Monday, December 10, 2007


I apologize for not writing in some time. Holiday season is a tough time to be in retail, and it makes my free time few and far between. And the free time I do have has a couch calling out to me with a mug of hot cocoa and a movie I've already seen a gazillion times.

I'm so tired, it's not even funny. I'm not getting enough sleep, and even when I get a full 8 hours, it feels like I haven't gotten any. It's increasingly more difficult to get out of bed in the mornings to get to work...particularly with these holiday hours. And if all of my on calls are used next week, which I'm anticipating they will be, I'll be working 50 next week. And my second job wanted me to work an extra shift next week on top of that (to which I had to decline). It wouldn't be so bad if it was all at one job. But getting up really early in the morning to work one job, and hopping on a bus to work until night at a 2nd job is really taking its toll on me. In only a couple more weeks, Christmas will be over. I hate that I am not enjoying the season as I should be and that I'm losing focus on what it's all about. But these customers really wear me out....because it certainly doesn't help that customers try to convince me of what a horrible person I am just because they can't remember that Christmas is always on December 25th.

Our Christmas program at church is in a couple of weeks. I'm part of the singing ensemble, I'm part of a drama, and I'm singing a solo. I'm trying to memorize it all, remembering if I should harmonize here or there, who I speak my lines after, and not mixing up the words with "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" with "Oh Great Light of the World." I was practicing my solo with Scott and between being embarrassed that I hadn't memorized the song yet, and that I still am not comfortable with the key it's in, and the frog in my throat, I wanted to just sit there and cry. I got in the car with Wes after practice and said "I did awful" convinced that the guy who is playing guitar for me who knows music is going to regret letting me sing, especially when practice is followed by the question of "so how do you think practice went?" (you know that question that's asked rather than coming out and saying "yeah, you didn't do so great." But that's no one's fault but my own). But how did it go? Umm, in a nutshell? Just kick me out of the program now. It will save everyone a lot of trouble. But all I could say was "it's getting there," silently hoping that the words might be true. It's not that the Christmas program is too much to handle. Hardly. I've memorized and sung way more than this before due to being a vocal music major in high school, so this is not beyond me at all. I just don't sing much anymore, particularly after I had a hurtful experience in a previous church that had me packing up and hiding my vocal chords. This is the first time in several years I'll be doing a solo and I'm terrified I'll be going through a deja vu.

And then there's all the school stuff...just not believing in myself. Believing I'll fail public speaking and I haven't even attended orientation yet! Freaking out about the possibility of feeding a live rat or mouse to a snake in herpeculture. I don't mind snakes at all, in fact I quite like them, but I truly love rodents.

Why am I experiencing so much self doubt lately? I keep telling myself that I can rise above this all. But I feel broken down and defeated. What should be a joyous time of year is becoming quite a trying one...and they're obstacles that seem somewhat trivial. But when they're one right after another, it's enough to make me want to sleep away the entire season. Todd preached a message last month on being joyful in our trials and the message has replayed in my mind over and over again. I recently asked God to help me find that joy.

Then last week we took Eggnog to the vet and discovered his bladder stone is gone. Our baby is not crying out in pain every few minutes just to use the bathroom and he's gaining back the weight he lost. This stone was too big to pass on his own and yet it's not in his little body. Our vet smiled big at us and said "Merry Christmas." In the middle of so many little things going wrong, God gave us a Christmas miracle.

It's been a daily battle for me here to not give in. It has helped me to keep thinking back to last Thursday when I nuzzled Eggnog and told him over and over again how happy I was for him. And tonight, I picked up Mocha and whispered to him "just be with me, I'm so worn down." As if he knew what I said, he kissed my nose, plopped down on my chest, and promptly fell asleep, breathing in and out with my arm wrapped around him. It was 20 minutes of peace.

These aren't exactly the examples of joy that are being referred to in James when he says "consider it all joy." But it was like God was providing a very tangible way for me to reflect on it. It's really hard to find my confidence, let alone joy, in the midst of all this self doubt....especially when I know the problem is with me. It's not some external problem that can be solved so I don't have to deal with it. But I know God will use this time so that when I look back, I can remember how God pulled me through. And I know God will use this time to mold me and to have me grow in Him. There is joy in that.

And really, I'm excited about the Christmas program. It has helped me maintain some level of sanity in the midst of a season I hate to work.

"Consider it all joy." I'm really trying.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Little Wonders

Our lives are made in these small hours - these little wonders - these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours - these little wonders still remain.

Back in June 2004 I had the opportunity to participate in a tour at Disney World called "Dolphins in Depth." The three hours was devoted to learning about the dolphins, their anatomy, their training sessions, and their conservation (and conservation of marine life in general). Approximately 30 minutes of those three hours were spent in the water with the dolphins. I had always wanted to simply touch a dolphin. Touch one, that's it. And here I was, in a wet suit, in the water with two dolphins. There were eight of us on the tour and we split into groups of four and each group was with one dolphin. While my group was rubbing down a dolphin, he opened up his blow hole and sprayed me in the face. A couple of teen girls from the other group saw and were "eww"-ing themselves to death, while I stood there laughing and smiling. We all received photos of us and our dolphin and after the tour ended I told Wes that nothing could ruin my day. I couldn't stop smiling and my cheeks hurt tremendously. When I brought the photo to work after returning home, one of my coworkers commented on how truly happy I looked. I can honestly say that it was one of the happiest moments of my life and thinking back on the experience still brings tears to my eyes. Some people have looked at me like I am crazy..."it's just a dolphin and it was just 30 minutes!" But it's a really big deal to me.

I have wasted too much of my life looking for the next grand moment...the moment that will sweep me off my feet and take my breath away. You know, the moments that are Grand Canyon-like where my husband all of a sudden transforms into the hero from some chick flick where everything he says and does is perfect. But that isn't reality. The reality is that my husband and I are both sinners and we don't have someone writing a script for us where we can always say the right things at the right time. My life isn't a series of one grand event after another. It's a series of small events that have grand meaning in my heart. Yes, there are grand events that have happened in my life that were truly some of the best moments of my life. Getting married would be one of them. But I've also found that I need to pay attention to the little moments...the moments that may mean nothing to someone else or may not last very long. I can't let the moment pass, I need to treasure them because I can never go back in time and relive that moment. Sure, I may have similar experiences in the future, but I will never relive that exact moment in time.

I am camera happy and one of my favorite photo subjects are my guinea pigs. I spent about an hour on the bed with Eggnog one day as I snapped photos of the two of us together. Not the easiest thing to do when you're holding the camera with one hand and you have a critter who is anxious to explore. So many of my pics came out blurry. But I love them because it captured a moment we had together...a moment that I felt peaceful and happy. My favorite picture of that day was captured right when he licked my nose. It's horribly out of focus, but I don't care. I will never forget the feeling I had when he turned to kiss me. The same is true for the little moments I share with Wes. I'll never forget the feelings I have when I get an email from him, or he picks a little flower for me, etc. Those moments just seem to make the bad go away.

