Month: December 2014

Anchor

The last day of twenty fourteen!
I thought it was only appropriate to look back on where I was, where I’ve come and what I have before me. Last year I posted a litany of resolutions, or what I called Purposeful Intent. Something that I intended to do with purpose. While I did some of the things on my list, I failed completely at others.

Instead of a list that will just show me how futile human attainment (for me at least) can be, I opt in instead for a word to focus on, and a verse to pray over. I’m also in the process of writing down A Thousand Gifts – things I love to show me how I’ve been blessed and loved by the Lord, and of course my trip to the BWCAW.

Way back in 2013 I had chosen a verse for the year to focus on. I wrote it out on scratch paper in pen, and taped it to my electronic calendar which was Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in a person’s heart,but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Each day since, I’ve looked at that verse and repeated it to myself. This verse gave me such a great deal of comfort while we waited to find out if our daughter was going to get into the school we desperately had hoped for, and in the aftermath of my dad.

This past summer while my father was still clinging to life in the hospital Proverbs 3:5 just would not leave my mind. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. This was my mantra – and still is. There is no way for me to understand what happened, and all I can do is trust fully in the Lord and know that this is not the end of the story.

After hearing this amazing song by none other than Hillsong United (Who brought us Oceans) I could not get the word ANCHOR out of my mind. In fact I almost named this blog –  littleblessedlife.com with something to do with an anchor.  It seemed so powerful with both me and my dad having served in the Navy and then with this overwhelming desire to go to the BWCAW this upcoming spring I knew that this word was going to be it for 2015. It wasn’t until I started looking for a stock photo of an anchor for this exact post that I came across Hebrews 6:19 and my jaw dropped to the floor.

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The lyrics of this song which will not get out of my head was ripped right from Hebrews 6:19. Oh how I believe in this verse with my entire being, my entire soul! When I came across this song late this fall, the lyrics immediately gave words and real structure to what I had been feeling in my heart these past few months, but could not say myself.  It felt deeply like my postlude to Oceans in a way and to my story. I had been led out into the deep waters, walked on water and am now holding so tightly to my Anchor, my God to keep me from blowing away. I find it difficult at times to explain what I am feeling inside, but this song and its lyrics do it so beautifully.

On any given day when I felt the tides rise up, ready to wash over me I listen to this song with arms stretched out and face lifted, and immediately feel the Lords presence surrounding me. Its strange in a way to me how deep my faith has grown since July. Its not as though I grew up with unbelief. From as long as I can remember I believed in the story of the cross, but some how I now just know its true. Every time I sing to God, and pray I feel my dad right next to me.

In these storms it is so easy to drift, and be consumed with the rains beating down on you –  but with the Anchor holding me in place I will not drift, I will not fall I will not be consumed with fear and despair, but consumed with faith, hope and love. Love that was nailed to the cross.

My Father has been so present in my life these past six months, its overwhelming to the point of tears when singing worship songs. I can’t imagine how my father feels being face to face with Him.  “He gave everything to save the world He loves”.

Hope. What brings joy to the heart, which brings light to the world, and the laying out of full trust in the Lord. Drink in these words with me. Let them wash over you, and I wish you each a blessed and remarkable 2015 where you grow closer to the Lord.

These words are my anthem, my battle cry.

I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to You

With endless love
All my fear is swept away
In everything
I will trust in You

There is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world You love
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand
Unshakeable

Unchanging One
You who was and is to come
Your promise sure
You will not let go

Your Name is higher
Your Name is greater
All my hope is in You

Your word unfailing
Your promise unshaken
All my hope is in You

I am such a sucker for acoustic versions of songs- so when i found this there was so much joy and elation in my heart! I hope you enjoy!

