Tuesday, April 30, 2013

His Name is Duke

Tomorrow is my last day student teaching. Today I put my name up on the blackboard along with the address of this blog so that my students could keep in touch with me in the future. The future... such a huge, scary word. I don't know if I'll ever get to see them again. So many of them, going to grow up and go so many different ways. It makes me very sad on the inside. Our paths crossed for so short a time.

They all wanted to know if I had written about them. I explained how I tried to keep my blog a little bit impersonal lately, because I was going through some deep things in my life. Plus, I didn't want them to feel like they were being talked about behind their backs. But I told Montrell and Duke that I had written about them, and when I went to check my blog, I couldn't find Duke's post. Then I realized, I had put it on my personal blog because it had been so deep to me that I didn't even want to share it here.

But I went and found it and dragged it over here to publish, so that he can see how the Lord used him in my life on some very hard days these semester. There are two posts I wrote about him, back to back.

Post One:
Teaching had a major bump: Duke.
Handsome, sweet Duke. Sitting in the back row with his arms crossed, annoyed and disgusted. The first student to openly complain about my teaching. Not my teaching really, but my subject matter. Not that he didn't like writing either - he feels mad at his peers. His tastes differ from theirs and he seems mad because he has to write and read it aloud. He'd rather not write at all.
I see myself mirrored in his rebellious face. Mad at the school, at my peers, willing myself to not even graduate if I could just get away from it all.
I tried to reach out to him. I gave a 20-minute lecture about minority opinion and the power of the underdog finding a voice. His expression and crossed-arm stance never changed, but I tried.
I feel I failed.
Duke, I'm so sorry.
I want to quit, too.

Post Two:
Duke. I got to focus on him a little during seatwork time. He plays guitar, bass, piano. Not any band  instruments. Here are some of his poems, because I'm sure you're sick of reading my own words by now. This is an acrostic poem.

Gently hand crafted
Uses you
Art of playing and
Reading music

These are ABC poems.
An American
Dances to the
Extravagant song in the key of

I told him a little about my pitiful piano skills, about my violin teacher quitting on me because she said I was a waste of her time. At the end of class, Duke raised his hand and said he wanted to read a poem he'd been working on while zoning out on my lecture on connotation/denotation. 

It was another ABC.

Amazingly, she
Blossoms, she
Certainly loves
Dogs, she
Encourages your
Greatly with
Happiness and
O'Brien is the best

I about bawled in class, in front of 35 kids. I had to make it not a big deal. It was our secret, 
his and mine. I've got your back, Duke. Sandy Chambers, my teacher, told me that Duke is restless because  he lives so far away that he can never socialize with his classmates, have them over, etc. His parents are pulling him at the end of the year and putting him in a public school closer so that he can start having friendships. I felt this huge sadness, this despair, that I will never see him again and have no way to ever contact him. I wish I could know him longer. I don't want him to walk out of my life. I shouldn't have gotten  attached. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Her Name is Joyce