Grand moments are awesome, but it's the little moments that make up most of our lives. We need to focus on them, not ignore them while waiting for the next big thing. Don't just stop and smell the roses. Study that rose, know it, remember it....cherish it.

All of my regret will wash away somehow,
but I cannot forget the way I feel right now.

Dolphins in Depth photo by Disney

Eggnog & Mary photo by Mary
"Little Wonders" lyrics (in italics) by Rob Thomas

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What time is it?

I'm currently reading Terri Irwin's book called "Steve and Me: Life with the Crocodile Hunter." It's such a bittersweet book, reading about all these happy and lovely memories, but knowing ultimately how it's going to end. One part caught my attention in specific...when Terri and the kids were in Tasmania and Bindi had purchased a new watch. Out of nowhere, Bindi looks down at her watch and says "it's twelve o'clock." They all stopped to consider that it was twelve o'clock and moved on. Soon after, Terri received the news that Steve was killed...and time of death had been twelve o'clock, the moment Bindi looked at her watch and called out the time. Earlier in the book, it was mentioned how Steve had fallen off a piece of machinery as though something knocked him happened to be the very moment when his mother was killed in a car accident.

I thought back to the day my grandfather passed away. How we received the phone call from one of my aunts around 4:30am telling me his breathing had changed and we needed to get out there. We got up, got ready (and I grabbed extra clothes so I could stay with my family a few days), and headed out. Being that the drive was around 45 minutes to an hour, we had to stop at a gas station since we were low. I was feeling quite panicked, and found it difficult to even breathe. While Wes was pumping gas, I looked at the clock...5:15am. All of a sudden a wave of sadness came over me. The panic was gone, I could breathe normally again, but I was overwhelmed with sadness. We finally arrived at the house around 6am or so and my mom came outside to meet me. She told me he died at about 5:15am.

And even though I never knew this man personally, I can recall all the details going on when I learned of Steve Irwin's death. It was late and I was tired and was ready to go to bed. Wes was already asleep and all the lights were off and I was on the computer wrapping up. I was about ready to shut down the computer when I just felt an urge to stay online for another hour. Being that it was already around 12:30am, there wasn't exactly a lot happening in the online world so it made no sense for me to think that I needed to stay up that extra time. But the urge remained so I played around on Yahoo games for awhile, bored out of my mind and wanting so bad to go to sleep. Approximately an hour later, I got off the games, refreshed my home page and a picture of Steve Irwin appeared with a blaring headline that read "Crocodile Hunter feared dead." A few minutes later, another headline appeared confirming that it was, in fact, Steve Irwin who died. While he had passed away over a day prior to the headline appearing, we were just receiving word of it in the States. I remember covering my mouth so I wouldn't wake up Wes with my sobs. But it brought me right back to when I was sitting at a gas station, looking at a clock that read 5:15am.

It's a bit eerie, isn't it? To have a moments in which you don't know why you're noticing something or feeling something, but you just notice it or feel it. But sometimes I wonder if this is God preparing us for moments that we need to be ready for. Moments that can rock our world, moments that seem to suspend reality for God cluing us in to what's ahead? And don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about some psychic ability. That would be absurd to peg me as that kind of believer. But I am not ruling out the possibility that God can and some times does do things that are clues to what we need to be ready for...particularly if it's something that will deeply affect us.

I had no appetite when my grandfather died. We all went out to eat that day as a big family and I couldn't finish even half of my meal. I remember a comment being made to me that I should eat since someone else was paying for me. But I just couldn't get the food down...otherwise it would come right back up. I could barely sleep for days and when I did sleep, I had dreams that haunted me. Though I never knew Steve Irwin, I cried for days on end after his death...being that what he did was something I felt so deeply about. I'm sure many of those tears were also from unresolved grief over my grandfather. However in the midst of both of those situations, and others, I was comforted by the knowledge that somehow, at particular times, I had been prepared. I was prepared for a storm I was about to face. I won't sit here and pretend that my sadness over Steve Irwin is matched with that of the rest of the Irwin family. Hardly. But I bring it up because of my own experiences of noticing the time of things...and seeing how others have experienced it as well when it was mentioned that Bindi took notice of the time.

Do I believe that God will always give me some divine revelation prior to an event or right at the moment of an event when I haven't yet learned of it? No. But I do believe there are times when God gives us a sign in order to prepare our if He were saying "there's something you need to's a small insight." And not that I believe there's something going to happen every moment that I want to know what time it is...but I've also learned to not ignore something God is very clearly putting in front of me.

Photo of tv preview by Mary King (me)

Monday, October 22, 2007

An Alternate Plan

Yesterday, on the way home from church, Wes and I talked about a troubled teen who has a response of violence any time things don't go his way. In fact, Wes had been pulled aside by the teen's mother and told "don't make him mad, he gets really angry." Naturally this raised concerns about working with a teen who is prone to violence. In the middle of the conversation, my mind went in all kinds of directions and I stopped and told Wes that I was about to sound like a selfish brat and then asked, "how is it that I can't have children?" The question was lost on us, but I felt the frustration in me rise. I couldn't understand why a home with people who would raise a child in Christ would be denied children and yet homes in which violence abounds have one or more children. Later yesterday I told Wes that I would love to have a boy and a girl, but I would just be happy with one. One.

And then last night happened. We have three guinea pigs who are on a special diet to prevent & combat bladder stones. One had surgery about a month ago and needs another surgery. He takes medicine five times a day. For the most part he has been good about taking his medicine, but the last couple of days I have had to semi-force the syringe in his mouth. Last night was one of those moments and it broke my heart when he squirmed and squeaked, trying to get away. Every few minutes, I hear cries of pain as he tries to use the bathroom. Today my heart dropped when I couldn't see him breathing and too afraid to touch him, I called out his name in a panicking tone. At the second call of his name, he perked up his head, eyes half open from being woken from a deep sleep (something he hasn't done in a long time). Immediately tears flowed out from my eyes as a wave of emotion came over me as I felt both scared and relieved.

This little one to the left and hanging out in the pumpkin is Eggnog. He has two brothers, Mocha and Coconut. He is also the one who is struggling with bladder stones. As I sat here trying to convince myself of how much more deserving of children I am than other people, God reminded me of this precious animal. And a realization came over me....
I am not responsible for the life of a child right now and I may never be. But I am responsible for the life of Eggnog and the lives of his brothers. They depend on me for their survival. They know me, they know my voice...they trust me. They know I will not harm them. They know if they get scared, they can bury their face under my chin and I will protect them. They know I will bind their wounds when they bleed, I will cradle them when they whimper, and I will comfort them when they mourn. I shudder to think of what would have happened to these beautiful creatures had they wound up being some child's "starter pet" (the idea of a starter pet truly upsets me). Would they know to rub Mocha in that special way that makes him purr or what way to hold him that makes him feel safe? Would they know how to watch Coconut's body language since he's a pretty quiet piggy or that he likes to be rubbed under his chin? Would Eggnog get the proper care he needs for his bladder stones and would they know his most favorite treat is watermelon? I'm grateful that I know them to know all of these things.

