Underneath the Tapestry

Life is a journey.  

These words are the mantra of life around here.   In fact, it is so much a part of life around here, that when choosing a name for my blog, it became the overall theme to this blog.   Our Present Quest.   The day to day activities and events that make up the overall journey of life and how we respond to them.   I don't want to end my life standing before God the same person that I was yesterday or the day before.   I want to be a person who has changed and grown, and hopefully, tomorrow becoming a better person than I was today.

Don't get me wrong.  That focus isn't always easy to keep, and there are days where I can't wait for the sun to set so that I can crawl into bed and forget the day.   There are weeks where each day feels like an eternity and I find myself asking, "Is it really only (insert day of the week)?"

We are in the middle of one of those weeks.   "Isn't it Friday yet?"  Unfortunately, this week follows a couple of weeks that have felt the same.  While preparing lessons for the month of May, I find myself in the strange time warp of "May already?!?!" and "It has been a long month!"   I can never quite understand how time can be like that, slipping away so fast, and yet, dragging by at the exact same time.

Photo Credit: kslyesmith
Life seems to be chaotic, messy, busy, and in someways changing at a rapid speed.   I wonder why it all is happening now, in the space of a couple of weeks to a month.   Why can't we space this out a little?   Maybe I would handle it a little better?   Maybe I could embrace (remember that is my word for this year?) each change fully and know for sure and for certain that each change was not made by a drastic quick decision?  

 Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working out that way this time.  I find that all I can do is grab tightly to His hand, and follow.   I want to keep my eyes open for as much of the ride as I can right now, but I find comfort in the fact that when I can't take anymore, He is in control and He will guide me.   

Sometimes, we stumble upon something, written by someone else, and you think that it was written just for you.   Today, Mark sent me a link to a post, that was written today by a gentleman I don't know, and yet, the post is so timely in my life, as if it were written just for me.  

Michael Hyatt writes today about how our life is like a tapestry.   It is well written, and I encourage you to check out the full post here.   I want to share with you the part that really spoke to me this morning.  
"It made me also think again how much life is like a tapestry. Corrie ten Boom originally introduced me to this metaphor.

As it unfolds in real time, it’s like viewing the backside of a tapestry. It appears to be nothing more than a jumble of thread—tangled, frayed, occasionally knotted, and seemingly random. Nothing really makes sense. It’s no wonder people lose heart, give up, and abandon their commitments.

But things are not always what they seem.

It’s only when you turn a tapestry over that you see the art: the rich colors, the texture, and the patterns that can make a tapestry a thing of astonishing beauty.

Likewise, occasionally God gives us a glimpse at what He is weaving into the fabric of our lives. That momentary peek at glory gives us the courage to soldier on, knowing that nothing happens by accident.

No thread of experience—good or bad—is wasted. When it appears to be that way, we just have to remind ourselves that we are simply looking at the backside of a tapestry. And the One weaving it together, knows precisely what He is doing."

In this time when life is complicated and I am asking God the question "Why?"  It helps to remember that I don't always see the big picture or the top of the tapestry.   Rather, I am in the middle of the story, in the middle of the weaving, seeing one color or one thread at a time.  

In remembering that, my comfort lies in the weaver or the master story teller.   He knows the big picture, and He knows the outcome of the journey that I am on.  


They Continue to Grow

I am catching up on my Compassion blogging and I apologize.   The past month has been a crazy hectic schedule that did not allow time for me to share these with you.   However, receiving the letters and pictures in the mail has helped in the craziness we are now calling life.   I think this post will have you all caught up concerning Compassion news. 

We received updated photos of two of our Compassion Children.   Although looking at these pictures, I think I am now going to be calling many of our loved ones around the world as young people because they seem, as most children do, to be growing up! 

Our sponsored young person Ronaldo, who is now twelve and a half years old:

And a correspondent young person, Vivek, who is now fourteen and a half:

The pictures on the left are the first ones we received of each of them, the ones on the right, the updated photos received this month.


