Thursday, January 28, 2010


I have a confession to make.
It's really hard for me to say this.
I have a hard time getting into music.
Don't get me wrong, I LIKE music. I just don't generally fall head over heals in love with any particular genre. I've never quite been able to say that either country, Christian contemporary, soft rock, hard rock, jazz, classical or pan flute is my favorite. I'll listen to just about everything but nothing ever lept out to me as "my kind of music".
But then, a few weeks ago, Sara Groves popped up on my Pandora account. I searched out more. Her music is, for lack of a better word, very real. Some of her songs could be classified as worship music, but others are, I think, best described as an introspective look at the Christian walk.
Allow me to share one of my favorites.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guilty of Attempted Poetry

I am from misty blue mountains, from Frozen Run Black Bear Birch Beer and bare feet.

I am from the lightning bugs hovering above the cornfield on a purple evening.

I am from the deep green woods, the stoney creek.

I am from bedtime stories and brown eyes, from Hannah and Lois and Blanche.

I am from the laughter and singing loudly.

From "If you've never made a mistake, you haven't done much." and "You're an old soul."

I am from tent meetings, youth group and loud worship music. From puppet ministry, Vacation Bible School and wishing for a mission trip.

I'm from Appalachia and Scots-Irish and German, ham pot-pie and whoopie pies.

From the green, worn path that led at gram' s white farm house everyday, the bobtail cats, and pap's still in his backyard shed.

I am from shoeboxes, picture frames and photo albums. Black and white pictures, sepia pictures, and faded 70's pictures filled with laugh crinkled eyes, crooked grins, ornery faces and grubby paws.

Template borrowed from Chrysallis

Monday, January 25, 2010

On this day many (but not that many) years ago . . .

I was born!
I share a birthday with:
Robert Burns, Scottish poet
Virginia Woolf, English writer
Alicia Keys, American singer
and many other wonderful people I don't know.
In honor of my birthday (and just for fun), I thought I share some of my favorites:
Favorite Color: Lime Green
Favorite Cuisine: Mexican
Favorite Clothing: Jeans, T-Shirt and Sneakers
Favorite Time of Day: Evening
Favorite Flower: Black eyed Susans
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Sticky Toffee Pudding (and I don't think they make it anymore)
Favorite Book: Too many to count, but probably Bridge to Terebithia or Anne of Green Gables (series)
(humming, and these are a few of my favorite things)
Off to have birthday cake now!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reaching the Oasis

Sorry I've been a bit remiss is my posting lately.
This weekend, we held our annual winter youth retreat. I love time spent with our youth - they are, quite simply, awesome kids. It had been a busy week, but busy weeks are pretty common for us, so I was not sure I had the energy for late nights, hard beds and a packed schedule. Ready or not, I left work on Friday and joined the group bound for winter camp.
Chapel was inspiring, worship was beautiful and game time was a hoot! There is so much more I could say about each one of these, and I'm not doing justice to those activities or to the work that went into them, but I so want to tell you about something else that happened this weekend.
Something that made me want to build a monument by the Jordan River (see Joshua 4), so that I would never forget the precious time that God supplied me with this weekend.
Saturday's activity was sledding. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), the deep freeze that has gripped Pennsylvania lifted this weekend and our snow has melted for the most part, and the plans had to be re-routed. The kids went tubing at a local ski resort instead. I like snow, but I hate being cold, so I, and another leader, stayed behind at the camp. Several folks from our church came to camp to cook for our crew, and I figured I could read a book and relax a little. Shortly after the kids set out on their adventure, the remaining adults gathered in the common room and began an impromptu Bible study which led to the best discussion I have had in years. YEARS! There I sat, in a room full of fellow Christians, all of them deep-rooted in their faith. The fellowship was so sweet, I didn't want it to end.
It occurred to me that sometimes our Christian life feels a bit like a long journey through a desert. We live our lives in an environment that is hostile to our beliefs. We go to church, read our Bibles and pray, and that keeps enough water in our canteens to get us through. Yesterday was like reaching an oasis. I came away full and overflowing.
He is so good!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Mission Trip

Hi everybody! It's me, Rachel. My mom wanted me to write about my mission trip to Dallas. Well, here it goes.
As some of you might know, this was my first time flying. I found it was just like riding in a car... only 3,200 feet in the air.
Because of some of the flight delays, we didn't do much the first day. So I'll just skip to Day 2. We started making posters and working on skits for the VBS we were going to do on Days 3 and 4. In the afternoon, we went out and racked a couple widows lawns. However, my MIG (that was my mission group) went out and picked up trash along the curb. Then we went back to the white house (that was where we stayed) and had dinner and a church session.

Day 3 was the first day of VBS. WE got somewhere between 15-20 kids the first day. Some of the leaders where expecting a few more than that. You see, this church has so many outreaches, some thought it was a church with a couple thousand people in it. It turns out the maximum occupancy is 216 and the 60 people from our group took up about a third of the congregation that Sunday. But the kids that were there seemed to have a lot of fun. After the three hour program, we went back to the white house and had lunch. We went and cleaned up some yards again and then got showers.

I'm going to take a quick break and tell you about the house we stayed at. There were two bathrooms for 60 people. We had 20-30 minutes to get ready for bed. That did not work so well, but we managed. For showers we went to the "Clothing Closet" which had about 20 showers in it. They hadn't opened it to the public, but the purpose of it was for the homeless. They could get a shower then get a new set of clothes. We were the first people to use it. OK, back to the trip itself.

On Day 4, we continued with our VBS. We had a couple more kids that day. In the afternoon, we did more service projects. We cleaned up a yard that had a ton of leaves in it. As Day 4 was New Years Eve, we stayed up and went to Parks Manor. This is a local nursing home. we went and visited with the residents there. We then went back to the white house and had a little party.

On the fifth day of the trip, we met a woman named Judy. She had once owned the most popular club in that part of Dallas. There would be hundreds of people on her corner. Some where prostitutes, drug dealers, and others that were up to no good. In January of 2009, she became a Christian and she shut down her club. Well, when she had some money, she paid someone to paint her house blue and green. It was at that point pitch black. Long story short, the man ran away with her money. So that is what I did for Day 5 and Day 6.

Day 7 was our last day so we all said our goodbyes. We went to the airport in two shifts. The first shift was, if you left before 1 pm, you left for the airport at 2:30 am. The second shift was the one I went with. It had everyone that was left. We had to be at the airport at 6:00 am. So sitting in an airport for about eleven hours is a fairly long time.

Anyway, just a little side note before I finish up, everyday we had PB&J sandwiches. I have to say, I don't think I will have another for the next couple months. I hope everyone enjoyed this post. If you have any questions about anything we did down there or just the trip in general, you can leave it as a comment and I can answer it. Bye!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009, I hardly knew ye.

Wow. 2009 is over - already! Where did the time go? I've been blogging for an entire year!

Last year I wrote a contemplative post, listing the highlights from the past year as well as things I wished I had done better. I'm not going to do that this year. 2009, was, in many ways a very difficult year for me. I struggled through some trying times, but if I had to do it over again, I would not have done it differently. I grew a lot this year, I learned a lot this year and God is still working on me!

So, instead of looking back, I want to look forward to 2010. My goal for this year is simple - deepen my relationship with God and get on board with His plans for me. Part of that plan will be, I believe, coordinating women's ministry opportunities at our church. A retreat is in the works for November 2010, and hopefully another women's Bible study. For some time now, I have been feeling a strong desire to speak to women about God's abiding love for us and our need to support and encourage one another within the church (Titus 2). That will continue to be a matter of prayer for me as I seek the Lord's direction.

Welcome to April in January 2010!