I held Eggnog in the bed today and we laid down together. He laid on a towel as he has been having trouble controlling his bladder. A few minutes into our quiet time (known as "Mama & Eggnog time"), he stiffened up and began to cry in pain. I knew this meant he was peeing. I gently rubbed his back and softly told him that it was ok, that I was right here. A few seconds later the crying stopped and he walked a couple of inches over to my face and licked my lips a few times. My heart swelled.

I can't honestly say that I am content in our no-children situation right now. But as I look into the faces of these beautiful animals who depend on me, I can't help but think that God has set aside this time for me to take care of them. Right now, they need me.

When I am tempted to ask why, I see this big hand pointing towards their cage and a voice that says, "Because."

Photo by Mary King (me)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Conserving Creation

I just found out about Blog Action Day and being that this year's topic is about the environment, I thought I would add my own post with it.

Conservation and the environment is something that has become pretty important to me and Wes. Yesterday in Sunday school, Scott went over Psalm 8 and I really loved this part of it:
"You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, and all that swims in the paths of the seas." Psalm 8:6-8
I guess the passage stuck out to me because not only does it confirm mankind's dominion over the earth, but it implies a responsibility. When we think of rulers, the ideal is that the ruler takes care of their kingdom. Unfortunately many rulers throughout history have been tyrannical, to the point of destroying their own kingdoms. So how do we learn from those lessons when we realize that we are rulers over God's creation? Are we taking care of it? Or do we become "tyrannical" and destroy it?

I am not a fan of the whole global warming craze. Wes and I find it pretty ridiculous and even scientists have said there is no absolute proof. But put a high profile politician on the case and tag along a bunch of A-list celebs, and the world goes ga-ga over something not even proven. There are pros and cons to this. The good thing is that people are becoming more aware of our need to be good stewards of what God has given us. The bad thing is that so much focus and attention (and money) is being spent towards an event that is doubtable that it takes away from things that are in a bigger state of urgency.

On another blog I read regularly (partly because the blog happens to be my Dad's), it was mentioned that he believes that human race isn't the enemy of the earth. And I agree. Wes & I, environmentalists that we are, do not believe we are the earth's enemy. That implies that we are intentionally destroying it with no desire to restore it. And that's not true. Well let me correct that, as there always is an exception to the rule. But generally, people don't want to see the earth in shambles. We do, however, believe that humankind is responsible for much of what is happening. Mad Cow disease is a result of humans feeding diseased cow meat and bones to living gets passed to humans when the cows are killed to sell to humans to eat. A cow on its own is an herbivore. Humans have brought on Mad Cow disease by feeding cows something that goes against how God designed them. We screwed it up. That's just one example. But that's not to say it can't be changed. It can be!! And that's what is so awesome about it. We don't have to live in a state of impending doom, which has tended to be the theme of global warming activists. There is still so much good going on with creation, humans just need to see the error of their ways and start fixing what has been messed up. Now will that ever happen 100%? Of course not...we live in a fallen, sinful world. But that doesn't mean that those who know better, Christians in particular who know of our dominion over the earth, can't try and do something about it. My dad, for example, picks up candy wrappers blown in the wind rather than letting it blow to someone else's lawn. I hope people can see that taking care of God's creation can be as simple as that.

Wes and I have made the decision to incorporate more organic and all natural foods into our diet. We have decided to purchase only free range meat. We have boycotted Canadian seafood. Quick jaunts to Whole Foods has us bringing our canvas bag to save on their paper/plastic bags (and usually means a discount for us as a result). I realize that our convictions run deeper than most people we know. That's ok...we're not going to go all PETA on people and expect them to live as we do (hey, we don't even like PETA). I just hope that the next time Christians are taking in the beauty of God's creation, that they understand just how much responsibility we bear in our dominion over it. And let us remember that while we may have dominion over the earth, we are not God...this earth is His creation.

The world is not ours to mess up.

Photo by Mary King (me)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dealing with Death - The Comfort of a Prepared Room

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."
John 14:2

Heaven has been on my mind quite a bit lately. And really, it ties in to the fact that death, also, has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I found out this morning that a girl who worked at our store last Christmas season was killed in a car/motorcycle crash a couple of days ago. I wasn't close friends with her, but there's a sense of shock when someone you knew is now no longer there. I found it hard to keep my composure being how much I had been thinking about death and heaven lately. It was scary. I keep thinking back to last Christmas, how none of us, least of all her, knew it would be her last Christmas. I do praise God she was saved.

Death hits me hard. I remember when my world crashed when my beloved grandfather passed away. I take it hard when an animal dies. When our guinea pig, Smirnoff died in my arms, all I wanted to do was hold him forever. I still weep over him, our other piggy Ulysses (who died shortly after Smirnoff) and our first pet Squirrely, a hamster. I cried as I cradled a squirrel in my arms when he died. I fear my guinea pigs now dying. And I definitely fear Wes dying. I just don't deal well with death. I am not fond of death, and I don't know too many people who are. I am always the "worst case scenario" person in my mind. I convinced myself as a child that I would have some horrible death, which probably explains why today, I'm afraid to die. I think I watched way too many episodes of America's Most Wanted. Part of my fear of death is what I'll leave behind, and I'm not talking about the material items. I'm scared of leaving my family behind. I'm scared of taking my last breath and not being able to hold my guinea pigs anymore. Of not seeing my siblings grow up. Of not talking to my mom all the time. And most of all, I'm terrified of not being with Wes anymore.

I know I should look forward to going to heaven. There are not enough words in the world to describe the splendor that it will be. But this fallen human nature of mine doesn't want to leave all I cherish behind. And quite honestly, there is a sinful fear of mine that is afraid of what heaven will be like. There's no marriage in heaven. When I get to heaven, Wes will not be my husband. As a wife madly in love with her husband, that is a very hard and painful pill for me to swallow. It's hard for me to accept that there will come a time when Wes and Mary will be in heaven...but we will not be Wes & Mary. And I suspect that I am not the only married woman out there who struggles with that.