Her name was Joyce. An older woman, with crow's feet around her eyes and a penchant for floral print, whom I met this year. My drive thru customers at Brixton Square are highly unstable. Most of them are predictable, frustratingly so, but every day is a new adventure. No two cars in line are ever alike. From high-pitched whiny teenager girls who screech over the speaker and hurt my ears to gruff old men barking their orders in demanding sound bites, every time my radio beeps and I get a signal for a new car I have to take a breath in preparation. Oh, and then there are the fun clients who ask intelligent questions and say "thank you!" before zooming off. The car who waits twenty minutes in line for a simple iced tea. The affluent business lady who orders seventeen meals and taps her French nails impatiently on the window sill of her big white Cadillac while I count back change. Oh, the drive thru.
But then there was Joyce. One of those customers who never deviate in their order. Five days a week, every week, they don't care to try to anything from the extensive menu except for their habitual, familiar little zone. Half sierra turkey sandwhich, add on a pickle spear, and half a classic salad with extra dressing. Large ice tea, extra extra ice. Maybe a peanut butter cookie. No one orders pickle spears with half sandwhiches, and why the boring little classic salad had any interest compared to the Mediteranean salmon with almonds and tangerine organes, or the Thai chili salad with edemame and peanut drizzle, I couldn't fathom. After three days in a row, I had her order down as soon as I heard the first phrase. Half sierra with a pickle? Yupp. Gotcha.
We use loyalty cards at Panera to help establish customer connections. We swipe them along with the credit cards and dole out discounts and free treats. In exchange, we learn their first name and can track purchasing trends. But Joyce didn't have a card, didn't want one, and after a few days I was in my "make friends with the drive thru clients!" mode and asked her for her name. Joyce, she divulged hesitantly. I just smiled and pointed to my nametag. Noelle, trainer. It was a pleasure, and she was surprised when I told her that no one ordered what she did (and especially not every single day!)
When I take an order from a car at the screen outside, I am flying blind. They interrupt me, I try not to interrupt me, and we bump along until the car gets to the window and we can talk face-to-face in more natural conversations. I never know whether it's going to be whiny girl or grumpy old man or snappy business lady when I begin the order, "Hello, thank you for choosing Panera Bread at Brixton Square. This is Noelle, what can I get for you today?" But I have trained my voice to stay even and calm and not change regardless of the previous conversation with the car before. Our speakers are lame and I wouldn't recognize my own sister's voice ordering at the screen, so the only clue I have to regular customers is their order. And as soon as I hear "sierra turkey, pickle spear..." I can drop my calm, monotone, almost computer-generated smoothness for some real life.
"Joyce!" I interrupt. "How are you?!"
She laughs. "How did you know it was me?"
"Because you want a classic salad along with that, extra dressing, same as yesterday?" with a smile.
She laughs again. "That's right."
"Just pull on up, I've got the whole thing going for you already."
Forget about explaining which window, their total, and please come again. Informality is a nice change from formality.
Joyce finally opened up to chatting with me, and I deactivate the automatic window sensor so I can talk as I cash out her credit card. The other day, I asked her where she was going dressed so fine. Joyce just shook her head and said, "The hospital..."
I found out that day that she has a daughter in severe need of a kidney transplant, in the hospital due to a bad infection. That is how she spends her mornings. Then she comes by Panera Brixton Square, gets her usual order, and goes to another hospital where her twelve-year-old granddaughter is contained after suffering a stroke two weeks ago that left her completely paralyzed.
"This is my moment to breathe in between hospitals. It's tough to be strong for them all day." And Joyce took her ice tea with extra extra ice closed her eyes as she sipped it slowly, waiting for the food to be made.
I was speechless. Where would I get my solace between hospitals if that was my case? I would like to think I would find a friend at a drive thru of a cafe offering nutritious, comforting food. But my real solace would come from the peace of God that is being developed in mine own life at this difficult time. Was she a Christian? I didn't know.
But when I bagged her order and prepared to "send it out," I snatched up my pen and scribbled a note on the back of her receipt. Hopefully she would see it during the long day with her granddaughter. All it said what that I was praying for her, to keep her chin up, and my name.
She didn't check her bag as she drove away, confident that her order was correct. I didn't mind. I didn't expect much from it.
But she came back the very next day, and this time her husband was with her. I'd never seen him come with her before. I was taking orders at the other screen, and my colleague was operating the window, but Joyce requested me by name and so the other girl switched me spots so I could cash out Joyce and say hi.
"This is my husband!" she told me, smiling from the passenger seat. "He never comes here but I told him he had to come meet you in person. Your note meant so much to be yesterday, it changed my whole day! I've never seen anything like that. Thank you for caring."
And I felt tears in my eyes, and I shook his hand, and I got Joyce her order and made sure she had another note on the back of her receipt when I handed out the brown Panera bag. She peeked this time, and saw it, and beamed up at me as her husband put the truck in gear and drove off to the hospital. I smiled back, and my prayers went with them.
Because being at Panera has taught me to care for my customers as people, and that's the exact kind of lifestyle I think that God wants from Christians, to care about each other, and about the world, and people's needs, and to demonstrate a little bit of his love.
Please pray for me as I see Joyce from day to day and try to be an encouragement to her and a representation of God's goodness. I really love this dear lady and her family I've never met. Her name is Joyce, and it is my honor to be a part of her life for those five minutes at the Brixton Square drive thru.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


So much to do, so little time! So much to write, and so few words that come to mind.
There are a mere twenty-three days left before my graduation. To my lowerclassmen colleagues, that is a very long time remaining. But to me, the pressure of the inevitable's approach is overwhelming. It seems like my mind could just snap at any moment! Tomorrow is the last student teaching seminar with the Heartland education department. I have three days left to student teach (Monday through Wednesday) and then we have Yearbook Chapel, which leads into finals week. Then the graduation. So fast, like that. Simultaneously, I have to pack up five years accumulation and say goodbye to this lifestyle. No more dormitories, class notes, textbooks? I can barely imagine it.

At the same time, I am transitioning into management at Panera Bread and beginning my formal hands-on training. Yesterday I landed my interview with the Director of Operations, Christine, and am awaiting the arrival of my background check clearance and training plan. While I prepare to say goodbye to my high school students, I also face goodbyes with my Heartland classmen and professors. And the long-term future remains yet uncertain, forcing me off this cliff onto one small precipice of a step. If my life were a movie, this moment would be the part where it flashes from scene to scene to scene driving the viewers crazy. Not even transitions from day to day, but multiple scenes from within each day, each hour! Oh, headache.

Yesterday was my brother's birthday, next week my sister's. My final bill is still looming out there, and relatives and guests are coming into town from all direction! Last luncheons with former roommates, last shifts at work with my Heartland/Panera girls before they all leave, too. From home to work to school to church, everything is in the middle of dynamic volcanic change! Through it all, I have the unmoving presence of God in my life and His peace in my heart and mind. It is invaluable. I don't think I've ever needed his immediate presence with my every step as much as I do now. What an amazing thing that he is there to provide it!

Continuing the randomness, my sweet friend and little sister in Zhitomyr started up her own blog! Check it out! http://stylefromcarrie.blogspot.com She is a lovely young lady with wonderful diction and creativity. I am so proud of her!

I don't really know how to feel about everything that is happening around me and to me, except to feel nothing but God's eternal grace. I would really appreciate prayers because I don't want Satan to get any kind of victory during these last few days I have in this story's chapter, and he has many many opportunities to me.
As always I thank you for following my blog and hope to see feedback =)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Car Talk

I love my car. It's a cheesy gold, four door, 1998 Nissan Altima. As a girl, the first two descriptions carry greater identification relavance than the last two. My Dad's car, really, which he bought in Texas two years ago this summer (what!?!) and gave to us to use at college. It has two little bumper stickers on it that I now regret pasting on, because my anonymity is completely evaporated whenever someone get's a glimpse of the rear. One says "Love at First Bite" and is from Jimmy John's, which used to be my favorite place to eat. A college kid's sandwhich cafe, which a turkey avacado club I went crazy about. Since Jimmy John's took the sprouts off the sandwhich (and their entire menu) I no longer go there. What's a 7$ sandwhich without sprouts?!! Well, I'm afraid to try to peel the sticker off, so I still advertise the place wherever I go. It's a shout out to who I used to be, when I was young and naiive and little and just fresh to the United States.

The second one is a METALIST sticker, in honor of my city's soccer team. I'm an avid supporter if not a very knowledgable one. I've been to one live game at the stadium downtown, got a scarf, got the thrill, and bought the bumper sticker. Now I'm a continent and entire life away, and I have no idea how the Metalists played this year but I am proud to be a Kharkovite. Trouble is the sticker is peeling on its own and looks like the remnants of a newspaper that drowned in a New Orleans flood. Oh, well. I'm scared to peel it off and - wouldn't that be disloyal, anyways?

The interior of the car - nothing special, except I'm very proud of how clean I like to keep it. No orphan straw wrappers, no loose pennies, no junk. Vaccuumed out and wiped down weekly. Since I've taken to commuting half a state away (figuratively) from school to work to campus, the back seat has accumulated some permament passengers: my gym back, extra pair of shoes and hoodie, Panera Bread files, a thermos. Along for the ride are a pair of boxing gloves that hang from the rearview mirror and a potpurri-stuffed turtle. Those are painful momentos of not-so-long-ago days but I can't take them down. They hang there and I try not to notice and we get along fine most of the time. The memory of Levi boxing at me with those gloves on the long drive to Texas in the autumn, and the bright summer day when he surprised me with the turtle, never really get too far away from my mind.

Well today I finally got around to what I've been putting off. After school, before work, in this random claustrophobic 20-minute window I have in my day, I detoured from the route home and ran through a car wash. At the high school where I teach every morning they make us park in a muddy field, and this particular morning, my car spun out in the muck and got covered in drippy goo. My sophistication was offended, and I made a beeline for the first self-service station I could spot on the highway. I have no idea how I came up with .75 cents for the deposit, but I spray blasted the car for two long, misty minutes until all the mud and yuck was gone and she was all sparkly clean again.

Since I was already drenched and feeling like a grease monkey, I pulled into autozone by the campus and stalked up to the front counter. "Window wiper fluid, please." The white-haired man behind the counter recognized me, of course. We smiled. More than once he found me wandering the aisles examining the strange titles on the bottles looking for something or another, and had to herd me in the right direction. Nowadays, I didn't bother trying to figure out if window fluid was kept near the oils or near the wipers (kind of a 50-50 to my mind, still. Where would you keep it, indeed?) He actually kept a few jugs behind the counter today and brought one up. "The normal blue stuff, right?" I wondered about the quality values betwen blue, purple, and green liquid-filled jugs on the shelves labeled CLEANERS. Normal blue sounded great to me. Maybe next time I'd have the guts to ask him about purple and green and probably end up storing his explanation in the "Notes" section of my Iphone. Right next to my Dad's explanation of summer vs. winter car oil, and Levi's explanation of men's dresshirt collar vs. sleeve sizes. Handy thing, the "Notes" section!

Last time I came in, for anitfreeze, I think, the same old man crinkled his eyes at me and asked me if I knew where it should go in the engine. Rather than risk it and waste 15$, I had sheepishly followed him out to the car and watched him do it for me. I felt like leaving a tip was obligatory, but he refused. Silly man. He probably thought me a silly girl, holding a bottle of antifreeze and examining the little lids under the hood.

"Know where that one goes?" he asked me today as he cashed me out, for 2.17$ (man, this time was cheap!)
"Yes," I said confidently, smiling back at him.
"Have a good one," he mumbled as he handed me my check and gave one last smile.
I walked out to my car and opened the door and set down the jug outside. I knew where the "pop gas lid" lever was, and the one that popped the trunk, too. The one for the hood was tucked somewhere in the dark shadows under the steering wheel, I remembered. I found a little lever and gave it a good yank. To my surprise I ended up with a whole peice of my car in my hand, and when I ducked down to investigate, I found I'd pulled off some kind of surface cover to a bunch of circuits and wires panel. Huh. Who knew that was under there??!!

I tried to snap the panel cover back in place but it was stubborn. I stuffed it under my seat so I wouldn't have to think about it. I groped around more carefully until I found another lever, this one a bit more sturdy. I yank and - pop! The hood unlocked.
Sweet success was beaming in my cheeks as I hopped out and fiddled around at the front of the car for the latch. It was easier to undo than I thought, and I heaved the hood up and found the little stick thiny that supports it. Hoods are heavy! I found the antifreeze container, because I could still see the neon liquid inside. Next to it I found another container with a lid that had a picture of a window. Bingo! A picture? This one must have been designed by a girl.

The poor car took the whole gallon of fluid except for like..... six ounces. I didn't want to throw the jug away. Who knew when six ounces of fluid could make a difference? I took it to my trunk and stashed it next to the four-way and the former jug of antifreeze. Since my hands were already dirty, and I have been using the AC already, I decide to top off the anitifreeze. Weird, glowing liquid splashed around and got on my little blue suede shoes. I used up all of it and threw the jug away. One discarded, one added, not bad. It felt very grown up to be able to slam down the hood (gently) and close my trunk, and wave to the white-haired man behind the front door as I drove away.

In the few minutes of roadway from the store to campus, I felt a deep satisfaction in my stomach. While it would be nice to ask a guy about taking care of my car, it was good to know I could do it myself. At least, two of the fluids. Maybe someday I'll learn how to change the oil! Now that would be a fun, dirty experience, but I'd have one more note to store in my "Notes" section of my Iphone.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time Well Spent

Today I woke up with the urgent pressure in my chest that I had one less day to live. Another precious day in my life, spent; another night, past. I quickly dressed in my Panera uniform and carried my laptop down to my car and warmed up the engine. Cold, dark streets of a city still fast asleep, and my shift at Brixton Square was about to begin. Today would probably not be my last day, but it could be.

It wasn't that long ago that I read Regine's Book. Subtitled A Teen Girl's Last Words, the latest press release on the young adult nonfiction shelf at Barnes and Noble captivated me from title to conclusion. Regine was only 17 when she passed away from cancer, last year in Norway. The book was the published version of her blog, the blog she started when she was first diagnosed at 16 years old. In the book she traces the journey towards the end of her life, one agonizing day at a time, until she passes away. According to the words of her own testimony, she was an atheist who rejected God and religion and passed from life into an eternity in hell. "The fear of never existing is always with me," she wrote so poignantly.

