Posts Tagged ‘God’

OK, so I’m not at the ranch right now, but I couldn’t resist.

So… it’s been nearly 3 weeks since we arrived, and I’m just now posting this? Well, I have been kind of busy, plus Internet access has been somewhat sporadic. All right, enough with the excuses. I’ve been procrastinating too.

Anyway, these past couple of weeks have been… interesting to say the least. The trip over here was slightly insane, starting with a 3:30 am wake-up to get to the train station by 5:45 to catch a 6:13 train (just barely made it, no thanks to a rather massive detour due to road work). The train ride up to Paris and the subsequent flight to New York all went smoothly; it was on the flight from New York to Norfolk that things once again hit a snag. Our flight was delayed for 3 hours due to bad weather somewhere along the original route (they must have recalculated the route half a dozen times before we finally took off), and when we finally did arrive, we discovered that our bags had somehow not made it onto the plane, so we had to wait another hour and a half for them to show up on the next flight. By the time we finally made it to Grandpa’s, it was after 8:00 pm (2:00 am French time – I’d been up for almost 24 hours). So much for catching the NCIS season finale “live” (though when I finally did get to watch it online I discovered I hadn’t really missed much – pretty anticlimactic and “meh”).

The first couple of days were spent grocery shopping and sorting out details for the weekend, and then it was off to Fredericksburg to catch the last couple of days of Awaken the Dawn. We stayed with my old college pastor and his family, which was a lot of fun. I hadn’t seen them since graduation 4 years ago, so naturally we had a ton of catching up to do. Also got to catch up with a couple of my college friends who were still in the area. More importantly, I was able to recharge my spiritual batteries a bit and enjoy a conference without being on staff for a change (not that it isn’t rewarding, but it’s ultimately exhausting).
I will readily admit that staying focused proved to be rather challenging though: Saturday morning we got a phone call from my mom saying that Roxer had died very suddenly a few hours before. He’d had what appeared to be epileptic seizures and passed away several hours later (we found out through a friend that it may have been some kind of tumor or aneurism that occurs sometimes in Golden Retrievers). Needless to say, Sandrine took it really hard, as did the rest of us. I know that in the grand scheme of things, losing a dog may not seem that important, but he was part of our family, and losing a family member is always hard. All of us, as well as a good number of our friends, were praying for a miracle. (Hey, if God can raise people from the dead, why not animals?) But, after a week of nothing happening, my dad was finally forced to bury him. 😦 Coming home next week is definitely going to be bittersweet for me.

The following week was fairly quiet, punctuated by a thrift store shopping spree with one of my mom’s best friends (she is AWESOME). That Friday saw us on the road yet again, this time heading up to Charlottesville to spend Memorial Day weekend with my aunt, uncle and cousins. That was mildly insane, but lots of fun. We went strawberry picking on Saturday, which resulted in, among other things, a fabulous strawberry pie. Sunday we went to the Green Valley Book Fair, where I refrained from buying everything that caught my eye only because I remembered I have limited space in my suitcase. 😛 Before that, we’d stopped by a tack shop and picked up a few goodies. And before we headed out on Monday, we visited some friends of my uncle’s who just started up a Louisiana-style catering business and were offering a free lunch. It was simply delicious.

Last Tuesday was our long-overdue visit to the ranch. For me, it was a chance to take a little stroll down memory lane and become barn staff again for a day, and for Sandrine it was a chance to meet some of her future co-workers and get her feet wet, so to speak. As expected, she really hit it off with everyone and fell in love with the place instantly. She may even have already found her favorite ranch horse. I now have absolutely no worries about dropping her off there later today. I’m almost tempted to stay, but I can’t.

The highlight of the rest of the week was the Greater Glory conference at the Founders Inn, featuring (among others) Todd Bentley. I hadn’t been back there in years, and amazingly, it was pretty much exactly how I remembered it. Talk about a trip down memory lane. The one thing I’m really glad stayed the same was how the presence of God permeated the building. I still remember being 8-9 years old and falling asleep in the back of the room because the meeting went on longer than I could keep my eyes open, just soaking up the heavenly atmosphere. There were a few times I was tempted to do that again.

Saturday I finally got to see BJ and spend the day with her and her family. Between Starbucks, laptop shopping, fast food, playing with new laptop, hanging out and generally just being silly, I think I can safely say a good time was had by all. 🙂

Sunday I got to meet up with another friend who was house-sitting for her parents. We had fun watching movies and keeping up a running commentary (and in the case of Gone With the Wind, mocking some of the characters). Not quite so fun was keeping the nosy poodle away from our Snickers bars.