 

The Night Before Christmas

Merry Christmas readers! I am so unbelievably excited to unveil FULLY my new blog tonight with a squeaky clean custom design! This is another reason why I combined Not Quite Hinterland, and Where Feet May Fail together. Thank you to my mom who got this for me for Christmas! I hope you love it as much as I do. Across the top you will see categories. If you come to my blog to read about Faith stories – click on Faith and you will see everything I have posted about Faith etc- Feel free to grab a glass of Egg Nog or some wine and look around!  But enough digressing. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry season of all when God so loved this world. This world. That He GAVE his only Son. Himself in human form. For us. Oh what a gift. Among all of the presents we’re given, this gift – that God gives – is the greatest gift.

This song has always been one of my favorites, but listening to it this year held an extra special meaning for me. I am so thankful that God came to this world – so that we could be reconciled with him. What gives me greatest comfort with my dad is knowing that I will see him again. On this night He literally changed history forever. We changed how we count time and years from this moment.

We are still so lost though as a people. If anything just turn on CNN, open your twitter feed or log on to Facebook. “Into darkness, sadness, desperate madness, creation so torn, We were, so lost on earth, no peace, no worth, no way to escape. In fear, no faith, no hope, no grace, and no light, But that was the night before Christmas.

My daughter is acting in a major play this upcoming weekend, and of course we have several family members and friends who want to come and see her. I purchased 19 tickets to the tune of over $220 and they were being safely kept in our daughters dance bag.

When my mom asked this evening for the tickets, I ran out to the car to retrieve the tickets and to my horror the envelope was gone. I searched through the car in haste, under the seats, and in the back seat pockets, glove compartments, center council and completely emptied my purse. No luck.

I must have left the tickets at home.

I went on enjoying the evening under the full assumption that the tickets were safe at home on our front counter which would be the most logical place, so when we got home, and my husband asked if I had found the tickets I immediately went to look on the front counter. Looking under presents, and books and purses I couldn’t find them. I immediately went to the kitchen and searched the kitchen counter and table.

No.

* Re-Emptied my purse. No
* Emptied another purse. NO
* Began to panic. Yes
* Searched bookshelf. No
* Searched Car. No

Then I had a horrifying thought. We had just gone to the MN Wild Hockey game and I had cleaned out my car. What if I had thrown the tickets away? I was in luck the trash man hadn’t come yet. So I went to the trash bin, tipped it over on its side, climbed half in, and disgustingly and painstakingly went through each piece by piece. I kept thinking to myself, what if I don’t find the tickets. I will have to answer to everyone who is so excited to see her and tell them they can’t go. Then I thought about the money – and how I’d owe everyone back their ticket fee. Devastatingly I didn’t find the tickets.

I got back in the house, washed my hands, and e-mailed the dance and theater director to see if there was any way to re-issue the tickets. I went back and looked in my purses, the counter tops, the bookshelf the cupboards, the car (three times) and her room and ours. All turned up no.

I told Jason, “Honey – if you have them please tell me. I won’t even be mad if you were trying to teach me a lesson, but he didn’t have them.

Then I had a thought that maybe they were in my desk at work. I’m not really sure why they would be there, but I asked Jason how crazy it would be to drive 20 miles to work at 9pm on Christmas Eve. I felt like I was going to throw up so I poured myself a glass of Chardonnay and began to type the blog post for tonight.

While typing my husband began looking in the drawers I had already and then was going to look in the cupboard above the computer that I had also already looked in. I told him – yeah – look in there, pull out the desk organizer and search through. I already looked, but its not going to hurt to look again. Right behind the three hole punch like a Christmas miracle there they were.

I squealed with delight, exhaled, and nearly threw up again out of relief.

Now I tell you this story – not to show you how irresponsible I am, and the slight chance I’m getting early Alzheimers, but to give a parallel to Luke chapter 15.

How much more does God love us? How much more would he search for us? Certainly we are worth more than play tickets!
Luke 15 tells the story in verses 4-10
“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

“Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”

I threw my arms around Jason and was overcome with Joy when those tickets were found.
Without the light of Christ, there is fear, and no hope, and no grace. We are lost. God had a plan though to come down on a rescue mission to find all those who were lost and hurting and in despair.

