Monday, November 8, 2010

Unsung Heroes

I recently finished a book about World War Two, focusing primarily on London during the Blitz, but other fine moments in England's history during that long war. I am always amazed when something manages to wake me up to the fact that WWII wasn't just GIs in bars on leave with the pretty girls, it's not just Pearl Harbor and A League of Their Own. Europe experienced a very different war than we did. Though I will in no way desire to down-play what Americans experienced, I am focusing here on what I read in All Clear, which focuses on England; their war was very different from ours.

Night after night raids plagued London. The blackout, V1's, V2's, fires, shelters, rationing, I can't even seem to explain to myself what this means to me. The reminder of what mankind has survived. What we are capable of. We can pull together and make it through seemingly horrifyingly never ending times. And London didn't see all of it, either, there was still France, the Russian front, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, the list goes on and on. The wars I've lived through were very impersonal. I didn't really think about them at all. WWII wasn't like that. It hit home with Americans and Europeans alike.

The unsung heroes of the war include ambulance drivers and entertainers, women who worked while the men were away, moms that raised kids alone, people who opened their homes to those who'd lost theirs, families formed in the shelters, men and women putting out fires, digging through debris, refusing to lose hope through all the dark months and years. They were prisoners too. The human spirit never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps that's what I love about history so much. And Connie Willis has a knack for capturing that spirit. First in Doomsday Book, and now Blackout and All Clear, I truly appreciate her ability to bring those days to life for me.

I am thankful for the men and women, military and civilian alike, who fought then, and those who fight now, for the freedoms we enjoy but rarely recognize.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Restaurant Row

I have issues with food. It's true. I have certain things I can't eat and certain things I won't eat and certain things I "absolutely have to have." There are times all I want to do is eat "like everyone else," especially when there's a gathering of people and it's just easier to order pizza or grab sandwiches. For me to eat costs extra and takes extra effort. Most of the time I don't mind. Other times it's all I can do to keep from flipping out and eating everything I'm not supposed to.

Thursday I was having a bad food day. Then I had a thought. I am blessed to have these food issues. Why? Because it shows I have a choice about what I eat. Most people don't have that luxury. If I can't eat something at one restaurant, I have fifty others to choose from.

I have to be thankful for my food issues because they remind me of the blessings I have living in America. It's amazing that we live in a nation where deciding what to eat takes half an hour because we have so much to choose from. Humbling. Kind of disgusting. Gives me something to chew on the next time I slam the refrigerator door shut and mutter, "there's nothing to eat."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Found: Lots and lots of time

Note: I began this post on July 21st and find that it is very applicable to my life in the here and now and so I have chosen to actually publish it today, not as a July post.

Amazing how often we "don't have time" for some things and yet we get other things done in record time.

When we are determined, suddenly there is time! Loads of it. We find it in the morning, in the evening, between meals, over the lunch break, before bed, during a favorite program that we decide to DVR or catch online, the list goes on. It doesn't matter when we find the time, only that we do! We are determined, so there must be time!

On the other hand we're always running out of time for those things we don't really care about or don't want to do. Seems I never have enough time to wash the dishes or put the camping gear away, or even do my homework. Exercise? What's that? Tragically, reading my Bible always seems to make that list. But when it comes to deciding that I want to blog every week, write one sibling set each week, my grandmother each Sunday, and get my book finished (at least a draft) by the new year, I wonder to myself, will I have time?

You bet. Because there's always time, it's simply a matter of choices. Each morning I wake up I have a choice: heed the alarm or sleep through it. And that is followed by choice after choice after choice. I pray for the strength to make the right ones.

The last of the season...

Alas. October is nearing its end. Last night I finished the last of the mellowcreme pumpkins. It's a sad addiction. One that lasts me only part of September and all of October. I hate it. I eat them and feel my teeth rotting in my mouth, I can't eat more than four or five before I need a gallon of water to purge my system of the poison I can feel permeating everything. And yet I love them. I ate the last one last night and thought, "Oh, how sad. I want some more." But I refuse to buy any more! No! October is complete! I can now look towards healthier living! Real pumpkin and smoothies and water and veggies! Oatmeal and stews! It is definitely fall (has been for over a month now - to think I haven't blogged since August! Agast!), and I have so many recipes I have been waiting for this splendid season to try!

So fare you well, mellowcreme pumpkins! I hope I can resist you next year!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

God is Good...All the Time.

