am I still here because I'm crummy at this support raising thing? Have I been so bad at connecting with people in the last 4 years that now I'm paying the consequences of not having enough supporters? Am I afraid to ask people? Does pride keep me from asking for support? Is there more that I should be doing or should have done??

3. The Devil Made me do it
Maybe Satan is doing stuff to hold me back from what God wants. After all, why would he want me to commit my life to full-time missions? It's no good news for his plans if my full-time focus is telling people about Jesus. Maybe he has sent out his nasty little demons to distract people from supporting me, to have them lose their response cards or just forget to respond!

Okay so the last one was a little silly but I wonder if my answer to the question of "Why?" should be "all of the above." Is there a piece of truth in all of these answers? There could be and maybe it's okay to not exactly know why.

Perhaps my concern should be more on what I'm doing with this time. Am I continuing to trust? Am I using my time wisely? Am I seeking the Lord to make sure that I'm being obedient in all this? I can ask questions all that I want but the most important thing is my heart's attitude. Will I choose to be grumpy about the delay or choose to rejoice in what God is doing in the delay?

I pray that my response will please the heart of the God who has called me, keeps me and continues guide me along the way.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cracker the Tracker Blows a Gasket

Hallelujah, my car no longer sounds like a lawnmower! Thankfully, it was only a blown gasket that caused my car to sound like the exhaust system was gonna explode at any minute. Now I can again stealthfully glide through the streets of Souderton without letting the whole world know that I'm coming!

I'm going to have to say goodbye to my faithful Tracker as I head off to another country. My little car really has served me well for the past eight years. There have only been a few major problems along the way. Of course, the older it gets, the more strange things start happening. So, in honor of my Geo buddy, I've compiled a list of Cracker's Perks & Quirks

Here are Cracker the Tracker's Perks & Quirks:

Top Ten Perks:

1. It's a red convertible
2. You can ascend and descend from it instead of feeling like you are crawling into a hole.
3. It's spacious on the inside even though it looks compact on the outside
4. It has a new catalytic converter
5. The sound system/cd player still works
6. The windows are large -- you can see the world!
7. The horn sounds so cute!
8. It's got a fun "oh, snot!"bar on the passenger side for when you feel like off-roading it
9. The driver's side door will never fall off again
10. It's easy to parallel park and do 3 pt turns!

Top Ten Quirks:

1. It's a convertible so you can hear the sounds of the highway -- woosh
2. the back door has been permanently shut since 2003 and "the incident with the mice"
3. the gaskets have blown twice within the last 5000 miles
4. it's got a lot of the original wires and parts that aren't available except in junk yards
5. a cd player + a vehicle where you can feel the road = skips (just ask the Derstine bros.)
6. the drivers window sometimes has to be fidgeted with in order to get up or down
7. the horn works only sometimes (not at this moment but it may work tomorrow)
8. don't try to off-road it because the car is only 2 wheel drive and will get stuck!
9. the driver's side door is welded on...so don't smash it in an accident
10. the check engine light likes to come on and off depending on your mileage

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Peacefully Leaping into the Unknown

Today I took a walk around Peace Valley Park. This time I was prepared with my water bottle and sneakers (unlike when Bekah and I decided to spontaneously go around the lake and two hours later we made it to the end with blisters and dehydration in tow). It was such a beautiful day! The leaves were dancing, the skies were blue and so clear and the wind was blowing....what rich colors -- greens and blues! The lake was being blown about by the wind. It the middle were the ridges on the water but the edges where the wind was hitting it directly, the water looked like glass -- smooth and straight. As I looked at the lake I thought of the peace that comes when the Spirit is directly moving in your life. The places of the lake where the wind was hitting directly were smooth and I was praying for the kind of peace that was a direct result of the Spirit whispering so close to my heart.

What a season of trust God has brought me to! I am totally dependent on Him -- He's called me to go to Peru and I'm waiting to see how God will bring it into reality. It's such a burden to think about raising the funds that you need to live for 3 years. I guess the point is to realize that it's not my burden to carry but His. He is the one who called me and He is the one who will provide! So, I've said goodbye to my old life and there's no turning back. I took a leap of faith and now I'm just waiting to see how God will bring it all about.

Here's an appropriate quote for this time in my life (provided by the aforementioned friend) :
"The way of trust is a movement into obscurity, into the undefined, into ambiguity, not into some predetermined, clearly delineated plan for the future. The next step discloses itself only out of a discernment of God acting in the present moment. The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it His presence and His promise."

Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust

Monday, October 02, 2006

Shekinah Memories

Here are some pictures that my friend pulled from the video of the Shekinah Anniversary Concert. I think they are fantastic!


Creation Calls

Grace Like Rain