I have a few more friend meet-ups lined up this week, and then Sunday it’s back to France I go. Already… crazy how fast it’s gone by.

Oh, and before you ask, yes, there will be pictures when I get back.


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Don’t panic

Or, as a good friend of mine likes to say, “Everything’s going to be just fine.”

Or, as my very best friend likes to say, “There will be NO DYING today!”

So, in case you hadn’t figured it out from the long silence and the introduction, life has been, well, more than slightly insane, I guess you could say. Since my last post, my grandmother was hospitalized after a fall, returned home, then was moved to a nursing home due to her deteriorating health (I ended up doing most of the packing), and in the 3 weeks following that, I’ve played yet another round of Musical Furniture, been to a Women’s Champions League semifinal game, done battle with writer’s block and insomnia, and now I’m helping to prepare for this weekend’s seminar (or trying to). Did you follow all that? Good.

I really don’t have a whole lot to say about my grandmother moving to a nursing home, except it’s quite frankly a relief. Don’t get me wrong, I love her very much, but she really wasn’t doing that well the past few months and taking care of her was getting to be exhausting. Not to mention she wasn’t exactly a model patient. It was really in everyone’s best interests that she be placed in professional hands, so to speak. From what I’ve heard, she’s doing a lot better now.

It’s made life a lot easier for the rest of us now. We can actually all go somewhere for more than an hour at a time, for one thing. We took full advantage of that on the 9th when we found out that the OL women’s team was playing Arsenal at Lyon in the Women’s Champions League semifinals. I’d been wanting to watch a game there for years, plus it was a great opportunity to show some support for French women’s soccer, which is only just now starting to catch on. (Some of you may not know that I played recreational league soccer for 3 years before seriously getting back into horseback riding, and it’s still one of my favorite sports, both to play and to watch.) I was very pleasantly surprised at the crowd that showed up: the official tally was 20,123 people. Of course, the ridiculously cheap tickets might have had something to do with it. Not that anyone was complaining. Judging from the comments I heard around me, this was the first time many of them had ever seen a women’s game, and they were impressed by how good they were. After one particularly spectacular save, one guy even commented, “Wow, I don’t think even the guys could pull that off!”
The Lyon ladies earned themselves quite a few new fans that afternoon. The fact that they won 2-0 was really just the icing on the cake. 🙂

I’ve been attempting to unwind and, well, find myself again these past couple of weeks, and I’m not entirely sure I’ve succeeded yet. With the exception of the youth conference in February and a couple of really good riding sessions here and there, the past few months have been pretty rough, to say the least. I was not exagerrating when I said caring for my grandmother was exhausting, both physically and mentally. Add to that the fact that things at church weren’t going well, and you had a recipe for disaster. I was giving more and more of myself and getting very little in return. Not that the rest of the family didn’t sympathize – far from it – but they were just as worn out as I was. We’re all still incredibly tired.
Thankfully God did not let me break down and lose it, though I came close a few times. It’s a miracle I wasn’t a total wreck by the time it was all over. That being said, I’m still really not myself. In a way, I haven’t exactly been myself for years. I’m getting there, though, I hope. Some days I still feel like I’m just stumbling along, but as a good friend of mine said recently, the important thing is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and trusting God to lead me in the right direction.

In other news, I was finally able to start working again on a story I started about two years ago. Over the course of one year, I’d written and posted nine chapters and started the tenth. Then I got hit with what was probably my worst case of writer’s block ever. Once in a while (read: once every 3 or 4 months), I’d manage to add a couple of sentences, but I never seemed to really get anywhere. Finally, last week I sat myself down and made myself finish that chapter before going to bed (much like I’m doing for this blog entry, actually). I ended up going to bed at 3:30 am, but I did finally finish it. The chapter, that is; the story itself still has a ways to go. I’m not sure yet just how many more chapters are left or exactly where it’s going to end up, but I have a few ideas floating around in my head. After this weekend, I plan to start expanding on those ideas. In the meantime, if you’re interested in reading what I’ve written so far, here’s the link: Healing Haven

I mentioned earlier that we’ve got a seminar coming up this weekend. Getting ready for this one has been something of a challenge, but we’ve just about got all the details sorted out – I hope. I honestly don’t know what to expect this time around, but I’m sure it’ll be good. (I say that every time, don’t I?)