Her blog-turned-book helped refocus my ambitions. Someday, the rapture forbidding, I will no longer have another day to live away. This thought has been with me as I interacted with my customers, fellowshipped with my colleagues, and later drove home. If today was really the last day, would it have been spent well?
The weather today was so nice, the sun so peaceful and breeze so lulling, I carried my growth journal and Bible out to the gazebo on campus to do my devotions. "Put me in remembrance," read the verse in Isaiah, speaking of God himself. As I walk in the light that God has put upon my path, I feel that every day I keep God at the center is a day lived well. He is kind, helpful, gentle, honest, forgiving and... hopeful. I may not know the end of my path, and every step that will fall between now and that end, but today's life is a gift of hope from God.

If we were to live today as if it was the very last chance we'd ever have to be here, I can only imagine the warmth, encouragement, and filial love that would unite our lives. Perhaps the same kind of atmosphere that will meet us one day in heaven.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


If you don't follow my Facebook page, then you don't know about the beautiful, strange ice storm that enveloped Oklahoma City yesterday in a sheath of sparkling, damaging casket of frozen precipitation. It was amazing. The last ice storm I saw was also here at Heartland, in 2011, my first semester here. Both times have really amazed me at the delicate and crazy phenomena in God's creation. Unfortunately, the ice destroyed many of the lovely old trees that line the front of campus, tearing down branches with the weight of the ice and even snapping the massive trunks in half. The wreckage left by the ice has plundered the city north to south, leaving a trail of twisted limbs, cracked windshields, and millions of stillborn baby leaves and buds. Wow.
I've been struggling inside for so long. Last Sunday made 100 days. That's 2,400 hours and 144,000 minutes and 8,640,000 seconds! That's a lot of time on the mind..... But I just wanted to share that on Sunday God really drew near to me and my long-time searching and praying for His guidance was answered with a real revival in my heart. I'm working on a concise post all about it.... which is proving difficult for my verbose brain. But I just wanted to say that He gave me this definite awakening in my vision of my own life and really did some cleaning out of my woefully-deceptive heart. The best part is that having a renewed focus on where He wants me to be working in my spiritual life has been so invigorating and rejuvenating. Really, there is nothing better than having clear sight that is on par with God's.
Part of this revival has led me to dig out my old prayer journal, that has turned into a spiritual journey memento. The hardback Tiffany blue journal with a picture of Paris and an inscripted note from my dear friend Karina Kruchinina is absolutely stuffed with all sorts of treasures from God's growth in my life over the past few years. I don't remember when I got too busy to keep recording, but I'm so glad to be able to look back and see a kaleidoscope of memories - sermon notes, newspaper clippings, song lyrics, comic excerpts, quotes, notes of encouragements from friends, and daily prayer requests and answers. I'm carrying this old journal around and beginning to fill it anew. I was so enthralled with how directly my heart is hearing from God lately - in every devotion, every sermon, every song - that I got a warning from writing too much during combined devotionals. I think I problem was I kept writing right through the closing prayer, but, God has given me a thought and I didn't want to lose it!
So that's a really transparent look as to what my life is undergoing right now. I would be honored if my readers would pray for me especially because I fear Satan's renewed attacks as I try to grow closer to God in these new areas.
Thank you for the encouraging comments and messages. It helps to keep me writing =)
Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, April 8, 2013


I knew that student teaching in a Christian high school would have some kind of effect on my life, even though I walked in with my head reeling and heart anywhere but among the 80 out of control teenagers that seemed to care less who I was or why I had to go through this semester. I looked across the classroom at so many strange faces, so young, so foreign from what I can understand or relate to. My advisory teacher, Sandy, looked at me and said, "Love these kids." How could I love them? I couldn't love anything or anyone. My heart was shattered and each day the consequences of that rained down on my like glowing arrows of glass. I wrote down their names, put on a smile, and gave it my best shot. What could 14 and 15-year-olds come to mean to me, who requested seniors? I knew God had placed me there for a reason, but I wasn't sure I had the strength to even begin pursuing what He might have for me in the classroom.

It took a long time.

Some days I couldn't even go to class. My heart was so dead and as shy as I already am, standing in front of them and trying to think of something to say for three or four hours straight was far too daunting. I can't thank the Lord enough for Sandy and her patience and encouragement for me. When it came time for my first evaluation from the college education board, I shook and couldn't even get a lesson plan put together. Why did it matter, anyways? Each day I left my class and the my real world slammed against me, battering me down, until the school was so far from my mind and so far down my priorities list that I feared I would fail student teaching from lack of heart. When I got home from work and had a precious half hour slot to work on lesson plans and grading, I would just crawl exhausted into bed and wish the world would disappear in the oblivion of sleep.