What has comforted me throughout the years when dealing with this fear of mine was John 14:2. "Home" is always a comforting place, so the idea that I will be living in my Father's house helps calms those fears. And Jesus said He would be preparing a place for us in that house. I often like to think of what my room would be like. Bear with my tendency to place a human idea on the concept of a heavenly room being prepared for me. I imagine a room filled with photos of animals and nature in the state God intended them to be when He created them. I imagine looking out a balcony in my room and seeing these animals wandering freely and enjoying each other's company. There are pictures of my family on the wall. And in my room are Squirrely, Smirnoff, and Ulysses...and eventually joined by Eggnog, Mocha, and Coconut (and whatever other pets we will have). I imagine Pito (my grandfather) walking into my rooms to greet me with his wonderful greetings and giving me a big hug and telling me everything there is up there. And I imagine a big cushy bed, a king size, and I'll sleep on one side, and Wes will be on my other side. And I know the Bible says there will be no tears in heaven...but I just can't imagine seeing all that, and being in God's presence, and not crying tears of joy. And what brings me the ultimate comfort is the fact that it's Jesus who is preparing my place in heaven. Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of this world, is preparing a place especially for me.

In my heart I know that heaven will not be whatever human concept I have of it. I know it will be nothing like anything I can imagine and I know that what will be most important to me will be glorifying God. But these thoughts have still comforted me and helped me to understand that going to heaven is not a scary thing...indeed, it is something to look forward to. I don't look forward to dying, I truly don't. And well, why should I? Death is a consequence of sin. Who ever looks forward to getting consequences? But I am so thankful that in His Word, God has provided comfort and hope for that moment after death.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Girl and Her Dream

Once upon a time there was a girl named Mary who wanted to do everything and be anything. Her career aspirations growing up changed, I don't know, weekly? Sounds about right. If something interested her, it wasn't long before the interest waned when something else grabbed her attention. Frustrated with the lack of direction in her life, she was ready to give up and face a reality of life in retail. Then late one night, she turned the tv on and watched an episode of "Caught in the Moment" that would change everything....

In case you couldn't tell, the above story is about me. For many years I felt like I had no real sense of direction in my life. I wanted to be everything from a dolphin trainer, to a teacher, to being involved in music (from singing to managing), to a sports therapist, and even a flight attendant (what can I say, I love to fly). But ultimately I would lose interest and just become bored. I was so frustrated since I was watching friends and even my husband pursue their callings in life. What was my calling? Surely there had to be something I was truly passionate about. Many women I knew would say "all I wanted to be was a wife and mother." And while I did want to be both (though the "mother" part took awhile for me to warm up to when I was growing up), there was also part of me that ached to be a part of something in addition to that. Where was my calling? Then in September 2006, I was up very late (as is my custom) and turned on the tv to Animal Planet (is there any other channel?). Caught in the Moment was playing, and the episode focused on elephants, Asian elephants in particular. It was already around 2am, but I was so fascinated by what I saw that I could not turn off the tv. The episode took place in Thailand, and they showed a scene in Chiang Mai. At a busy street market, they discovered a baby elephant being led through the streets and being used to beg for money. After all, who could resist a baby elephant. But my heart broke for this elephant, who was only 3 months old. She swayed in fear and stress and one of the hosts explained that an elephant's foot is very sensitive to vibrations...and on a busy street, the vibrations are overwhelming which must be terrifying the elephant. I found myself weeping for this baby elephant, wanting so badly to reach through the tv and take her away from this horrible situation. I was almost to the point where I couldn't watch any longer when they turned their attention to an elephant sanctuary. Here these elephants have suffered through abuse such as the street walking and even the logging industry...and cases of physical abuse against them that would make you cringe. But these elephants had a new story to tell. They were living out the rest of their lives in peace, and they were being treated with love and respect. This was it. I found my calling.

It's been just over a year since I've seen that episode and thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes. I don't know that I can ever forget the sight of that baby elephant swaying in distress. Since then, I've been reading up on elephants as much as I can. I do personal studies on them since I'm not yet in school. Wes will call me into the room whenever he sees a program on elephants on tv. My dream is work with the elephants at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It was a real blessing to me when Wes came up to me one day and said "You have to get your degree, do the college program at Disney, and go the elephant school." He was helping me lay out a plan to live out my dream. For the record, the elephant school is a two week program at a sanctuary in Arkansas that gives hands on experience to those who are interested in working with elephants. It's a pricey program, set at $1800, but that includes your room, food, and all the resources for the school. Next fall, I begin school and take that first step to fulfilling this dream. I'll also be looking for a program to become a certified naturalist. One day you will see a picture of me with a huge smile on my face as I stand with a gorgeous elephant. There is something so amazing about emotional (and I mean that on my part and the elephants part...their emotional lives are amazing).

For the first time in my life, I have felt absolute content for what I want to do. And I have found that passion I was looking for. Yes, I have passion in other areas of my life, but I meant a passion for a career. I heard God's calling in my life. It's not a conventional calling. I can't imagine very many people sitting on a couch at 2am when all of a sudden a tv program makes them realize what God is leading them to. I love it. I love how God uses unexpected but simple moments like that.

I am a conservative conservationist. The term may seem like an oxymoron to some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. And it wouldn't surprise me if, at times, I was thought of as a tree hugger. So be it. I am proud of where God has led me and I get so excited about what I learn and where He continues to lead me. I sometimes laugh at how strange it seems that one day I'll be the elephant saving wife of a pastor. I was 25 years old when I saw that "fateful" episode. I will be 27 when I start school. By the time I'll get to (prayerfully) work with elephants regularly as their keeper, I'll be in my 30s. That's a long journey from where I first started as an aimless wanderer. But it will be worth it. It IS worth it. Whether it's the ministry, or it's being a doctor, or it's working with an elephant...the road to fulfilling the call in our lives is incredible. I can't see myself doing anything else. It's amazing the peace and contentment there is when you know, "this is what I should be doing!"

Monday, October 1, 2007

Politics and Christianity

I'm not one to usually type blogs on politics, but this has been on my mind.

There are two things that are big concerns to me when it comes to a candidate receiving my vote: they must be pro-life and they must be opposed to gay marriages. Though I have both family and friends who disagree with my stand on it, the bottom line is that I am a born again believer and I must take a stand for what I believe it...the Bible, God's holy Word...the Truth.

There is much "heat" in the political world right now, with candidates vying for the presidency. To be bluntly honest, I have yet to find a candidate "worthy" of my vote. While I am not a registered Republican, I do tend to vote that way as the candidates are typically pro-life and against gay marriage. This is not the case right now, however, as the frontrunner for the Republican party happens to support both abortion and gay marriage. The Democratic party is the same. Wes and I are considering voting for a third party if it comes down to that point...and if worse comes to worst, and all parties are supportive of things we believe are unbiblical, we may have to abstain from voting altogether. It's not our preferred choice, and I'm sure some people might disagree with us on that, but we cannot and will not vote for someone who supports these things just to say "yes, I voted."