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note, we have two new ponies at the barn! They arrived last Friday. They’re both very young (3 years old and very recently saddle broke), but I think they’re going to fit in just fine. One of them is already showing signs of being a great kids’ pony; totally unflappable and he loves being petted and cuddled. The kids will be fighting over him in no time, I just know it. 😛

And that’s a wrap. For today, anyway. Should be pictures next time.

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(Almost) Midnight Musings

I do my best – or rather, most honest, uncensored thinking and writing late at night, it seems… Many an introspective (and rambling) journal entry has been made by me at the most ungodly hour. It was only a matter of time until this happened with my blog as well.

OK then, where do I start? The past several weeks have been mostly uneventful, but the past two have had me alternately thinking hard and trying very hard not to think too much.

What prompted this, you ask? A conference up in Paris (actually, a town just outside of Paris) the weekend before last, featuring several friends of ours. My mom had also been invited as a guest speaker, and my sister and a few others had been requested to lead worship. I must say it was a little odd to not be involved in any way, but frankly I needed it. I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that I got more out of that weekend than I have from my church in the past year. It’s sad, but true. Just being able to fully get into worship without any loud distractions was wonderful, and being fed something of substance for a change… well, words fail me. Like I said, I needed it.

And, as I said before, it led to me doing a good bit of thinking since then. I’ve had a feeling for a while that God is about to do something major in my life (next weekend’s youth conference will most likely be involved). Exactly what I have not the foggiest idea at this point, but I don’t really care. All I know is that things are going to change, and I’m more than OK with that. Much as I crave stability, I know things can’t always stay the same and that it’s actually a good thing. Without change, there can be no growth, no new discoveries or adventures, and I know God has loads of that in store for me. And I want it. Badly. I am beyond sick of being stuck where I am. Not that things are horrible by any means, but knowing that there’s more and better stuff out there has made me very unsatisfied. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that since all that stuff is rightfully mine. So there. 😛 (I think that sounded better in my head, but hopefully you understand what I mean.)

Sandrine asked me yesterday what I really wanted. The standard – and horribly clichéd – answer would be a closer relationship with God, and that’s certainly true. But I also believe that He wants us to live a full life here on Earth, so what does that look like for me? I’m not entirely sure, but I do know that I want:

  • a job that I am truly passionate about
  • a chance to fully explore and use my artistic and musical abilities
  • a home of my own that I can open to others as a safe place

There’s more, but I am literally falling asleep in front of my computer, so I’m going to call it a night. More when I’m more awake and hopefully focused.

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Yep, that would be me. Guilty as charged. *headslaps self* Bad me, bad me.

Anyway, fall has fallen here (somehow that doesn’t sound quite as catchy as “spring has sprung”). Though you’d never guess from the temperatures we’ve had the past couple of days. I hate ADD weather. 😛

But enough about that. Fall means riding classes, which in turn means lots of dirt, sweat, aching muscles, big grins – and the occasional mishap when running up the ponies. I thought I’d seen and heard it all with the Triple-R herd (over 65 horses), but these guys have provided me with some brand new adventures.
The ponies’ pasture is roughly half a mile from the barn. They usually draft about 4 or 5 people to bring them in (depending on the day, there are usually 10 or 11 ponies). Each person rides one pony bareback and leads one or two others. Sounds simple, right? Well, with these guys Murphy’s law seems to be in effect all the time. Saturday before last I got stuck with two knuckleheads whose only interest was eating. Every five steps they’d stop and start munching away. Halfway to the barn, Poncho (the pony I was leading) yanked his lead rope right out of my hands. I had to jump off the pony I was riding, grab him, and then continue the rest of the way on foot. One of the other girls was in the same predicament. Needless to say, we were both a little miffed. Granted, this wasn’t nearly as spectacular as the time the entire 3R herd turned around and ran back to the barn just as they reached the pasture (the work of two very dumb horses – yes, they do exist). I did not, however, have to jog a quarter of a mile while basically dragging two several-hundred-pound knuckleheads that time. And that was after an hour-long jumping class in which I rode a rather hyper mare. Getting out of bed and to church the next morning was something of a challenge.

