Saturday, November 27, 2010

November in a Nutshell

Going, going, going... seems to be all we do. November has been full of travels and very little time for much else other than work. We celebrated Daniel's birthday the weekend of the 12th - yes, he got a full weekend for his birthday. We drove up to Broken Bow, Oklahoma to camp and attempt fly fishing. Key word: attempt.

Daniel was pretty awesome at the whole thing, but the fish just weren't interested. There was a folk festival at the state park that weekend and we enjoyed some amazing fair food, cute crafts, and folk music. The food was a nice break from canned soups and oatmeal. Jack went with and enjoyed every minute of the trip. He's such a good travel companion and a great guard dog - especially in the middle of the night when he hears racoons in the woods and wakes the entire camp up.

Some of the pretty fall colors!

We got home on Monday afternoon, I worked Monday and Tuesday night, and then I flew to Birmingham, AL on Wednesay for Erika's wedding. Prior to making it to the airport, my car decided to be difficult and breakdown at a gas station. Thank goodness for good friends who are willing to drive in rush hour traffic to take me to the airport in Dallas! Thursday, Kristen and I shopped and prepared for Erika's lingerie party; Friday we decorated the church and reception hall. Erika and Chadwick got married at Tannehill State Park in a 100 year old church and had the reception at an old school house.

The happy couple and us!

The decorations were beautiful and we had a lot of fun putting everything together. They did a rustic themed wedding with grape-vine wreaths and mason jars with candles. I became a master crafter that weekend as I helped make all the bouquets for the Bride and Bridesmaids, I decorated tables, and made/hung chandeliers made out of the wreaths and mason jars.
We decorated the chalkboards in the schoolhouse with pictures and Bible verses. We had more than enough to eat at Johnny Carino's after the rehearsal. The wedding was at 6pm on Saturday and it was a beautiful fall evening. Everything turned out perfect and Erika and Chadwick drove off after running under a tunnel of sparklers - slightly dangerous, but it made for some amazing pictures!

Daniel and I helped pack up some stuff from the wedding and then we made our way to Tuscaloosa to spend some time with my family.

Sunday included Cypress Inn (one of Daniel's favorite places to eat in T-town) and lots of shopping. We got to spend some time with some of my high school friends that night at a new yogurt place, it was great to catch up with them. After lunch and a little more shopping on Monday, Daniel and I headed back to Pelahatchie to spend time with his family. We had a big Thanksgiving meal Monday night and then spent time with family on Tuesday. Daniel had taken my engagement/wedding rings to the jeweler to get them fixed and I went to pick them up on Tuesday and spent time with my friend Brooke - this was much needed in my life! We headed home on Wednesday after stopping in Vicksburg to see Brett and Laura Beth and Kelty. Jack still really likes Kelty (He came with us, but stayed in MS the whole time with Daniel's parents).

That left work on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

On another note, we found out that we got a CARES placement while we were traveling! It is for an apartment complex near our house that we currently live in. It's huge! They already have a team, but they are leaving this week and want a smooth transition into a new team, so hopefully we will get to interview with management seomtime this week. We are so excited about this new journey! This placement will keep us in Fort Worth for 2 more years, but we are ok with that. We're excited to see what God has in store for us over the next 2 years here, and what he has for us after that!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My heart hurts, my soul rejoices

The Book of Job in the Bible tells the story of a man called Job; he was a man of God, and God allowed the devil to put Job through a series of trials. Through it all Job trusted God and he refused to insult God. Job's friends disagreed with Job's attitude. They did not think that God would allow an innocent person to suffer. They thought God was punishing Job. Job suffered and God taught him through his suffering. He learned that death is not the end, that God is good and fair and just. Job showed the love of God to his friends through his suffering. They saw God because of him. God restored Job. God was glorified.

This morning, a dear brother went to be with our Lord. His name is Christian Schmidt, and he was 21. I grew up with him and his family in our church; his brother and I are the same age. The Schmidt family is a family of great faith, and they were always serving in our church and at the schools. They constantly gave of themselves to serve others and share the light of Christ in this dark world. Christian's desire was to become a pastor one day and share the Word with the world. His freshman year of college at Mississippi College, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer that rocked their family's world, but not their faith. He was able to finish out the first semester and came home the second to start some aggressive treatments. Through it all he sought to keep Christ first and glorify our Father with his attitude and actions. Many things have happened in the past 2 years of his illness. He had some good news, as well as lots of bad news. He completed more classes, had many more treatments, loved on his family and friends, and was supported and encouraged through lots of prayer. For the most part, he was without pain for the 2 years which I praise God for. God took that pain from him so the he could continue to do the work that God had planned for him. God allowed these trials to burden his body, but not his heart, mind, or soul. God gave him the strength to complete the tasks that He had set before Christian. When Christian found out about the cancer, he went straight to work to make our Father KNOWN among our town, county, state, nation, as well as internationally. He had such a wonderful and powerful testimony and I'm so thankful that he had the strength and boldness to share his love for our amazing Father. Christian wrote sermons to pass his time. He studied the Word and spent time with our Father. He knew that he may not make it through this trial but made sure that he could leave parts of his his heart and his faith in our Father for others to see and read. Weekly, even daily, he would post a note on Facebook, and eventually started his own blog. A student at the University of Alabama decided to do a documentary on Christian's life, another way to spread the Gospel and Christian's testimony. Christian's fight ended this morning. His battle is over. He was victorious. Christ was victorious. Christian was a true example of what it means "to live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). If only we were all so bold. I cannot say that I understand why this happened to Christian, but if it's anything like Job's situation, it's because God knew that Christian would prevail through Christ and ultimately bring Him glory.

Please pray with me for the Schmidt family. They have been through so much in the past few years, and I pray that blessings surround them for raising a young man such as Christian. Christian was a blessing and an inspiration to all those who knew him.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.

To read Christian's goodbye and all of his other sermons, click HERE.

And we also lost another brother today, Nick Bell, a football player from Mississippi State. I do not know much of his story, but he also battled cancer. Please be in prayer for the Bell family as well.