Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Heroes Part 2
It seems I haven't known Mary for too long. I suppose the first time I can recall us meeting was when I was a Sr. in High School down in florida with my parents (and emily) for some church conference they were attending. We were going out for dinner with a bunch of my parents friends when Mark and his wife Mary offered for us to ride in their rental car with them: a convertable. Boo-ya.
It wasn't until years later that Mary and I became connected in a much closer and heart intertwined way.
When I was offered the job of Director of Student Ministries at CrossRoads, one of the first families to welcome me with open arms was the Crydo clan. The kids were all excited and wanted to get to know Jared and I, Mark was critical in our lives as he did our pre-marital counseling, and then there was Mary. You see, when I was in college, I had been prompted in a chapel service that I needed to have a life mentor. Someone a bit older and much wiser then I was. Someone who could not only hold me accountable, but who could challenge me in life just by their own lives and character. Each place I have lived since college, I have asked someone different to step into that role, and I could tell within the first few weeks at CrossRoads, that Mary was supossed to be that next person for me.
Mary and I had plenty in common, which helped us to get together. We would often meet at Lifestyles for Ladies Only in Lambertville for a good long walk and talk on the treadmills followed by a good prayer time. Or we would go over to her house and spend some time just talking, eating and praying together. And then what began to happen led to one of the best times of my life. Slowly but surely I would spend more time at their house, and then Jared would get off work, and they would invite us over for dinner...and then we did the Daniel Fast together, and in order to share our fruit and veggie concoctions with each other, we ate together...a LOT!!! It was immediately following our daniel fast together that we had the blessing of traveling to florida together. And I had begun to notice that my time with Mary was effecting who I was...more patience, more appreciation for life, more appreciation for my beloved husband, more affection for the Lord.
And then, one fateful day in May, Mark and Mary offered for us to live with them for our last month and a half that we were in Michigan. That time in my life can only be described as one of the most joyful, hilarious, fun-loving, God-filled and on and on. It was actually a pretty difficult time in our lives for all of us, and yet the relationships that we shared brought out the good and lessened the bad.
Moving across the country from Mary and the rest of their clan has left a huge hole in our hearts, but Mary and I do manage to talk several times a week on the phone. It is so refreshing to have someone who knows your faults, and is not your family, and yet they choose to love and care for you. Mary is one of my true life heroes. She has survived cancer and has spent so much of her time devoted to encouraging others who are in the midst of it. She went from being a "walker" of like 3-4 miles a day, to being able to run 5-7 miles daily in less then a year! She is kind, funny, prayerful, compassionate, she is a lover of Christ and desperate for His touch, an awesome mother, wife, friend, and mentor. Thanks Lord for my dear friend Mary.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
No I'm not blogging about the tv show as interesting as it may be. I've been inspired by the life of Mitch Thomas to do a series of blogs based on different people in my life who I view as heroes. There are many blogs to come following this one, but today I have decided to feature one of my favorite people; my brother Alex
My bro Alex is my only sibling. He is 22 months older then me (which means for 2 months of my life I get to rub it in his face that we are only 1 year apart). When we were little, we used to play together ALL the time. We would play with legos, dominos, army men, make army forts, ride our bikes etc. together. (one time we played barbies, but he just kept wanting to make them kill each other, so that was the first and last time). Since our family loves to travel, we've been to some pretty awesome places together. When you think about it, he's really the only other person who really knew what it was like to grow up the exact same way I did.
We attended the same high school and college, were a part of many of the same activities, but although we did a lot of the same things, we are very different people. I think that's one of things I like so much about Alex: though we are similar in some ways, we are different. Alex is probably the more introverted of the two of us, but also more of the "life of the party" in the group he is comfortable with (more so then myself). I've always know Alex is much more intelectually inclined of the two of us. He loves to eat pizza and peanut butter and jelly, where as I would prefer veggies and tuna. He is very thoughtful of our family and has been overly welcoming to my husband Jared who joined our family just about 2 years ago. Alex is an awesome husband to his wife Becky (more about her in a later post) as he just gives and gives to her and their 3 kids. He has shown some pretty incredible unconditional love to Evan, Aaron and Ashlyn and has waaayyyy more patience in circumstances then I do. Alex doesn't always like to express his feelings the way that I might, but that's ok too. I know he loves me lots, because he shows me and tells me. Alex is one of the few people in my life who can make me laugh just by a side glance or some crazy inside joke we've had for years.