Recently, when in Tennessee, I had a discussion with Wes' grandmother about voting for candidates since their town was in a mayoral race. Wes' grandparents are registered Democrats and will not even consider looking at candidates from other parties. They are staunchly against Bush because the troops are still in Iraq. I explained to her that I would never vote for someone who was pro-choice and supported gay marriage. She responded with "well I wouldn't either, but what difference does it make if the people who say they are pro-life are keeping our troops overseas?" I told her that those troops willingly signed up to serve the country. This wasn't a draft where they were forced into service. She compared abortion to the troops dying saying the troops were someone's children as well. I again said the troops made their own choice, they are adults. Aborted children, however, have no voice of their own and do not get that choice. The conversation did bother me, as both of his grandparents are Christians. Our concern rose even more when their only criteria for voting for their mayor was that one of the candidates goes to their church. Now I'm not criticizing this candidate, it's quite possible that everything he stands for is everything I agree with. But it shouldn't matter if so-and-so attends your church...that cannot be the sole reason why you vote for someone. The views need to be looked at and compared to the beliefs you hold to.

Yesterday at church, the sermon was rooted in Mark 13, and although two particular verses weren't exactly referring to the upcoming presidential election, they did really stand out to me:
"for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance." - Mark 13:22-23
Wes & I have become increasingly alarmed with Barack Obama. While it's a name that most of the country only became familiar with in regards to the presidential race, it's a name we were familiar with due to being from Chicago. But what concerns us is how he is swaying even the Christian crowd with words from his so-called "testimony" and "conversion", etc...while they ignore his views that very clearly go against biblical teaching. Christians, the elect, are being led astray with his false words. Wes told me that he would rather have Hilary Clinton be president before Obama became president. He said he cannot put his finger on it, but there was something not right about this man, and not that he was implying that Obama was some sort of antiChrist (he doesn't believe that at all), but that this was clearly an example of a man using power to lead astray the elect by using just enough of the Bible to convince Christians that he's the real deal. Frightening.

In my Life Application Study Bible, there was a footnote about these particular verses. Here is what it said...
Is it possible for Christians to be deceived? Yes. So convincing will be the arguments and proofs from deceivers in the end times that it will be difficult not to fall away from Christ. If we are prepared, Jesus says, we can remain faithful. But if we are not prepared, we will turn away. To penetrate the disguises of false teachers we can ask: 1. Have their predictions come true, or do they have to revise them to fit what's already happened? 2. Does any teaching utilize a small section of the Bible to the neglect of the whole? 3. Does the teaching contradict what the Bible says about God? 4. Are the practices meant to glorify the teacher or Christ? 5. Do the teachings promote hostility toward other Christians?

Again, I don't think these verses are regarding some presidential election. But I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to keep in mind when we start hearing a candidate using the Bible in an unbiblical way in order to further his own agenda. It's not necessarily a bad thing to ask the questions that the Life Application Bible posed when we are trying to determine who to vote for.

As Christians, we are held accountable to God's Word. Really, the entire world is, but as Christians we should know better since we have the Holy Spirit in us. It is our responsibility to defend the Truth, no matter what the cost. How are we defending that Truth when it comes to politics? And are we keeping our guard up when someone tries to sway the crowd with the guise of Christianity, but with unbiblical teachings? Are we keeping that guard up when people try to deceive us with signs, wonders, and false words? That's something to think about when it comes time to vote.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Things Not to Say (or to Say) to an Infertile Couple

Taking a little detour for the moment, but I thought it might be useful to share some things of what not to say to an infertile couple. Recently a visitor at church kind of cornered me and put me on the spot with question after question about if I had children, why I didn't have children, and pointed at one of the kids and said "see, don't you wish you had one of those, now?" I was incredibly speechless and nearly broke down in tears when a quick thinking Liz came to my rescue and diverted the conversation to something else when she responded with "Well Mary will be doing something very important when she goes back to school to work with animals!!" The topic then turned to animals and Florida and all was well with the world again. I later thanked Liz profusely for stepping in at the very moment I needed someone. Admittedly, there are moments where I feel selfish and tell Wes how much I am enjoying it just being the two of us. Disney World is a great example. I love it just being me and him. But most of the time, I'm thinking of how great it would be to have a little one running around. My emotions are a rollercoaster on the topic, and nothing embarrasses me more than to start crying in front of other people, especially when the majority of those people don't know what's going on. I can't even bring myself to look people in the eye when I'm in tears, I usually just keep my head low. So as you can see, I do a pretty good job giving myself an emotional beating. So in efforts to keep that "beating" to only myself, I'm sharing with you a list of things that should never be said to an infertile couple. And yes, these are things that have been said to me. The italics are what shouldn't be said, the regular font is "Inner Mary" and what she wishes she could say, but doesn't. I am warning you now, "Inner Mary" is full of sarcasm.

NEVER say:

You need a vacation, then you'll get pregnant.
If that were true, we'd have around 8 kids by now....

I can't believe you sought medical treatment. Seeking medical treatment just shows you are spiritually immature and you don't trust God. Crying over it is also a sign of spiritual immaturity.
So do you usually comfort cancer patients this way as well?

Have you tried praying about it?
Now why haven't I thought of that before?

You should try standing on your head after sex so "it" can rush up to your egg.

[in reference to our miscarriage] Well at least you know you can get pregnant!
Wow, thank you for minimizing my loss of my child to just a test run to see if pregnancy is possible. Yeah, I appreciate that.

It's all in your head. If you stop thinking about it, it will happen. ("Just relax")
Infertility is a real medical issue. I have endometriosis which is a biological reproductive disease and causes my infertility. But yeah, thanks for implying that I'm mentally unstable enough to cause myself to not have kids.

[One that Wes detests] You must not be doing it right, let me show you how it's done.
Keep it up! My husband really enjoys being told that he's apparently inept when it comes to our sexual life.

You must be having lots of fun trying!
Oh yeah, it's a blast when there's all this pressure on both of us, and then you're poked and prodded to get test results and you're asked all kinds of questions about your sex life to a doctor you've never met before. LOADS of fun. Wish we started sooner.

You should adopt, then you’ll get pregnant right away (or the "you could always adopt")
I would never ever ever use adoption as a method of getting pregnant. How absolutely terrible for the adopted child!!! Besides, check your facts. There is no correlation between adoption and having a biological child. The percentage for getting pregnant after an adoption is exactly the same as the percentage of getting pregnant before adoption.

My husband just looks at me and I get pregnant
Good for you.

Here, you can just have one of my kids
The next time someone says this to me, I might just grab their kid, hop in my car and drive off, just to prove what a heartless comment that is.

Things could be worse
For me, this IS the "worse." My feelings are valid.

You're still young
I'm well aware of my age, thank you. I'm also well aware that my endometriosis makes conceiving a child more and more difficult with each passing year. Six years is a long time to try to conceive. I'm not quite keen on adding more and more years to that just because you think that I'm "still young."