Speaking of church, it appears I’ve been drafted to lead worship on Friday nights (or at the very least on a regular basis), and I’m now in the rotation for Sunday mornings as well. I’d been expecting it, since they’d been talking about that for months, but it still feels a little strange. So far it’s been going really well, despite me feeling like I’m just flying by the seat of my pants. Then again, I understand things tend to go a lot better if you just let God take over. 😉

In other news, as of last Saturday, I’m an aunt! Sort of; my “adopted” brother and his wife (who also counts as an adopted sister) had a baby boy. His name is Joshua, and he is absolutely adorable. (Unfortunately, my pictures are on a different computer, so you’ll have to wait until the next post to see them.) He’s a very special kid. I don’t know exactly what God’s got planned for him, but we’re all pretty sure it’s something extraordinary. 🙂
On a side note, when we went up to Grenoble to see the family, we discovered that it is a city that requires an actual map in order to navigate. We’d bought a GPS for the car precisely because we kept getting lost there, and wouldn’t you know it, we managed to get lost anyway. The funny thing is, we’re usually pretty good at finding our way after we make a wrong turn. Go figure. 😛

That about wraps it up for now. Until next time, keep an eye out for Lucy:

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… so what do I do with it?

Kidding. Once upon a time I kept my MySpace blog updated fairly regularly, but that kind of fell by the wayside a while back and until recently I didn’t really feel like starting another.

Now then, where to start? I think most, if not all of you reading this already know me, at least to an extent, so I’ll skip the whole “let me introduce myself” bit. And if you don’t know me, that’s what the “About Me” section is for. 😛

So let’s just get on with it, shall we?

For those of you who may not have been aware, I suffered from depression for the better part of a year, up until about 6 weeks ago. Thankfully it wasn’t severe, but it was enough to put a damper on life in general for a good while. I have a wonderful family and some great friends who helped me keep my head above water, but it was still really hard to get motivated to do much of anything or really get excited about stuff. Some days were OK; I’d spend some time in worship and actually feel pretty good, or I’d have a good ride at the barn (I swear that place is a God-send). Other days things got to be a little too much and I’d have a bit of a breakdown.

This went on until the weekend of February 19th. My sisters and I had (with some help) organized a youth conference at a retreat center about 45 minutes away from our house. We had invited a Welsh guy by the name of Justin Abraham to be the main speaker. He came, along with two members of his ministry team. The weekend was, in a word, crazy, but in a very, very good way. You see, French people (or French Christians, at least) tend to have a hard time loosening up and really letting go. We’re not very good at just turning our brains off and letting God take over. That weekend was very freeing for a lot of people, and I saw God do some incredible things in their lives. For me personally, I was sick as a dog for the vast majority of the weekend, so a lot of it was a bit hazy. I came away feeling like I’d had a good time and made some great new friends, but not feeling any major change. A day or two later, I was IM’ing a friend of mine back in the States about it and he asked me what God had done for me that weekend. I thought for a moment and it suddenly hit me: “Hey, I don’t feel depressed anymore! I actually feel… normal!”

That’s not to say that it’s been all sunshine and roses since. Some days I really have to fight not to let myself get dragged back down again, but for the most part the past 6 weeks have been a lot better. My riding has improved – horses are incredibly sensitive, and being happy and relaxed makes a huge difference in how they respond to you. My self-confidence is returning too, which makes a huge difference in, well, just about everything. I’m feeling much more self-assured when I help lead worship at church, and I’m finding it easier to get into worship in general (still mostly at home, but there are other factors at work there). I’m still not quite 100%, but I know God’s going to finish what He started. 🙂

All that to say, I think I know now how it feels to be broken and trust God to put all the pieces back together again. This was probably one of the biggest tests of faith I’ve experienced: there were days when, if I hadn’t been 100% certain that God wants me right here, I’d have packed up and gone back to the States (more specifically, the ranch). Trusting God was very difficult sometimes, but, as always, He came through.

So that’s the biggest thing that’s been going on with me recently.

As far as future posts are concerned, I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be posting super regularly or just when inspiration strikes. I’m leaning towards regularly, but we’ll see. Also, rest assured, not every post will be as serious as this one. I felt I needed to give you guys some context to start with, but I will most likely be back in my usual semi-goofy/sarcastic mode next time, especially if I have an interesting “adventure” to relate. Oh, and if you have any suggestions as far as topics, posting schedule or whatever, feel free to share in the comments.

Until next time, take care and God bless! 🙂

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