Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Weekend Away

Tim and I had a wonderful time this past weekend staying 2 nights at Living Waters Retreat in Berryville, AR. It is a retreat for minister's and their wives located in the wooded countryside of Northwest Arkansas. They accept only minimal payment and offer a time of solitude and seclusion to ministry couples who need a restful break. Tim made all the arrangements, paid the fees, and chauffeured me all the way there. I felt so special and blessed. We have a long road ahead of us in the near future, and this chance to get away was much needed and much appreciated. I love those times when he and I can relax, reflect, and reminisce.

I was once again reminded of the many different reasons I love my husband. He is a man of many talents, considerate, firm in his convictions, and funny at heart. He is a simple man, not simple minded, but simple in his ways. He prefers simple clothing over high-fashion. He has one pair of each type of shoe: brown dress, black dress, tennis shoe, work shoe. He has one belt that he can flip to the black side or the brown side. :) He prefers no-fuss haircuts over heavily styled coifs. If he is eating a food that comes with or without nuts, he prefers without. Beneath that simple exterior is a man that is full of complexity and surprises. He is a genius when it comes to the depths and breadths of technology. There is nothing electronic that he cannot fix (thanks for fixing my laptop screen, babe!). He can watch a Sci-Fi show from beginning to end and follow every twist and turn with no problems, and remember all the foreign names he encountered. His mind can comprehend mysteries with ease and he can see trick-endings before they come. He is skilled with his hands and good at modifying and building. He has the gift of focusing in on detail. As I reflected back on all this, I thought "What's not to love!"

As we arrived near the cabin, we slowed to read the address number from a mailbox. We realized that was our turn-in and as we turned, a doe darted down the side of the drive way, as if to say "Welcome, follow me." We got to do one of our favorite past-times together: hiking. We used to hike a lot when we were kid-less but haven't in a while. Among the interesting things we saw were a red-headed wood pecker, a tree partially chewed up by beavers, and an empty tortoise shell. We worked through a chapter of our Sunday School class material Fireproof, the Bible Study. We ended up getting to the cabin without either one of our cell phones ~a slight oversight:) ~ and there was no phone in our cabin as well as no wireless internet signals. We had a truly technology-free weekend! This made me a little nervous, knowing that if Dylan had an emergency we would not be instantly reachable (my in-laws could have called the number to the house on the property and the owners would have walked down to our cabin). But of course all my worrying was for nothing and he was fine. In fact, I highly recommend a techno-free day, weekend, or week every once in a while. It truly takes away all distractions and offers time to focus.

My heart is also grateful to the cabin owner's, who are lay people in their church but sensed God calling them to build two cabins on their land for the specific purpose of ministering to ministers who need a retreat. They are providing such an incredible gift of service.

We found a tree where the beavers had clearly left their mark!
Optical illusion: which way is up and which way is down? Tim took this shot with our camera upside down. The water was almost perfectly reflective, proving that things are not always what they seem :)The beautiful view from our cabin's deck.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Horizons

Today we got the news that Tim's Army Chaplaincy training will begin in early January. So he will head to Ft Jackson, SC then and we will be apart for some time. And then we will be stationed somewhere far from here. This is what we have been thinking would happen, so it is nothing new; it is just final now. Two words that have been on my heart and mind this week have been "captivated" and "horizons". I don't know why exactly I have been chasing those words in my head, I can only speculate that God is reminding me of how He is the one that has "captivated" me by His love and mercy and brought me to this place of preliminary acceptance. Perhaps "horizons" is supposed to remind me that as we begin to say farewell to so much of the familiar, there are horizons yet to come - reminders of the future that awaits us. A reminder to keep our eyes focused ahead of us on Jesus. A reminder that whatever He is bringing us to is greater than what He has brought us from or through...truly His best is yet to come. The song Whatever You're Doing by Sanctus Real has been a testament for me lately, as my heart echos the second verse and chorus:

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills?
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything
I surrender...
To whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life...something Heavenly

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fall Fun

We spent some time in our leaf-stricken yard last weekend, trying to uncover the hidden grass and keep it alive this winter. Dylan had a blast playing in the piles and was a "big helper" with putting the leaves in the yard bags! It was definitely a fall fun family affair.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Army Intel

For those of you who have been praying and waiting along with us, I wanted to give you word that we heard from the Army today regarding Tim's Chaplaincy application. He has been accepted for active duty as a Military Chaplain with the US Army! We feel so humbled and priveleged that the Lord has allowed us the opportunity to serve Him through sacrifice. We don't know many details, but Tim is likely facing a 10-week officer's training course in January which Dylan and I cannot attend. After that, we are in God's hands. Well, we are always in God's hands, and have been so for the past year as we have prayed every step of this journey. Continue to pray for us as we seek to take care of details and arrangements that may prove to be stressful. We need wisdom as to the timing of selling our house and quiting/changing jobs. This is not going to be an easy process, but we are convinced now more than ever that this is where God is leading us. Much like Abraham when he had Isaac on the alter, we know that we are called to this sacrifice no matter how much it may hurt us...and that God will provide through it, as we identify with Christ through His sufferings. Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement!