I’m back! Or more specifically, I’m trying again. Life got very overwhelming last year, and I had to make some cutbacks, so unfortunately this blog had to take a backseat as well. This year looks like it will be pretty busy as well (I’m looking forward to my wedding, as well as up to three potential international trips), but I will make a strong attempt to keep this going, even if I have to cut back to once or twice a month instead of every week. You wonderful people deserve it! So sorry to keep you waiting this past year.
This week’s picture makes me think of reflections. As I looked out those windows in Indonesia, I thought about where I had been and what lies ahead, and now I am doing the same. This last year has seen Andy and I losing employment, gaining it, losing it, etc. Currently he has found a job and I am still looking (yet another reason why I actually have time to write again!). We are planning our wedding for this spring (finally!) and hope to be heading overseas again shortly afterward.
Together, we’ve had quite the year! Both of us have been very involved in our Toastmasters clubs, with me becoming an officer and taking part in a humorous speech contest, and Andy becoming the very first non-inmate to join a prison club! Andy has kept busy ministering in the prison in various ways, as well as leading tours and working on archive preservation at the historic Harrison House. Of course I can’t mention Andy without his favorite sports, running and archery. This year, he has been teaching me to shoot with him, and he completed his 10th full marathon and 20th half-marathon, earning himself a place in the Marathon Maniacs club (Think: hotel discounts for life!). We’ve also added to our respective families. I took in a stray black cat, Ninja, and adopted a second kitten to keep her company (Leo). And yes, that means there will be occasional cat pictures for you as well! *giggle*
For 2014, we don’t know what it may hold, but we do know God is faithful to lead us. We’re excited for the new adventures that await us… and hopefully they will come with plenty new photos to show you! Thanks everyone for sticking with me. Here’s to a great 2014!
What’s your biggest hope for the new year?
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 7 • 1/350 sec
Inspiration comes in many forms. We can be stirred up by a piece of music or the beauty of nature. It can come from stories of others. A picture like the one above could be found on one of those black motivational posters with a clever caption like “FLIGHT: If you’re crazy enough to attempt it, don’t forget your parachute.” Ok, maybe not. But some of my best inspirations have come from other people.
First, there are stories of overcoming. My aunt Sally is one. She has had cancer four times in the past five years, yet still keeps a positive attitude. Each treatment she faces, she claims will make her cancer cells “scream and run for cover.” 🙂 There’s also stories like “Chase No Face,” a cat who lost her entire face in an accident, but still lives a normal, happy life and has thousands of Facebook fans (Warning to squeamish people: photos on her page are graphic).
There are stories of persistance & accomplishment. My boyfriend Andy was one of the first two people to complete three races in one 24-hour period at the Air Force Marathon 2011, and a friend of his won a race blind. My uncle Doug and aunt Sue were another example. They dated in high school, then were apart for 35 years. Doug never gave up looking for her, and they met again and got married in their 50’s.
Some of my favorites are stories of love and friendship. This past weekend, our pastor, Chris, found out he had cancer in this throat. He asked for prayer from everyone in the church, and I got to see the entire choir surround him for a spontaneous prayer session, and many online friends change their Facebook profile picture for him. Then of course, there’s Jesus. His love for people motivated him to sacrifice his own life to save them, and it wasn’t an pretty death, either! (read more here)
Inspiration can come in many forms, but the stories are what make it personal.
Who inspires you? Why?
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 7 • 1/680 sec
“PrayforJapan” is currently the #1 trending topic on Twitter. Last night, the island was hit with an 8.9 magnitude earthquake. The resulting tsunami has hit several other nations as well. I spent a while this morning talking with a friend whose Japanese family members weren’t responding (they have been found safe now – praise God!), as well as with another friend who has been up since 3am working with those providing aid. There were also many on Skype this morning praying over this. Like my friend in the photo is doing, right now we all should be praying over Japan.
The situation is difficult, but at least the early warning signals got a majority of people out of the way in time. The US Geological Survey has rated this quake as the largest in Japan, and the fifth strongest on record. Right now, the death toll is at several hundred, which is fairly low for the size of the disaster. A 1923 quake in Tokyo killed 140,000 people by comparison. Still, for the families affected, the cost is already as high as it could get. On the mainland, canceled flights, floods, power failures, and fires are making travel and communication difficult. Google recently released a live feed of news stories and practical help for those affected, including a person finder app for those still missing family members. The AP has released several photos of the conditions in Tokyo, for those who haven’t seen them all over the news already. Finally, Reuters has posted an evaluation of how the disaster will affect various business arenas in the USA.
In times like this I am reminded of how little control we really have over our lives. We never know when disasters like this can change everything we know in a moment. It gives me perspective on how I spend my time – is what I’m doing right now really making a difference? Life is short, so I should be using my life to make the world a better place.
Have you or your family and friends been affected by the earthquake or tsunami in any way? Share your stories, updates and prayers in the comments.