I am often reminded of how tremendously blessed I am in this life. I truly don't deserve it. I have a supportive and loving family (two now!), a husband who loves me and cares for me, friends that do as well. I have a job in which I am appreciated and looked after, a roof over my head, food on the table, and the ability and desire to cook it :o)

I am blessed. My Creator has given me so much. Salvation, love, mercy and grace, plus everything mentioned above. What more do I really need?

Pictured here are five testimonies to God's grace in my life. My Bridesmaids and Matron of Honour. When I see this picture I am filled to overflowing with love and appreciation for who each and every one of these ladies are and their individual roles in my life. Not only in the past before the engagement, or in the months leading to the wedding, or in the wedding itself, but their roles in my life in day-to-day living and growing and understanding of friendship and who God is. I learn from each and every one of them. They each have something so unique that they offer me, and I am thankful for them. What an honor it was to have them stand by my side as witnesses at our wedding. What an honor it is to have them walk through this life along with me as witnesses through each day to God's great provision, creativity, and grace.

To my beautiful ladies: You are reflections of His glory not only in my life but in each of the dark and narrow places where you shine His light. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you, each and every one.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not enough time

Lord though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I'm not scared cause You're holding my breath
I only fear that I don't have enough time left
To tell the world that there's no time left, Lord please
from Group 1 Crew's "Forgive Me"

I have to wonder. Am I really afraid that "I don't have enough time left/to tell the world that there's no time left" or is it really a fear of not having enough time to get everything I want and experience all I think I need to experience?

Pretty sad when you think about how temporary this life really is and how permanent eternity is.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Complacency Mountain

I've been meaning to type this journal entry up for a while. I used it in my testimony this morning, so I thought I'd finally post it. I wrote it on April 20, 2010, after I wrote this post. I truly am not satisfied with what I see in the world or in myself, but I fight with practical complacency: though I do not want to be, I do not act, and therefore, by all practical definitions, I am complacent.

"I am so tired of being afraid. There is this fear that keeps me from jumping off the cliff. I like my comfort. The safety of my four walls. Outside them it's too dirty, too scary. And it turns into complacency, or at least an excuse to add to it: 'I can't do anything about....'

"I told Paul it's as though my complacency is a mountain. I am in a valley on one side of it and it's beautiful. It's a meadow of wild flowers with food, water, shelter, and of course it is always the perfect temperature - lukewarm.

"This meadow is like the matrix. It's all an illusion, but it keeps me happy and I feel safe and comfortable there.

"On the other side of Complacency Mountain is what appears to be a wasteland as far as the eye can see. But appearances can be deceiving. The problem is it will always appear that way THIS side of complacency and while climbing its slippery slopes. Once there, however, it is the most wondrous place. It is beautiful and safe and everything is provided, but it is still as it is. All that changes is our perception.

"Being in God's will is not always the world's idea of safe and comfortable and fun, but it always is in reality. It appears as a "wasteland" to those lost to the "meadow," but to those who dwell in it, it is the closest thing to paradise we will experience this side of heaven."

34. Let My Love Restore

"His thoughts said, 'I am not what I meant to be, or what others think I am.'

"His Father said, 'It is written, "He restoreth my soul. The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul." Let some word of Mine restore thee. Let My love restore thee. Didst thou think thou hadst a Father who did not know tha tHis child would need ot be restored? I will restore health unto thee: I will heal thee of they wounds. I will restore comforts unto thee. I will restore unto thee the joy of My salvation. I will renew a right spirit within thee. I will not cast thee away from My Presence.

"'Child of My love, trust thy Father. If the Spirit speaketh some word in thy heart, obey that word. And, before ever thou art aware, thou wilt know thyself restored.'"

from His Thoughts Said... His Father Said...
by Amy Carmichael

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Real Reality

Before we share life we have to live it.

Why is it when people ask me what's new I can never think of anything? A great many of us spend a great deal of energy on another type of virtual reality (see other post on the virtual reality of communication): the movies we watch and the shows we pour hours into. (I even waste time talking about movies I've never seen and yet hate with a blinding passion.) Suddenly we aren't experiencing life and sharing our experiences with each other, we are sharing the life of a fictional character we spent two hours getting to know, and reliving funny moments and exciting experiences they have had. Adventures we only had to sit on the couch to experience.

I wonder if this isn't one of the enemy's most dastardly ploys. What better way to get us to "experience" life without actually living it and at the same time introducing us to things we so easily attach ourselves to, forgetting what lies ahead: that most real reality? Most of the movies we watch are merely shadows - more so than this life is a shadow of that same real reality - they are ideas that seem so real, life will always seem to pale to them until it is actually embraced and lived. All of our "If only..."s become forgotten as we feel real emotion stirred up by actual living.