Our Compassion Family

Today is the three year anniversary of two children joining our Compassion family.   As I mentioned this to Mark, he was asking me when each child we have was added to our family.   Listing off the dates to him, I explained the following:

2009, we began sponsoring 2 in February, added three more in 2009 (one of our children moved away in 2009),
2010, three more added (one of which was my sister's sponsored child who moved out of the program after just a couple of months),
2011 added another making the grand total (after the additions and subtractions) 7.  

After a short, pause, I quickly say, we haven't added anyone to our family in 2012 (wink, wink), to which he replies, "it is still early in the year."   No wonder I love this guy!!!

But then I got to thinking, that we did add two to our Compassion family this year in a way.   I have yet to introduce you to the children that my mom sponsors.    These two adorable children are the newest members of our Compassion family added in 2012.

Ruben from Mexico 
turning 6 in July

Saranrut from Thailand 
age 5

We are anxiously awaiting their first letters!!!

A Connection Made

I feel a connection has been made.    With a simple letter, not any longer than the others, I have been given a glimpse into her life.   Three years later, to the date, I finally feel like we are breaking through the social conversation and getting to know each other.    She is our oldest "child" that we are connected to through Compassion, and I say "child" because in the three years we have been writing letters, she has become a young lady.   A young lady dedicated to her friends, her family, and her God.   The letter we receive tells me she has accepted Jesus as her Savior.   I am so excited that she has shared this information with me.   She is teaching children at the "project" and comments how she has had good moments at the project and how blessed she is because of it.    I can't help but feel the same.   Our lives are so much better because of Compassion International.   We are connected to seven really wonderful young people who are making a huge difference in our lives.

She has asked me questions before, some as basic as "How are you doing?" Once, shortly after the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, she asked me how I felt about them.    However, today she has not only asked me a question, but she has given me her answer to the question, which is what I find so exciting and what has made me feel a little more connected to this young woman.   She has asked me if I have read 1 and 2 Samuel, "because they are a great bless(ing)."  She then asks me what my favorite book of the Bible is.   I could not wait to respond to her questions and share information with her. 

My response:  A couple of years ago would have been the first four books of the New Testament because I love learning about Jesus' life and the people's lives he touched.   The love and grace he gives continue to amaze me beyond words.    However, last year, I spent some time reading through the Psalms in different translations of the Bible and that has become one of my favorite books of the Bible.   Reading through the prayers, both praises and laments, it has shown me a new way to pray.   A way that has significantly deepened my relationship with God.   Thus, it has become my favorite book of the Bible.

I am so excited to be sharing this information with her.   Information about us, that is beyond the "social conversation."    I look forward to future letters from her, curious to see if there will be more questions like this.

She is also an amazing artist.   I have, and continue to, encourage her in her artistic abilities.    I am closing with her pictures, which I think E and Addy enjoy more than the letters themselves!

The picture at the beginning of the post is of the gifts she has purchased with her Christmas money.   These pictures are also very important in the connection I feel with the children.  


Opening Doors to the Future & Finding Memories

We are all curious as we park and walk up to the front doors.   For some of us, it is the first time passing through these doors, for others, it is not.   They have been here a couple of times before.  For me, these doors are not new, and I have pass through them more than just a couple of times.   Rather, these doors while opening up to the future for my son, open to the memories of my childhood.   My first days in a new city where I knew no one, and the couple of years before the adventure of high school.   For me, the curiosity is what has changed, and what has withstood the years remaining constant.  

Listening to the presentation about daily life in the life of a middle school student,  I am amazed at how much is the same and yet, how much has changed.   The attitudes, one word answers to questions, the awkwardness of changing bodies and hormones is still there, not unlike my experience.   The talk of hurt feelings from text messages and unkind facebook posts, adds a whole new dynamic that I never had to worry about in this building.   These years are hard, and I am afraid they will be even harder for my son.   He is a great kid, I know he will do great. 