"I'm praying for you," Sandy said. I'd never told her about what happened. About what I was going through each day, and why I was barely hanging on, and why more often than not I'd start crying for no reason and have to leave the class. She never asked. She just said, "When that evaluator comes today to observe your teaching, I am praying that he sees what I've been seeing all semester: that you are right where you are supposed to be, and where you are standing in this class is right where God's will is for you to be."
She was right.

As the kids became more than just faces and grades, and the class slowly became my class and not Sandy's, I watched God place them one by one in my heart. Not all of them, and not all at once. It was Montrell who started it, and I think I knew it from the beginning. I remember the first time I saw him. When he came slinking into 15 minutes late in an oversized hoodie, clutching his books and hiding behind huge coke-bottle glasses, skinny as a rabbit and as bashful as a baby deer, I looked at him and he looked back at me and we smiled awkwardly at each other.

It wasn't until weeks later that I learned Montrell's story. He was by far one of my best writers. Although I teach English grammar Tuesdays and Thursdays, both me and the kids grit through it and live for Monday and Wednesday, when I teach journalism and either creative writing or poetry. I learned than 99% of American junior high kids in a Christian school love life and think they are God's gift to Oklahoma. Sometimes it annoys the fire out of me, but sometimes it amuses me. I can't remember ever being that stuck on myself or optimistic that I'd rule the country in the future. Me and the kids clashed a lot. My experience was the world outside the United States continually shocked them and challenged their ideals. But I read Montrell's projects and my jaw wanted to drop. Not only was he fervently talented.... he was so deep in his writing. Dark, sad, and very rich with emotion and lexicon. He saw his world so different than his peers, and it captured me.

Then his mother called, and I learned his story. He was adopted. And he loved to write. He wrote because he needed to escape his past. A fourteen year old with a past? It was a new concept to me, because although my late teen years were riddled with tragedy and pain, my childhood was happy and secure.
But when I understood his past, it changed me.

I felt a huge staggering shock rip into my heart. I looked at Montreal the next day in class and it was so hard not to let the tears fall. I'd never met so brave a kid.

I was teaching acrostic poems, and Montrell didn't finish his. He went home, and his mother called because he was struggling and she wanted me to know. I don't know how he did it, but he came to school the next day and his smile was so.... glowing. He had been writing dark, sad poems for so long. He handed me his poem and as I read it, I did cry. I asked him for a copy and I keep it in my Bible, and I read it every night and when I pray for my life, I also pray for Montrell's.

It is so rare for me to feel inspired. But Montreal inspired me, and my life was changed.


My chains are gone, I've been set free.
Only God knows the real me.
No weapons formed against me shall prosper.
Trusting in God, and not the monster.
Remembering, my life has meaning.
Empty inside, but still believing.
Lies, won't be my fall.
Love, conquers all.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


I wasn't sure I ever really wanted to blog again. When you are forced to a crossroads of your life that wasn't your choice and both ways seem empty, a lot of things change on the inside. I don't want to blog about my personal life, but I wanted to keep up my writing skills, and I know that a lot of people miss having this blog to read. I've been keeping up with my personal blog, but a public one? The last thing I want right now is publicity of any kind. If I could disappear from the world for a while, it would be really nice. But life doesn't give us those kinds of options, not really anyways, and I decided I would try to pick this blog back up. I have a feeling it's going to be rough, so please forgive me in advance as I stumble along trying to figure out what God wants me to do and how to get along in the midst of all these changes...

I like the picture here. A little scruffy tree hanging on for dear life, surrounded by a sea of unknown reaches, reaching for the sunlight. In just a few months I have spoken to so many people about hurt, loss, death, and tragedy. There are so many stories out there and I was both inspired and comforted to be a part of these lives. I wanted to blog about some of these, and I hope that they may be a blessing to someone just as they have been to me. In a sea of uncertain, agonizing circumstances, I have to remember to cling to the Rock and reach for the sun.

Because this is really new for me, and I am still overwhelmed with a lot of uncertainty, I would love it if my readers would access my newly-renovated Facebook page and share their comments with me.

I hope that all my readers have a wonderful Lord's day. My prayers are with you all.