I do not judge; I confess. Here is my confessional. What emotions I have felt watching movies about things I want to be passionate about. How excited I have gotten about things I could be doing - maybe, someday. I use the movies and the subsequent emotion as an excuse: "obviously I care, but I'm not like that person!" But even in the midst of all of this I feel there is still hope. We do not have to fall victim to this life lived in front of a T.V. screen. All the excuses in the world cannot deny the whisper that comes that we are designed for something so much greater than this "shadowland."

You can't experience the real life through a movie any more than you can get to know someone through bits of information fed through a "What's on your mind?" prompt on a website. Even as I write this I wonder to myself: "Where do I begin?" And the answer is "With the Truth." The more time I spend in the Word and seeking the Lord in prayer, the clearer I will be able to understand and live this life He has given me "abundantly." Praise the Lord He offers us His help and continual grace and mercy!

Alone in a Sea of Communication

Apparently I often fall into communication funks. I sit on Facebook, or clicking in and out of my Gmail inbox, waiting for some sliver of information, news of life happening. The sad thing is my life is slowly passing me by as I wait. So are the lives of all the people I care about. How much of their lives never see a Facebook status?

It's in times such as these that I start speculating on how Facebook has ruined communication. Whatever happened to letters - you know them, those hand written things we used to have to LIVE in order to fill - and phone calls - the ones that could last hours because we're connecting with someone - and face to face conversations? We need to experience life in order to communicate more than a Facebook status to someone about our lives.

Our reality has become virtual in many ways. Naturally everything I'm discussing here is my own doing, my own fault. I do have conversations with people, and I could call my friends and ask if they have the time to sit with me, maybe over coffee or dinner, or a nice walk. Somewhere along the line I got it into my head, though, that I only need to do that when I have something to share - usually negative - and that no one wants to hear my problems. I complain too much and I HATE complaining. It's so negative. I hate dumping that on others. I just want to hear about everyone else's lives.

Why do I think people don't want to extend the courtesy back to me? Especially since it's a big fat lie; the Carey inside is screaming to be let out, for someone to listen and care about what she's going through, that her heart is 15 times heavier than it should be. Or give her a good talking to: "Carey, you aren't the center of the universe!" "Carey! You aren't always right!" "Carey, you're loved more than you could ever fathom!"

Of course there's another problem: I have no idea how to have a conversation. Okay, explain to me again, how does it go? You talk, then I talk, and we discuss some subject either one or the both of us has an interest in and we learn something? Not only about each other, but maybe (just maybe), the world we live in, the God we serve, and the role we play?


Or I have a burden that I need shared by a fellow disciple and you're willing to hear it and pray for me? Or I get to share yours? Or how about a praise of God's faithfulness and wonder?

Sharing LIFE. But first we have to live it! (This I decided to expound upon in its own post.)

You can't get to know someone through bits of information fed through a "What's on your mind?" prompt on a website. Texting only offers you one iota of the human you are attempting to connect with. Just like masterpiece meals take more than 30 minutes, true relationships take longer than a half hour here or there.

So here I stand, bombarded on every side by information, technology, and immediate gratification, screaming out for someone to take more than a cyberspace minute's interest in my life.

Makes me wonder how many more souls around me are crying out for the same.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Year's Top Ten

Due to my job and ministry schedules, I have chosen to date my "year" from Senior Salute to Senior Salute (May 2, 2009-May 8, 2010). Here, in order of appearance, are my top ten most memorable moments:

  1. Watching Stephen play Brom Bones in Sleepy Hollow.
  2. Brien and Andria's wedding.
  3. Summer Camp - specifically hanging out with my cabin!!!!, playing cards with Rachel, and my very long walk (and awesome view of the waterfall) with Isabelle!
  4. Lake Powell (Too many moments, I decided this needed another blog entry)
  5. Watching Laura star in Pygmalion
  6. Bridal Showers, wedding dress shopping, all that went into putting together our wedding
  7. Our Wedding Day (spending time with my bridesmaids!!! and FAMILY and of course marrying my husband :o)
  8. Jamaica (7&8 deserve their own blog entries too!)
  9. Praying for Laura and Kara the last night of i2i
  10. Encouraging, praying with and speaking into Kara's life at the Salute
I'm looking forward to all the moments in this new year!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Yesterday was Administrative Professionals Day, or Secretaries Day for you old fashioned types, like me, someone who really doesn't manage anything but the chaos of my own office...oh wait...

I was encouraged yesterday by so many, and I praise God for it.