Most of all, I am so thankful for the passion for the Lord my brother has. His choices everyday reflect his commitment to God. Alex is for sure a man of integrity. I'm so thankful for his example on my life. I am so blessed to have him in my life, we just seem to "get eachother".
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Singing Through Our Tears
Today we celebrated and honored the life of Mitch Thomas. Mitch has been battling Leukemia for about 16 months, and the Lord brought about complete healing as He brought Mitch to the heavenly realms early Tuesday morning.
I've known Mitch for so long, I don't even remember when I would have first met him. Our parents went to Bible College together and even sang in a group together, as we were destined to become friends long before we knew it. I can recall our yearly family trips to the Spokane area when we would hang out with the Roberts and Thomas kids--we were all loud and crazy together. My most vivid memories with Mitch occured when I was living in Spokane in the Spring of '03 while I was student teaching. I spent plenty of time with the entire Thomas family, and I can remember different times when i was lonely, Mitch just seemed to pop in at the Roberts house where I was living. He always had a funny story to share and was genuinely interested in my life. I remember one night in particular when we decided we should get a group of people together after I graduated and go backpack in Europe! We went on-line searching prices and planning who should come with us. (although the trip never happened!)
Mitch and I kept in contact through Facebook every now and then, and when he was diagnosed with cancer, I decided that even though we may not have been super close friends, I wanted to make sure he knew how much we cared about him and prayed for him almost every day. And yet even in our communication he was so selfless and giving.
Jared and I were able to visit him in the hospital in August while he was still healthy and strong--the first time I had seen him in several years. He was the same Mitch I had always remembered, but wiser, stronger, and so mature in the Lord. We so enjoyed our conversation that day, and we ended our visit by planning a double date together with his beautiful fiance (now wife).
The last time we saw Mitch was on one of the most impactful nights of my life when about 200 people surrounded the Thomas house as we held a prayer vigil for healing of Mitch. Everyone there was so unified in heart and mind. Although Mitch had to stay in the house, we arrived early with my parents and he and Chelsea came out onto the front porch so they could talk to us without the barrier of a window. It is so amazing to me that the last time I saw him was a moment when he made me feel so special and loved by greeting us in that special way.
I am convinced that as Mitch passed into eternity, he felt more love on earth then most people do in their lifetime. It is evidenced in the life of his family, and in his bride Chelsea in particular. The joy of the Lord runs so strongly in her veins, it is a blessing just to be in her presence.
Today we all sang through tears of joy that he has reached the final destination, and tears of extreme sadness that we have physically lost our brother. It was a hard day...but it was good, because the presence of the Lord was in that place. As I look ahead, I plan on joining the Thomas family in their grieving process, loving on Chelsea and Mitch's sister Charese and her husband David and his other sibling Luke and his wife Jennifer in particular (as they all attend our church).
I love life, and my own life in enhanced because of the life of Mitchell Alan Thomas.
Keep singing and dancing up there Mitch, can't wait to join you!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Running and Praying
Over the years I have had different running spurts-sometimes months at a time--last winter I was up to 8 miles even! I have been running again recently-lots of hills around Spokane to run around on. And today my wonderful husband joined me for the first time in a while, which was a huge blessing. (3 miles isn't too bad) I love having him by my side.
Many people have told me about the great prayer times they have had while running, and I have to admit I have always been a bit jealous since I am usually consumed with thoughts on what part of my body hurts, is my breathing right, am I swinging my arms too much etc.
Today was different though. As we ran through the hail, rain and wind, my heart connected with God as I interceeded again for my friend Mitch and his family. God is able to do more then we ask and imagine, and that's what I ask Him to do today.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Meeting a Mad Scientist
So Jared and I finally took an expedition up to Green Bluff here in Spokane. This area is known for awesome fruit and veggie farms that seel fresh stuff at much cheaper then the grocery stores. So we went around the area stopping at a few different places before finally stopping at Strawberry Hills...