Following the presentation, we are allowed to roam the halls, finding different rooms.  We are directed into the cafeteria, it hasn't changed.   However, I am anxious to walk the halls and explore. 

We walk past the band room, the memories are there behind the locked door, perhaps to be revisited at another time.   The rooms where I first learned about electricity and wood working have changed.  

Heading up the stairs, we pass the main office, and I remember the kind woman who helped me transition into the new school district as a seventh grader.   I will never forget her kindness and her hugs when I would sit in her office sure I would never make a friend.    I point out the science rooms where E too will study Earth Science.    Gone are the Home Ec rooms, now Pre-Algebra and Algebra classrooms.   

Upstairs we visit the different sixth grade rooms, and I see the room where we studied Greek Mythology.   Continuing down another hall, I find the door where for a year I was Heidi in German class, now and English classroom.   The library is new, and I love it.   It is bright, welcoming, and most importantly, my son is beyond words excited about it.   

Curious and excited to walk the halls tonight, the evening did not disappoint.   I celebrated the new changes and smiled at the memories.  Perhaps my son will walk these halls next year and begin making memories of his own in this building.  Whether or not that is where he ends up, I am so glad I had the opportunity to go back and remember my first days in this wonderful city I now call home. 


Unconditional Love

We're on a journey, you and I.   Was it one I signed up for?  In a way, I suppose it was.  Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about this path.   No, it is not that at all. 

The journey began the moment I said "Yes."
How many years ago was that?

However, I think the real journey began when I asked for your help.   I remember all of the times we have sat together and talked.   Maybe I did more of the talking?  I still have a habit of that at times.   Sorry.   You are so patient, listening without complaint.    When I talk you never criticize or belittle me, rather you encourage, support, and love... I can always count on you for that.  Thank you.

I don't know why this one was different from any of the others.   We have spent many times such as this together, but for some reason this one is different.   What you did has not changed.  What was said has not changed.   Maybe it was me that changed?   Probably.

It was a time of reflection.
A time of remembrance.
A time of celebration.

Celebration of you... what you did, who you are.  

This morning as the house is quiet, I am reflecting on our time together this past week.   It was and is good.   We pushed out the distractions of the world and spent time together.   This time, you talked... I listened.

The topic, Love.   Of course I love.   Ask me if I love deeply, my answer is yes.   But when I look at your example, I am left in awe.   To love at the level that you love robs me of words and breath.   Knowing what you gave for me, in my weakness and imperfections, blows my mind.    I cannot fathom it.   I sit humbled, tears in my eyes and thanksgiving in my heart.

Then there was the story that has touched me to the core.  The story of Ron, Debbie, and Denver.   Another story about love.    Loving with no strings attached and no judgement.   Loving when it is not easy or convenient.  That kind of love sounds familiar.  I am still processing their story as it is newer to me than yours.  But I know their story happened because they had your example.

Can I love like that?   Can I look past the exterior, the behaviors, the words said, and see the heart?    Can I truly love with no strings attached and no judgements?

I know you are helping me with that.   That is part of this journey that we are on.   Because, I know that when I can truly love like that, people will see you and your glory.   And that is what I want most in my life.

As we journey together, I know that you are refining me.   Am I complaining?   No.   I know that because of this journey I am who I am.

Today, I am better than I was yesterday.
Tomorrow, I will be better than I am today.
And for that, I give you all of the glory.

Photo Credit


Brilliance-Open Up

I heard this song for the first time last weekend.  The words are the prayer that I hope people see in my life.

You heard the cry of our hearts, and you came down
Freely you gave us your love, showing us how
Make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is darkness, let me shine light

May your love cause us to open up, cause us to open up our hearts
May your light cause us to shine so bright that we bring hope into the dark

All that we do without love, it means nothing
Grant us the courage to give as you’re calling

Make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light

 May your love cause us to open up, cause us to open up our hearts
May your light cause us to shine so bright that we bring hope into the dark

Hope for the hopeless, your love is
Strength in our weakness, your love is

May we love as you love