Lately I've been wondering as to the purpose of what it is I do for a living. I enjoy my job, don't get me wrong, and I know that my primary duty is to do what I apparently do best in order to free up time for my bosses to do what they do best.

At times, though, this job description makes me feel as though I am merely a babysitter for a bunch of busy-work.

But yesterday (and Tuesday for that matter) I felt more needed and appreciated, or at least I was able to actually hear and see it. So I thank God He lifted the scales from my eyes the past couple of days, and I thank all of you who showed me a little kindness :o) You are a God-send to this paper-pusher.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today I'm a little emotional.

Today is a day I have a tendency to be a bit more emotional than other days. Most would say with good reason. I fight it, though. Usually as this day approaches each year a battle begins within me. Do I acknowledge the hurt? Is there really hurt or am I being dramatic for the attention? I was healed of this long ago, why do I still think this day will be different? versus This day did happen. I cannot deny that it is a part of who I am. I will live today as I do every other day, but as the emotions come, I will embrace them. I will allow this day to affect how I view all the others, to see them even more clearly as gifts from the Lord Almighty.

This battle tends to make me even more exhausted by the time the dawn comes.

And come it does in all its glory, proclaiming the risen Lord, reminding us that life goes on each day with potential for change, renewal, and giving.

So I receive the texts, "Praying for you." "I love you!" "You're the best" and the facebook messages, "Peace be to you, Carey" and read the statuses of others and their testimony as to God's faithfulness in the past 11 years. Hallelujah! We serve a great God.

These things make me weep. I weep because I am here, I am loved, I have purpose. I weep for the brokenness I still see in others over this day. I weep because the high school girls I work with, especially I think of the seniors, finished their school day today without a hiccup. They will go to school tomorrow. They will finish their senior year like any normal person. They will graduate with only happy tears.

Tragedy affects who we are, how we see the world, and how we interact with it. Jesus is the reason I have hope and anyone who knows Him should know that each day is a gift, life is not something you waste, but I believe anyone who has encountered tragedy in their lives must acknowledge and never fall into forgetting that we are called to affect the world. We must acknowledge the tragedy itself as a gift, a magnifying glass, as it were, to be able to see God's gifts more clearly. Here I stand. Breathing air. The Holy Spirit within me and the world before me. What am I going to do about it?

Weep. For my own forgetfulness and fear. For languishing in comfort. But I know I cannot waste my life. April 20, 1999 is simply one reason I can point to as to why. One among many.

A Charge

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."
1 Samuel 12:23

Friday, April 2, 2010

live now in the tension

"I am worthy of your trust, no matter what happens in your life. I have a good plan, and nothing will stop Me from carrying it to completion. You must live now in the tension between anguish and hope."

quoted from Larry Crabb's 66 Love Letters

Monday, March 29, 2010

Missing childhood...

Things I miss:
  • crying without need to explain (even to myself)
  • the lack of fear that had me scurrying up trees and skating down steep hills with nary a care
  • finding joy in the simple things, like my rock collection... Yeah, that simple.
  • always knowing I was the greatest writer - even when everything I wrote wasn't worth the paper I put it on (trust me)
  • knowing what I wanted to be and believing with everything I had that it would happen - even when it changed every day, week, year, whatever, it was POSSIBLE and it was happening!
  • my imagination
  • choir
  • acting
  • sign language
  • England
  • pizza on Friday nights
  • pizza!
  • reading for hours on end
  • sleep

Friday, March 12, 2010


"What is truth?"

Pilate wanted to know (Jn 18:38). So do many of us.

This is what I see:
  • Jesus said to His Father, "Your word is truth" (Jn 17:17).
  • Jesus said "I tell you the truth" 78 times in the Gospels. Thirty of those are in Matthew alone.

Pilate looked Truth in the face. Still he did not recognize it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I still believe

cancer. death. famine. no water. earthquakes. school shootings.

heard this lyric play on my computer after I read of yet another person's suffering:

"I still believe in Your faithfulness"*

and I do.

*I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp

Friday, February 12, 2010

Over so quickly

So much preparation for something over so quickly. I wore the dress once, ate one slice of the cake, smiled a lot of smiles; we didn't exit the ceremony as we'd planned, didn't dance nearly enough...but in spite of all the planning and all the dreaming, it happened as it was supposed to. It was perfect. Yet it was over so quickly.

What of life?

Over so quickly.... But not.

This week I lost someone very important to me. I don't think she knew how much. And when I think back on who she was and the few short years I truly knew her, I relearn a much needed lesson: THIS life is so much preparation for something that NEVER ends: eternity.