We walked up to the barn and this old guy comes over and asks us if we've ever been there before. "I'm the Mad Scientist!" he tells us. He then proceeded to not only tell us where we could find the different produce, but takes us row by row of the u-pick farm explaining how everything is "more then organic" (I didn't know that was possible!) He let us sample everything we wanted, but he just kept talking and talking about how he studied in Australia to get special certifications and everything. It was amazing. He's our new best friend. We plan on visiting the mad scientist with the best strawberries in town soon!
(not actual photo of Verne)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Friends of Mine
So the other day my bro Alex posted an amazing video "Jesus is my friend". Through a little online searching I found an interview with the lead singer and a few snapshots of my friends from Jesus is a Friend of Mine. If you haven't yet seen it, PLEASE go to my brother's blog right now and watch it!
Monday, September 15, 2008
So for the last few days, ever since Mariah Crydo told me she was watching Lord of the Rings, Gandalf's whistle was been stuck in my head. I've been practicing over and over again, but Jared just has that natural touch and sounds just like Him! Can you whistle like Gandalf????
Sunday, September 14, 2008
So I've been thinking about the phrase church "family" for about the last week or so...
We had a prayer service last Monday night for Mitch Thomas-a friend battling leukimia for about the last 16 months or so-in desperate need of a miracle. I'd say there were over 200 people there pouring out their hearts to the Lord-seeking His power and grace and healing upon our Brother Mitch. We spent hours praying, worshipping, and praying some more. And the thought occured to me more then once-what a beautiful picture of unity--maybe we're just a little closer to what God wants us to be like right in that moment. It was a night I will never forget, and we still pray and wait upon the Lord to heal Mitch.
Last Thursday night, Jared and I were invited to come to a couples small group at our friends Nick and Jillian's. All of us had been at the prayer night and somehow seemed very unified. When we left the house a few hours later, we kept commenting on how much of a "church family" we have here at Timberview.
Today at Timberview was Opening Day as we called it. I was priveleged to be on the worship team today singing up front with my mama and the rest of the team. Dad spoke wonderfully always...but there was just a sense of unity among everyone. So many people volunteered hours to get everything set up and ready-there were lots of new faces-and everyone seemed genuinly excited about what God was doing in this church family we have.
I'm so thankful God is showing me more and more through those around me what the church family is supossed to look like!
Monday, September 8, 2008
So Jared and I have been here in Spokane WA for about a month and a half--which has gone by so extremly fast I can't believe it. I just got done moving some more of our boxes from mom and dad's garage to their basement so we can actually use the garage for the car (we've living with mom and pops in case you hadn't heard).
Strange how something as mundane as moving boxes reminds me of some great memories, and how far God has brought me.
I can recall sitting in our old apartment, going through each room of "stuff" and putting absolutely everything we own on the floor and saying "each room only gets 2 bins worth of stuff"--I can't even begin to express how much "stuff" we got rid of, stuff that I don't even remember, miss, or think about, but I'm sure I thought it was very important in the moments that I stored it away.
I remember sitting in the Crydo's living room with them, helping them purge from their household items, and Mark writing some pretty funny return address labels on our boxes as we all prepared to move. Somehow we all helped make the moving process so much fun for each other although it was extremely difficult-we were able to laugh our way through most days no matter what.
Seeing the few things I have kept from being young reminds me of when I was a child and Alex and I would play all day long riding our bikes, coloring, pretending there were alligators on the carpet, or building the tallest lego towers possible (please great grandma, please great grandma). I can hardly believe sometimes my brother actually has kids of his own.
Most of all, as I carry these boxes back and forth and continue to snoop through what we have, I am reminded of how far the Lord has brought me in so many ways. I can't believe I am married to the most incredible man in the world, have made some extremely amazing life-long friends, have been so welcomed into the Timberview family, have such a deep love for my family and friends that I am able to feel so much loss just being away from them, have made such wonderful friends here in Spokane already, and that I can live today in the truth that God's mercies are new this morning.
Thanks Lord for the chance I had today to move some boxes.