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Thursday, 23 April 2009

birthdays and friendships

So today I was pondering the fact that in one month I will be 34 years old. And how strange that seems. And I thought back over past birthdays.... some very memorable and I thought... Isn't God good? He is so good to give me dear friends who love me even when I fail and who let me love them even when they fail. Friends who strive to make each birthday special. Do you all even know how much that means to me? I cannot put the value of that into words.

One year a friend brought me flowers to my place of work. That was actually the first time anyone had ever bought me flowers!

One year some people managed to pull off a big surprise birthday party for me... the amazing part to me.... is that many of you managed to avoid me to keep from spoiling the surprise! And some people drove from as far away as 3 hours!

Last year a friend arranged for me to have a massage... I was at a conference that I was organizing on that birthday. So that was a very special and unique blessing. memorable

I have had many birthdays where I shared celebrations with a roommate or a dear friend. (sometimes they were one and the same!) :-)

One year I was in a friend's wedding on my birthday... that was cool... I loved that she and her mom got me a maple glazed donut with a candle on it while we were all getting our hair done.

When I turned 20 I was living in Austria... that was memorable

One year I was in North Africa with dear friends and they arranged notes from many of you to give me throughout the day... and the passport control man wished me a happy birthday too!

There are many more that I recall and many more to come I am sure.

Anyway, I thank God that He has allowed me to have such varied experiences. And I am SO thankful that each birthday I have been able to have at least one or two dear friends with me. For there is nothing I enjoy more than the company of a good friend. And you all know who you are in the above memories right? Good times

Friday, 17 April 2009

Coming to Portland this summer

I have purchased my tickets to come to the states this summer. I fly into Portland on June 25th and fly out of Portland on August 2nd.

In between that I will be in Colorado for our Campus Crusade staff conference the end of July.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Easter 2009

I had the privilege of spending Easter with some great people this year. I am so blessed by the people God has put in my life over here.

In church we focused on 1 Corinthians 15:14-19. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith is useless! How incredible that Jesus came to earth as a man, suffered, bled and died on a cross for our sins and was raised from the dead! He is RISEN! He is risen INDEED!

Then Easter lunch with some friends.

And the story of Easter through resurrection eggs. The wonder of children as they recount the story as they have heard it is always inspiring to me.

And at the end... just had to jump on the trampoline! This is me showing a new friend how to jump, sit, jump. :-) Fun times. and a LOT of laughter.

Friday, 10 April 2009

My little brother is 30 years old!

I want to take this post to tell you about my youngest brother Michael. Today, April 10th, is his birthday. And this year his birthday celebrations are a celebration of him being alive for 30 years. Amazing!

Michael is one of my two fabulous brothers. Matthew is the other brother. And I am so blessed to have them both! God has gifted them each to be smart and creative. But this blog post is about Michael.

No.. this not to sell him to you.
It is to let you all know some of the reasons why I love him SO much!

Michael can give a fantastic Karaoke show. He can make a fabulous latte. He is adventuresome. He is an entrepreneur. He can dance! He cares deeply for others. He is passionate about knowing God and making Jesus first in his life... even though it is hard. He is a gentleman. He desires to have healthy relationships and works to do that. He loves me. He is musically and artistically gifted. He is mechanically smart. yeah... I could go on... but you get the picture.

I believe that God has great plans for Michael's life. And turning 30 is just the beginning.
I love you Michael!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Rome Reflections

While I was in Rome for my last meetings, we had the opportunity to spend an evening with the Saint Egidio workers. We joined them for their nightly prayer time. I would like to share that experience with you.
30 of us from all over Europe and the United States followed the Saint Egidio workers from their main housing complex across the streets of the Testereve area and into a church. We joined an already almost full congregation. The workers had previously informed the group that the service was to be a prayer service for the persecuted countries.

We all took our seats, some were immediately solomn, others took a bit longer to reach that state. We each received two song books, both in Italian.. or was it Latin... I do not really recall. But the nice Italian man in front of me kept turning around and showing me which book we were singing from and which page from the book.

The speaker took the front and as the choir sang a prayer of peace he began to announce the names of the countries which were not experiencing peace. Those who were at war or had religious persecutions.

As each name was read, (DRC, Mynamar, Colombia) a candle was lit (Madagascar, Algeria) and added to the stand. (Pakistan, Palestine) More candles. (Somalia, Sri Lanka) All the candles. So many candles... they began to mesh together in my eyes. No longer was each candle distinguishable... So many countries without peace. (North Uganda....)

And at the end the prayer of "Oh Lord, by Your mercy, bring peace to these countries who experience afflictions."

I was overwhelmed during this time. They cry peace peace but their is no peace. They need Jesus who will tell them? They need help physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.. who will go?

The Saint Egidio group is world wide. They practice praying and listening to the Lord. And they serve any who God brings to them to serve. They work with children, artists, homeless, teachers. Each worker has a full time job and does this in their extra time. They dedicate their lives to a cause bigger than themselves.

Oh Lord, may I be moved as Your heart is moved.