There must be unresolved sin in your life
Well thank you for implying that I am such a horrible person that God would punish me by not giving us children!! Nevermind the fact that there are people who are in such sinful lifestyles who are getting pregnant all the time. But no, apparently I'm the one who is too evil to have children.

And while the following comment is sweetly well intended and I never take offense to it, it's a comment that I have go in one ear and out the other:
We know it will happen for you (or other variations such as "I had a dream you'd get pregnant and my dreams always come true")
Wes and I were doing a devotional written for infertile couples when this type of comment came up. The author warned that trusting in these comments, rather than listening to God reveal His will for us, was like trusting in a psychic. Why would we think that God would reveal His will for our lives to other people, and yet play a hide & seek game with us? So I have learned that while I appreciate that people are trying to help us feel better, I will not rely on the word of man who doesn't ultimately know what God's plans for us are.

The following are comments that we truly love and appreciate. But because I get so embarrassed, I don't usually know what to say...but please know that if you're reading this and you have either done or said these things...we love you so much for it.
How are you?
Is there anything I can do? (not likely, but the fact you care enough to ask means the world)
Can I get you some tissues?
I'm here if you want to talk about it
We are praying for you/can we pray for you?
And the actions...
a hug
crying with us
a card in the mail
remembering that while I do not have a child in my arms, I AM a mother and my child is in heaven...and remembering that I am not less important or that Wes & I are not some sort of "lesser" family because we don't have a child with us.

Updated 4/28/13 - I am still receiving comments on this blog, which tells me this is speaking out to many in similar situations. I want to share that I am now a mother of two very beautiful children...a son born in February 2009, and a daughter born in April 2010. I continue to leave this up because people need to know just how much their words can affect people. Even though I am a mother now, I will never forget the emotional pain I went through...nor do I ever want to forget because I can continue to help others.

**I have noticed this particular blog entry has been referenced on several infertility sites, and even articles regarding infertility. I think it is fantastic that this is getting out there, so others can understand how words affect people. If you are interest in using this as a source, please let me know. I would love to see a link back to whatever you are working on that uses this entry!**

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Natural Calling

Saturday evening, Wes & I had the awesome experience of getting some photos done of us. Aside from the occasional photo of us from vacations that random strangers took or that we took of ourselves by outstretching our arms, we haven't had any photos done of us since our wedding. So this was a real treat for us. It's really nice to have so many photos with my husband and not just of one of us while the other is taking the picture! We were asked to pick a location of where we wanted to have our photos taken. After some thinking (and then deciding if we should do two locations), we ultimately went with Cherokee Park here in Louisville. The reason was kind of two fold...though we haven't done it recently, we would take picnics at the park and usually go walking along a particular trail. In fact, all the photos done of us are on this exact trail. The other reason was because of our deep love for nature. When I was told to think of a location for the photo shoot, I knew right away that I wanted lots of green in the photos...grass, trees, bushes, long as it was nature.

Wes and I (though primarily me) have a passion for God's creation and being good stewards of the environment He has given us to live in. My passion has been so sparked up in me that I am now pursuing a dream of working with wildlife. Career-wise, there is nothing more thrilling to me than to work with an animal and know that I am caring for it and working to conserve and protect where it comes from. Few things hurt and anger me more than to see and hear about the callous and cruel treatment and views of animals. I was heartbroken when I learned that the Baiji dolphin had become extinct, primarily due to humans. I cried when I heard of when a person had tortured a couple of rats. And poachers? Don't even get me started. Without hesitation I would put myself in between an elephant and a poacher in order to protect that elephant. There's no question in my mind about. Yes, I receive weird looks when people realize that about me. Sometimes I had wondered to myself if Wes viewed me as " that crazy animal woman" as well. Then we took a marriage enrichment class and on the first night we all were to say one thing we loved so much about our spouse. Wes said "I just love that Mary has such compassion and love for the tiniest mouse all the way up to the largest elephant." Yup, those were the exact words...I remember them word for word because how much it meant to me. And Wes may not be on the same passion level as I am (and that's quite fine), but I love that we have conversations about animals, nature, and the environment. I love that I can talk to him about this stuff and not have him call me "tree hugger" as if it were some insult. In fact, the evening of our photo shoot, Wes & I joked on how we should take a picture of us embracing trees just for fun.

This Tuesday will mark the year anniversary of the death of one of my heroes. His death really put things into perspective for me. As I reflect back on how distraught I was over how someone who was fighting to save the creation of God could die so young (though I do not know if he was saved as he never publicly discussed the topic), it really reminds me of something: that I do not know when I will be called how will I use this time now? I can almost hear God ask, "What if it were next year? What are you doing now to live out the passion I put in your heart?" This passion was not placed on my heart by chance...God put it there. When I die, I want people to say that I was faithful to God and that I lived out what He called me to do. And in all honesty, while I'm alive, I want people to say that I am faithful to God and that I am living out what He is calling me to do. I pray that I can be that kind of light to the world.

I wanted nature for our photo shoot location. It best represented represents me. I was asked if I minded sitting on the ground since I was wearing a skirt. Goodness no I don't mind. I feel most in my element in nature and sitting among it. These pictures are a physical and visual reminder of the calling in my life and the passion in both mine & Wes' lives.

Thank you, Kara, for capturing not just our images...but capturing us.

Photo by Kara Guffey

Friday, August 31, 2007


It's almost vacation time for us...less than 2 weeks to go! T his will actually be our third trip this summer, the first was in Chicago for a week, then we spent a few days in Tennessee. But we're really excited about this trip because this trip is all about us. I love our families and I love to spend time with them, but I also cherish the times Wes & I just get away together. I can't remember if we heard it or read it somewhere, but when we were first married, we learned of advice to try and plan a vacation and/or getaway every year just as a couple. Not only does it help you refresh from "real life," but it also helps the couple to rejuvinate as a couple as you spend all that time together.

Wes and I try to do both...a vacation and a weekend getaway. Usually our weekend getaways are done in Chicago which I guess really isn't quite a getaway as we're usually busy trying to run from here to there and back here again. But there have been times that we've gone to a bed & breakfast, or made an impromptu trip to the Smoky Mountains, or the..ahem...Sybaris. There's just something about a romantic weekend getaway.

Usually, though, we forfeit those romantic weekend getaways in favor of a longer vacation. Our vacation spot has been Disney World for the last several years. We usually get funny looks when we announce we're going there again....but I guess it carries sentimental value as well. It was our honeymoon spot so returning back to where we honeymooned year after year is just awesome! It can also be a rather relaxing vacation for us since they take care of so many things:
-we don't even have to go to get our baggage after getting off the plane, Disney does it for us and they bring the luggage to our room free of charge
-free shuttle service from and to the airport
-free transportation all over the Resort which Wes loves because it means NO driving whatsoever for him when we're down there
We can go there and feel completely care free...just walk around as if we didn't have a care in the world. We know how to budget our trips well as we know the ins and outs of discount codes and frugal vacationing when already down there. I think that's part of the the vacation with special promotions and realizing how much we saved as opposed to just blindly booking rack rates. Ok, so I'm turning into Travel Agent Mary here....

