Friday, July 15, 2011

Ebineezer Scrooge Ain't Got Nothin On Me

So there once was a guy named Samuel.  He was a prophet.  He was sent to tell the Israelites that they were not doing so hot.  He told them to repent and that if they did, the Philistines would stop kicking the crap out of them.  They did, and then asked him to pray for them.  Being a prophet, he was kind of a big deal, so Samuel prayed.  The Philistines saw all the Israelites in one place and thought, HEY! This will be like shooting fish in a barrel, except they didn't factor in that whole 'God' thing.  The Israelites, freshly repentant, were saved.

Samuel laid a stone between the Israelites and the Philistines, calling it Ebenezer, and declared that the Lord had helped them to that point.  Ebenezer has since been known as the stone of help.

On June 18, 2011, I set out to run a marathon.  It was something I had decided to do in honor of a friend, it was something I followed through with because it had a lot of meaning for me, it was something that gave me a cause and it was something that made me work towards something.  I did it to feel closer to my God.

I could hardly eat the night before.  My dad forced some spaghetti down my throat and I mulled around the house all night trying to sleep.  I woke up that morning terrified.  I kept repeating to my dad that this was the most scared I have ever been.  He would reassure me that I would be fine and reminded me of all the training I did.

The first song on my shuffle was Ke$ha.  I knew it was gonna be a good run.  I said a prayer for Brittni and then I was off.  Lets just say that the first 4 miles I was on fire, and then the next 10 were brutal.  By half way I wanted to die because I had ascended the entire way!  When I got to the highest point of the race there was a couple sitting there, they happily said, 'Its all down hill from here!' I almost burst with excitement.

As I came down the halfway point, my cheersquad was there.  They are the best friends that anyone could ask for.  I was so grateful to have them and to be honest, felt more of Brittni in what they did for me than even running the race.  They were there every few miles with words of encouragement.

At about mile 20 I saw my dad for the first time.  He could tell I was spent, and so he was there every two miles after that with a popsicle.  He would cheer me on and tell me where I would see him next.  It was so awesome.  It gave me smaller goals to look forward to.

In the end, I finished.  And all I have to say is that it is by divine help that I did.

This summer, I lay my Ebenezer here in Alaska.  I have learned so much about myself, I have learned about what I want to be.  I have learned about doing the right thing, even when it is hard, about repenting when it hurts.  I have learned about my family, who my friends are, and I have learned about laying down a rock in places where I have struggled, but where I have felt the Lord with me.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;

How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

So here's to you Ebenezer.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, July 1, 2011

TMFH: Self Portraits

I hope you love this face

Cuz you are gonna see it in every album of every vacation/graduation/baby birthing/exciting event photo album we ever have.

Just giving you fair warning.

Remember when I posted on a regular basis?

I do.

I actually have about 5 posts that are drafted out or outlined or half written or are in my head and I want to write them down, but I haven't made the time.  Summers are so busy!!  And I don't really know why I feel like this takes precedent over the marathon post, but it does.

I love the random situations I am privy to.

I have two really unrelated/really awesome mini stories to share.  I hope you won't think I'm weird.

The day before the race, I was pretty busy at work.  Every other Friday is what we call a 'double ship day', which for you non-tourist job people means that there are not one, but TWO cruise ships in which means that my little town of 275,000 pretty much triples in size.  Its a busy day for me, but I try to make it as enjoyable as possible.  Before one of my tours I chatted it up with a gentleman who had a Team in Training hat on. (Side note, I am TOTALLY going to join TNT.  They are awesome)  He told me he was running the half and I told him I was running the full and that it was my first and that I wanted to crawl in a hole in die I was so nervous.  After the tour we got to talking and he told me that he ran his first marathon just 6 months after his first round of chemotherapy.  I told him that was amazing and asked him what type of cancer he had. 'Large B-cell Lymphoma'.  I started crying immediately.  I apologized and explained that my mom had been diagnosed in October with the same type of Lymphoma and that she had just finished a round of chemo AND radiation.  He teared up and we exchanged some conversation about it.  At the end, we took a picture and he told me he would look for me at the finish line.

Yesterday, I got off a tour and was helping my passengers off the trolley. (P.S. if you didn't already know, I drive a trolley and it is AWESOME) I started to chat a bit with the people at the front of the line waiting to get ON, and as a man came off, he approached the man in the front of the line, shook his hand and announced which branch of the military he served in during Vietnam.  The man at the front of the line returned the exchange with his regiment number and type.  They shook hands and each said to the other, 'Welcome home brother.'

Now.  Neither of these two experiences have anything to do with the other, except for the fact that the both touched me deeply.  One because I knew that it was one of those moments when I could see God's hand in a chance meeting.  The other because here were two perfect strangers who were both 'anxiously engaged in a good cause' and it made me proud to be an American.

I may say that I hate my job, and sometimes I do, but I am so glad that I get to interact with so many different people.  I am not a fan of saying the same thing 585 times a summer.

But as you can see, Captain Cook is showing off his better side for you today.