April 22, 2013

The Unchanged

How can a week like this past one have an earthly explanation?

It seems our hearts have had to be heavy for too long.  Just when we feel lulled back into a sense of safety and security, the rug gets pulled out from under us...again.

When I was in elementary school, country music was my genre of choice.  When it was my week to sit in the front seat on the drive to school, I was also able to select the radio station.  I remember one morning, just after my dad had exited I-55, the song on the radio crooned a line similar to, "The only thing that remains the same is change."  Being under the age of 10, I really had no grasp of the meaning of that phrase.  However, my dad took that moment to explain a lifelong truth to me by stating, "You know that's not true, right?"  (Insert perplexed stare from me) "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is always steady, no matter what happens."


I don't remember my response.  I don't remember if I thought long and hard about it that day.  But somewhere, that little conversation has stuck with me throughout the years.  The reminder of those words creep into my mind the more I feel like events in this world are always out of control.


When I opened Jesus Calling recently, it seemed like the words were speaking directly to my thoughts about this tumultuous world:

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you.  Hear me saying Peace, be still to your restless heart.  No matter what happens, I will never leave you or forsake you.  Let this assurance soak into your mind and heart, until you overflow with Joy.  Though the earth give way and mountains fall into the heart of the sea, you need not fear!

The media relentlessly proclaim bad news: for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A steady diet of their fare will sicken you.  Instead of focusing on fickle, everchanging news broadcasts, tune into the Living Word--the One who is always the same.  Let scripture saturate your mind and heart, and you will walk steadily along the path of Life.  Even though you don't know what will happen tomorrow, you can be absolutely sure of your ultimate destination.  I hold you by your right hand, and afterward I will take you into Glory."

-Sarah Young


The reality is that the world is full of sin and horrible things will happen.  In fact, we are promised that this life will be hard by Jesus himself: "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

I have never loved the conjunction "but" more than I do in that sentence.


To Christians, the promise is that one day this will all end.  The suffering, the pain, the agony.

Some of the last lines of the New Testament are my favorite:

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away..."
(Revelation 21:4)

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit...the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it...they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more.  They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever."
(Revelation 22:1-5)

So I choose not to be scared.  I choose not to dwell on the evil that is here, but focus on the good in the world as well.  I continue to pray for those who have been hurt. I choose to set my mind on God's unchanging promises and look forward to the day when he will use the tree of life as a balm for our wounds.

In the words of John in Revelation 22, verse 20:
"Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!"

*photos taken from a trip to Boston in 2011*

April 18, 2013

Taste of the South

Saturday, April 13, 2013:

4:00 pm - Grocery store run to buy grilling supplies
5:30 pm - Start grilling bar-b-que chicken
6:00 pm - Lee texts me and says she has two extra Taste of the South tickets
Think about it: to grill or to dance?
6:30 pm - Decide not to go
7:00 pm - Decide to go

So anyway...we went to TOTS!


I'm so glad we went...it was a great evening!


My sweet and beautiful roommates:  Lee and Holly!

April 17, 2013

White House Spring Garden Tour

It's always a treat to visit the White House, but this time, Kern and I had special guests with us!

No, not Barack and Michelle...


Michael and Ashley Harper--all the way from São Paulo, Brazil!
We had a great time walking through the garden with them and enjoying some quality time together.


Can you believe the tourists?!


Gorgeous tulips


Ashley, Baby Harper and I posed in front of the playground.


Michael and Kern in front of the President's putting green.


The Oval Office



When we were walking out towards the Kitchen Garden, we spied a Mama Duck and her ducklings!  They were tiny and adorable.


Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden.
There were lots of kale plants--yum!


April 16, 2013

Cherry Blossoms!

I usually try to avoid the thick tourist crowds around DC during the spring, but even the mobs couldn't keep me from biking down to the Tidal Basin last week to view the blossoming beauties.

Kern and I rode down after work one evening during the peak, and despite the horrific traffic, it was more than worth it.

Self timer shot:


It was like a pink wonderland!


The Jefferson looked beautiful as the sun set over the Tidal Basin.


The view of the opposite riverbank:

April 10, 2013

Union Market in DC

This past weekend, Kern and I decided to ride our bikes to Union Market in pursuit of our dinner.  The weather is finally starting to get (sort of) warm enough to enjoy an evening ride.


Union Market truly has a little bit of everything:

...a wine store



...butcher shop



...gourmet bakery


...a cheese making shop


...plentiful counters where you can stop for a drink and a snack or take your food to go!




The only downside: they close at 8pm.  You have to get in early to enjoy all the different aspects of the market.


I already have a list of different booths I want to try next time!

April 08, 2013

Cottage Visit

There's a throw pillow on the porch of the shore cottage that says,
"Heaven seems a little closer in a house beside the water."

I agree wholeheartedly.


Of course, it doesn't hurt that the house is in a very rural area too--surrounded by fields and woods.  It's so peaceful.


Check out this bike - it's technically a tricycle but has a basket in between the back two wheels.  This would be perfect for grocery shopping in the city...but it's also fun to ride around in the country!


The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1