But seriously, there's something about getting away with Wes that excites me. It's time alone with just me and my husband. No family, no friends, no getting up early for work and staying up late trying to get things done, no trying to rush home from work to change and head back out to another job...nothing like that. Our only real responsibilities that week will be making sure we get to our dining reservations on time. Everything else is left at home. For an entire week, I have Wes all to myself. I LOVE that. The saddest and hardest part for me is leaving my furbabies behind. Last year I called my parents every day to check up on them and I'll be doing the same this year.

A few days ago Wes sent me an email telling me how much he was looking forward to this trip and not just because of it being Disney World (which he said was good though), but that because he gets to spend every waking moment with me...that it's a whole week with me, 24 hours a day. I just felt a surge of warmth and love. Seven years of marriage and we still get giddy and excited to be alone together like this.

Vacation is a blessing. But my husband is even more of a blessing! Vacationing with my wonderful husband is just insanely awesome!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Made in God's Image

Recently I was reading something that really opened my eyes. I was reading a blog that referred to a certain group of people as "spics" and very obviously meant it in a quite hateful manner. For those of you not familiar with racist terms, this is an extremely derogatory term for Hispanics. And for those of you who do not know...I am Hispanic. Now it's not unusual for me to hear such terms, and while I detest racism with a passion, I also do my best to not take it as a direct attack against me or my family. But this was different. This time, the words came from someone who used to be a close friend of mine. Momentarily, I felt physically ill and also felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach. This was someone who used to be my friend, who I used to hang out with, someone who I could call and chat with about anything. And here was this person being hateful against my culture, my heritage, where I come from...being hateful against me. And unfortunately, this was not something I was oblivious to with this person, as I can recall a conversation in which he absolutely refused to acknowledge that I was Hispanic. He told me that he would only see me as a white person. Being as naive as I can be, I truly thought that I could change him by being a light for Christ and so I developed a good friendship with him to try and be that example. But eventually I realized that only God can change a person. And after awhile, God showed me that the friendship was not healthy and I needed to "leave." And so I did. It's been a year since that friendship has ended, so I certainly did not think such a derogatory comment would make me feel the way it did. However, I did say momentarily. It was just a moment. I told myself, "consider the source" and stopped reading. I told Wes about what I read and he reminded me that this person hates himself and as a result, that hatred is spilled towards other people. And the thing is, Wes is not the only person to remind me of that. Another friend of mine, who also is former friends with this person, has reminded me of that as well.

I was hurt, but the moment was fleeting. I looked at pictures of my family and smiled. My parents, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, and my wonderful Hispanic family. Yes, I am part Irish and I love that background in me as well. After all, how many Irish-Bolivians do you meet? The closest I could find was the actor Henry Ian Cusick who is Scottish-Peruvian. We're "neighbors" on both accounts. It really is quite a random, but fun, combination. Bolivia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I remember so much of it from my 3 week trip with my grandfather and uncle. I am madly in love with that country. Of course it has its downfalls, but the landscape, the people, the food...that's where my family is from. I loved it when my grandfather, now passed away, would sit with me and Wes and tell us stories from when he was a little boy, which really fascinated Wes since the stories usually included llamas. :) So it baffles me how anyone can be so hateful against such "richness." I was hurt. But the moment was fleeting.

Today at church, the message reminded all of us that we are created in the image of God. This person, the one who feels so hateful against anyone not white, is created in the image of God. And he desperately needs salvation (which has always been a very hard topic of conversation with him since he really believes he is a Christian). And after yesterday's fleeting moment, today's sermon really nailed it in for me....I am created in the image of God. God knew what He was doing when He formed me in my mother's womb. It wasn't a random accident, some horrible mistake, that He chose a Bolivian woman to give birth to me. It wasn't some awful circumstance that He chose a Puerto Rican man to be the husband my mom needed and the father I needed. I am surrounded by Hispanic people in my family. We are one heck of a crazy bunch. And my Hispanic background has sometimes left me utterly confused when I am with Wes' family...who is most definitely not Hispanic. LOL My goodness, it's even completely foreign to me (no pun intended) to have a Thanksgiving meal that does not include some Bolivian food. The first time I had Thanksgiving dinner with Wes' family, I was confused. I looked at the table and thought to myself "well this is strange....." Where was the falso conejo? Where was the huminta? Where were the empanadas, the salteƱas? How wonderful to have such diversity in my own family that I could wonder such things!!! This is where God placed me!!! God made me in His image...He saw that it was good...and He said "I know the perfect place for you!" He never promised me that I wouldn't face racism. I have faced it, and I'm sure I'll face it again in the future. But what an awesome reminder this morning...I, my crazy Hispanic self, am made in God's image. No ignorant derogatory word can ever strip me of that magnificent privilege.

Hello, my name is Mary, I am Hispanic...and I am made in God's image.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Crying Out

Any time I think I'm doing ok or am feeling a peace about our struggles with infertility, it hits me like a ton of bricks. A friend of mine recently found out he and his wife were pregnant and I was ok. I was actually genuinely happy about the news. Usually it takes me a bit to be ok after I go through a quiet grieving period. So I thought to myself, "terrific! It feels so awesome to be really happy for them!" And then yesterday hit me.

A couple of friends of ours began the adoption process for Guatemala a month after we had to cancel ours. They submitted their dossier in December, and I figured that at the rate we were going to get some things (and the fact that our social worker had moved out of state), we probably would have had our dossier submitted around the same time. They received their referral in January for a little boy, only a few days after he was born. They were in and out of PGN rather quickly and received "pink" a few weeks ago. Last week, they received the call that they had to be at the embassy in Guatemala today. A couple of days ago, on myspace, a bulletin was posted that they were in Guatemala and had their son. There were pictures of them with him in their arms, looking so happy. Today his visa was approved, and they take him home on Thursday.

Yesterday I was working out in the living room when it just all fell on me...and I just started sobbing, yelling out that it was supposed to be us, it was supposed to be my son in my arms and how can it be fair that we're left broken hearted so many times? I grabbed my Bible and just randomly started opening up to anywhere it would land and angrily said "You SHOW me! Show me that You will get me through this!!" I was mad and hurt. I looked at where the pages had opened up to and started reading out loud as much as I could through my sobs. I was reading the Psalms. And not just any Psalms, but they were specific Psalms on hearts in despair, Psalms that were crying out in emotional anguish...Psalms that started out that desperate but all ended with reminders of God's protection and deliverance. They were Psalms reminding me that people before me, before my time, had gone through heartbreak and emotional turmoil and yet God never forgot about them, He never let them go. In my time of need, my time of desperation, God answered my cries and my ranting and He did show me that He would get me through this.