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:16-17.

What are you looking for this season? I know that when I look into myself I feel so lost and have no peace, no worth, no way to escape. I am consumed with the thoughts of, “Why did MY dad have to die so young, so tragically… Why did MY young dog have to go blind? Its so easy to get caught up into Me Me ME that I start treating God like he is some magical genie that only exists to make my life happy… but when I look to the cross… I realize that “Salvation wrote the song – the night before Christmas”.

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I can put my entire trust in the Lord. Over the past year it has been made so crystal clear that God is sovereign, and that God is in control. I am completely comfortable not knowing all of the answers, and quite honestly, I’m not sure if I would even understand on this side of heaven.

What is lost to you? Dare you look to the star shining above tonight? Dare you follow it like the Sheppard’s did? The star that light up the night… The Night Before Christmas.

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday Dad!

For as long as I can remember you were the first person I would call on our birthday. We would both wish each other a happy birthday and often sang the traditional birthday tune in an off key rendition that only we [and our family] could appreciate. So happy 66th birthday! The age that you could officially retire (even though you had been for years now) you went off to the ultimate retirement home! Please give Jesus a hug for me.

I think about you often Dad. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, but those moments in the day when I don’t something still feels amiss or off. Its like something is missing, and I have the physical feeling that I did something terribly wrong. You know when you feel guilty and your insides feel tight, and there is that quiet pressure near your sternum waiting to bubble up. Though I didn’t do anything wrong, something did go terribly wrong. That’s what grief physically feels like. You would know having lost your mother when you were 11 and your dad in your 40s.

I am so blessed to have so many amazing memories to hold on to. Like little birthday presents I unwrap these memories and remember. Sometimes its remembering a look you gave me, they way you danced, an experience that we shared, or a quiet embrace. You were such a gentle soul.

Mom, Missy, and I (and later some others) are off to tour the local Vineyards today!  The idea of having dinner at home and only singing happy birthday once was too raw – but because of my love of wine, and yours too – we will be going ’round to the wineries and raising a glass today and lighting your candle along the way. (Check out the photos on Instagram by searching #vineyardbday, and #partingGlass)

Our family holds deep Irish traditions, so I raise a glass high to you dad! You were the best. Your entire life from what I could see was built on making others feel loved and welcome. Truly you were a man after Gods heart, and an imitator of Christ. I miss you every single day dad. Oh how I wish you were not handed the parting glass! I wish I could take it back and have another year with you, another moment, another breath. But come fell to you – the parting glass. You’re never forgotten, and always treasured so deep in my heart.
I raise my glass to you with this song. An old Irish hymn that cries out from the grave.

Happy Birthday Dad. Today I spread my wings and fly out of the nest – all on my own. Thirty-Four years and I am soaring Dad. I can’t wait to see you again. May it be just a breath between now and then when we sing in merriment again!

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Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting, when we meet again.

Lay it at His feet

Through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and BWCA trip planning its easy to forget why there is a giant hole in my heart. I’m learning through it all to lay it down at His feet. Everything I’ve ever tried to hold on to, and figure out on my own has been met with anxiety and worry.

Allow me to explain.

I’ve written down a few times that I’m was very nervous about my birthday that is coming up in now 14 days. A birthday that I had shared with my dad since that Monday morning that I came into the world 34 years ago at 11:13 a.m. The day that I became connected with my father, and bonded in this date forever. The last time I posted about it, I was in the depths of sorrow finally allowing myself to think about what my birthday will look like without him.

Without the joint birthday song singing, cake eating, and typical birthday fanfare we once shared.

I prayed a prayer that night asking God to take this feeling of anxiety surrounding my our my? birthday from me and woke up feeling refreshed about it. My sister had come up with an idea that was actually a deep desire that I had had that I didn’t even know she knew. Maybe she didn’t know. Maybe it was God planning out what he knew was in my heart.