I am happy for my friends who successfully adopted from Guatemala. I just didn't really expect it to hit me like it did. I am forever grateful to a loving and gracious Father who cares enough about me to hold me when I fall, completely broken, and give me reminders that He didn't lead me into a valley just to leave me stranded. My favorite Bible verse actually comes from the Psalms.
"Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning" Psalm 30:5
I don't necessarily believe that it means that I will one morning wake up and discover I am pregnant or that we can have a successful adoption. I believe that God is reminding me that one day, I will find joy in ANY direction He will lead us, whether or not that direction includes children. I may be weeping now, but I look forward to the day the morning arrives.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Gift of Friendship

Since Wes and I have been married, we haven't really had many good & close friends. To be quite honest, we haven't had too many friends period. We had been good friends with the pastor and his wife at our home church until Wes had been accepted at Southern when they stopped talking to us. Come to find out, the pastor was afraid Wes would come back to try and take over the church (since the church was co-founded by his family) even though we had no plans to move back to Chicago. When we moved to Louisville, we thought we'd finally be able to develop some real friendships. After all, we had been told during orientation that these would be the friendships that would last a lifetime. Instead, we were met with incredible feelings of loneliness and some days I would sit at home and cry. I remember going to a cookout our stairwell (the apartment housing sections on campus were commonly referred to as stairwells) was having and two of the women were discussing wanting to see a particular movie. Since I, too, was interested in the movie, I thought it was a great opportunity to join in the conversation and get to know them some more. I also thought that maybe I could invite them out to a girls night out to see the movie. As soon as I joined the conversation, one of the women literally said to me "sorry, we're not interested in that movie." She looked at the other woman, and both walked away. I told Wes I was just going back to our apartment, where I cried my heart out.

We have a real heart for those who have struggled or are struggling with sexual sin. Wes had his own battles with pornography addiction that had once rattled our own marriage and now we just feel so compelled to reach out to those who are going through that. It's never been an area of ministry we keep quiet about, we're very open about our testimony at how God has pulled us through. However, we're very aware that our desires to help those in such a "taboo" subject has made it difficult for us to develop friendships. No, this is not an assumption (and certainly not for lack of trying to develop friendships)...we've actually been told this by people who said they were uncomfortable being around us because of what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, a lot of this came from our former church. I could probably list a laundry load of things that just tore us down piece by piece, but even thinking about it brings me to tears remembering how lonely and desperate we were for real friendships. And I can't imagine that listing it all out for people to read would really be edifying to anyone.

I also felt so bad for Wes, who had tried repeatedly to get to know the men and to develop an accountability relationship with someone, only to be shot down time and time again. He craved that intimacy as much as I did. There did come a point where there was a final straw and we left the church. We went church hunting for several months after that when we returned to a small church we had visited over a year prior. And that is where we have been since. We needed a place to heal, and we found it.

Tonight we had a cookout at our pastor's house. I took a few moments to just watch people without really listening to any conversations...and I just thought to myself how much I'm going to miss everyone when we move....I'm just so afraid we'll move and find ourselves in the same situation. I still am relearning how to open myself up again even though I may sometimes seem that I'm very open. We still sometimes find it hard to extend a simple lunch invitation because of the fear of being told once again "we're not comfortable being with you." But tonight, I looked all around me and laughed with them, chatted with them, told stories with them, ate with them, swam with them...and just felt incredible love for all of them. And here I am, typing while crying, thinking to myself that God, in His infinite love for me & Wes, has been faithful and put people in our lives who are truly our friends. They have never looked at us funny, they have never said an unkind word to us, they have called to see how we are, they cried with us when we suffered through our adoption loss, they ask us to eat pizza with them.... They have done things and said things to us that perhaps may seem to them as an every day "of course you would say that to someone" type of thing with a friend, but for us, mean everything because of how much we have craved to hear it. I don't know that any of them realize how much they have meant to us. I don't know how many of them realize how sad it makes us to know that we'll be leaving them in a year.

I sit here just so amazed and grateful at how God has worked in our lives once again. When we were lonely and felt we couldn't bear the hurt any more, He led us to a place where we have found healing and love and acceptance. We're not just member numbers 484 & 485, we are Wes & Mary King. We are part of the church family, part of the body of Christ...a couple with friends.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Marital Blessings

Yesterday was a wonderful day spent with my husband. We didn't do anything extraordinary...we just spent the day together doing little things here and there, including eating pizza and ice cream. I felt so content, so happy. Today I've been sitting at home doing an overview on our upcoming Disney World trip when I get a notification of a new email. When I check it, I see that it's from Wes. It was a short paragraph, but one that brought tears to my eyes...such a sweet love note from him. I love getting those notes from him, it makes me feel so valued and cherished. It's amazing how I feel when I get reminders of love from Wes. And if this is how Wes loves me, imagine the love God must feel for me and everyone else. God has an entire Bible of a love letter to me...every single word in there shows His awesome power and His mighty works and ultimately the sacrificing of His Son so that I could have eternal life. That is immense love!!

I absolutely love how Wes shows his love and affection for me. It is a huge blessing to me. And it's an even bigger blessing to see that it is God who is at work in our marriage...and one of the ways He shows His love for me is through my husband.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A New Beginning

I haven't done a "serious" blog in awhile...most of my blogs are done at my myspace page, where many times they are filled with ramblings and going-ons in my life. I will continue to blog there regularly, just not in the capacity I will be using this journal for. I used to use livejournal for things like this, but I wanted to start a brand new journal for something like this, and blogger will let you have multiple journals to an account, whereas livejournal will not.

So to explain this journal....
I really want to use it as sort of my "log" of my walk with Christ. My intention is to really study the Bible on a more personal level. This isn't a "read the Bible in a year" type thing...I want to take my time, devour every single word of what I'm reading. I will not be doing a set Bible study, I've never cared for those personal Bible study books as I want to learn from my own readings and research rather than only focusing on what an author wants me to focus on. Not that all personal Bible study books are wrong, I don't believe they are. But this is my conviction for what God wants me to do right now. My heart is currently focused on Acts right now, which is where I'm starting...chapter one. I'd like to do a chapter a week, just really dig in. For the "on my own" part, I'll be going through each chapter and just making simple observations of what I read (I won't always post them here, this is mainly just for me). Not interpretations or applications, just observations. For the research, interpretation, application parts, I've purchased a commentary on the book of Acts. So be looking to see me going through the book of Acts on here. But also expect to see me posting about my walk in general...from every day trials and victories, to observations and lessons.

This is me, "naked" for you to watch as I grow in the Lord.