We are planning to go on a Vineyard Tour of several of the Western Wisconsin/Eastern Minnesotan wineries along the St. Croix River Valley. Wine – something that I love and something my dad loved as well. We are going to bring his candle along and light it at each vineyard and raise a glass to birthdays and memories. I think I like this idea for future birthday’s as well, or at least some version of it.

God is in the business of answering prayers friends. He will never leave me or forsake me.

It wasn’t easy to get to this more restful place though. I had to lay this down at the feet of Jesus. I have to lay down a lot of things at His feet. When I tried to hold this part in, and stuff it down it became unbearable to bear. Jesus says, “Come to me, Lindsey who is weary and carries heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT and mine)

You see friends, when we lay our cares and worries at the feet of Jesus he picks up those heavy, messy and broken pieces. That angst and fear that can drown us.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. // 1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. // Philippians 4:6-9 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Amen Amen Amen.

Redeeming Helper,
Thank you for your strength Lord. Thank you for letting me rest in you. Thank you for carrying and taking this burden of worry for me. Whenever I have called out to you to help me you’ve never failed me. You are always here whenever I need you. Thank you for being consistent Father and loving me always.

Amen Amen Amen.

Countdown to the BWCA ~ Part 1

Join me in this six part series! The Countdown to the BWCA posted on the 1st of each month!

As you may know, since mid-August we’ve been looking forward to obsessed over our upcoming trip into the BWCAW.  Its something I personally am feeling really called to do and have been doing research near daily since. After about 8 weeks of pouring over maps and trip reports we’ve decided to enter in at Mudro and head north instead of east towards Basswood falls where most go.

We recently took a trip down to the mothership REI in Bloomington, Minnesota where we stocked up on a lot of our gear!

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It was so hard not to become distracted in the store, you know with the canoes hanging from the ceiling and myriad backpacks screaming for you to buy them and pretty much everything that was on an end cap looked super inviting to buy too!

After speaking with a super knowledgeable employee in the tent department we finally decided upon the Kelty four person backpacking lightweight tent. Perfect for the three of us. Light enough for Jason to carry but roomy enough for the dogs to come in if we ever decided to bring them along in the future.

I had my mind made up that I wanted Granite Gear Quetico Portaging pack but they didn’t have any portaging packs except Chicago IL or Duluth MN. Kiri chanted, “Mama just get one of these packs!” as she was pointing to the hiking style backpacks while being fitted for her own.

I was now at a crossroads. In doing a lot of research at bwca.com, the way to go is either a Granite Gear portaging pack, a Duluth Pack or a CCS pack. But my family was trying on their packs and my husband brought up a good point… If we ever wanted to do either the POW WOW trail, the Superior Hiking Trail, myriad back pack camping sites at the state parks, or take a trip out west the backpacking pack would be my best bet.

I begrudgingly tried one on, but was instantly impressed with comfort and potential performance. With the thought in the back of my mind if I ever took a trip over to CCS, I could easily return the hiking one, but it is 65L so I think chances are I will keep it.

Here’s a list of items we’ve purchased so far:

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset
Kelty Discovery 4 Tent
Platypus Gravityworks Water Filter System – 4 Liter
Osprey Exos 58 Pack (for Jason)
REI Crestrail 65 Pack – Women’s (for Lindsey)
REI Flash 22 Pack (for miss K)

Amongst the basics we already own, over the next month we will buy the food we plan to take to ensure that it fits nicely in our pack and secure about 2 miles of paracord, and plenty of stuff sacks including a few hydro bags! We also have to make the choice to use our friends fiberglass canoe [read 80lbs], rent a kevlar from an outfitter near Ely, or borrow our friends Kevlar. Eventually we would like to own our own Kevlar and ditch our motorboat. (We’re fully committing here). I’ve been scouting out the Boundary Waters, the Minnesota 2 and the Quetico 17 so far.

For those of you who have been to the BWCA- what is your “Do Not Leave Home Without” item(s) and tips?