Friday, June 8, 2018

       This post is going to be just a little different. My hope is that as you read this you get to see my crazy life through my eyes. For those of you that follow me on social media know that I am always posting pictures no matter what the occasion is, so I am going to try and show my heart with the best intentions. Sometimes speaking the truth is more important than just holding back because we are all children of God and need to share, as it says in Ephesians 4:25, "..SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another." 
So to speak freely, I have heard remarks on my pictures, that with the life we live, some people expect to see many hardships, long days, paperwork and constant craziness...
We have them! There are so many moments that are not shared, not because I am afraid of the opinions of others, but I want to share the JOY that we get to experience. In the hardships there is laugher, in the long days there is an end, the paperwork is tackled daily, and the constant craziness has become a normalcy in our life. 
To me, pictures capture a moment. A moment that I can go back and imagine myself in; every emotion, the time, the place, the conversations happening and the reason why I took it. Taking a picture means you are capturing the beauty that you see in that moment and keeping it forever. Every picture tells a small story in a chapter of our life. Sometimes a single picture can bring back a million memories, or expresses a season of life, many times for me its pictures that I have of those that I love. As I said, most of the time I do post the moments of my life that I find beautiful and full of joy.
Especially over the last couple years, as we have been funding there has been an extreme amount of traveling a fun moments I have shared and some I haven't. These are going to be mostly random moments, but some very important times in my life.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The road to California.
San Francisco, California.
Salt Flats.

Grand Canyon.

New York City.
San Antonio, Texas.

New Orleans.

Kansas City, Missouri.

These are just some of the places we've been, every single picture shows a place, I would have never dreamed of being in, but God gave me every one of those experiences, and they ended up being some of my favorite memories. Each place holds a special place in my heart, as there is so much to fall in love with, so much beauty in the cities, buildings, landscape and most of all; the people. 
Traveling from one side of the country to the other has given me experiences and lessons I didn't know I needed! When I talk about or share pictures I am not sharing because I am prideful about them, but because every single place is so amazing in it's own way. Having the unique opportunity to see so many places has taught me so many lessons, like don't enjoy the place, but notice the small differences, from words people say, foods and even traditions! There are so many subtle differences in America that are so fascinating. 
Also, many people have certain things on their "bucket list" but if I've learned anything is that sometimes you experience things that are so much better! It's kind of like God saying "here are your desires, now here is something better." I just love those moments when I have been able to see places I didn't know I wanted too but completely took my breath away!

While most people see a blurry photo of a young girl with her mother singing and playing music together, this picture is priceless to me. This is the power of a moment. Because of a change happening in the church, we needed a keyboard player, while I knew I had a lot to learn, I stepped up. This could be seen as a PK just doing her duties, but it was a moment God showed me something that I would fall completely in love with and change my life; the art of Worship and music. I knew I 'liked' music but the first Sunday I played, at 15 years old, I finished the worship time and almost couldn't contain the complete joy I found that morning. There was a peace in that moment, like the Lord had been preparing for it my entire life, now there is no turning back. From that day on it has been my passion. 

I mostly lead with my best friend, ministry partner and sister all in one. 

Some churches we have been to have invited me to play on
their worship teams and I have loved every opportunity!

Our funding journey has looked a bit different than some missionaries who raise support mainly because of our background as pastors. So over the last two and a half years, our main events include speaking at churches across the country. It has been such a beautiful honor to have stood in front of thousands of people and share what the Lord had put on my heart. 
Every single stage that I have had the incredible opportunity of standing on has been so humbling and an honor. Meeting such incredible Pastors and church bodies along the way, talking with people who always had such incredible ministries, getting to hear each unique story has been a priceless gift. Every single week was filled with new people, new places and the Lord never failed to supply for every service. Even though these are only a few of the places we've been, I am so thankful for every single stage that God has provided. There is nothing that can match the feeling when you look up and see the beautiful body of Christ in every denomination.

Also the more personal home meetings were so amazing.

Ministry Partners

I have this as a separate section because there is something so special in not only ministering but being able to do it with a team. I was talking to a family the other day who had just been accepted as missionaries and starting the funding process, and they asked if we (my sister and I) actually enjoyed being apart of it. These are just one of the comments we get quite often because it's so rare to see families working together. It is! I don't take for granite the fact that every time we go somewhere to share its a family effort.
 From the moment we step into the doors we all know our responsibilities but also be flexible because you never know how that time will be different from the rest. There hasn't been a church service or meeting that the rest of the family hasn't been apart of in some way. Every stage my parents have been on, the rest of have been on as well. It has been such a crazy road, but that will always be something I am beyond grateful for; that no matter how crazy things got we would end up doing it together.
My family is more of a blessing than I will ever be able to tell.


Down Time
This is part of the reason why I hear remarks on pictures, because while we go places and share; we have meetings, phone conferences and so many more things that with fundraising has kept us busy, we still take moments to laugh and enjoy life too!
 One of our favorite things to do is find unique coffee shops or restaurants that are still in the budget and have fun! If we are traveling somewhere we will take just a few moments to actually enjoy the place. So many times while we were between meetings or just needed a day away, there were always people we still talked and ministered too. 
For example, this past March we had a packed day, filled with services, meetings and missions banquets, but between them we had about an hour and we desperately needed coffee. 
We found a cute little coffee shop, but there was a reason for it. For the entire time we ended up talking to the owner, encouraging her ending the time with her in tears and praying with her.
Because JOY isn't found in the destination but in the JOURNEY, right?

This is by far my favorite Syrian restaurant in Bethlehem, PA.
Best hummus EVER!

The Unseen Pictures
As I go about life, my tendency is to only capture moments full of beauty and happiness, but we all know that those don't happen all of the time. But when you aren't strong, or you go through things that aren't something "good", you automatically don't think people want to see that about your life. The truth is, everyone has those off screen moments. The ones behind the scenes. 

When people see us speak at churches, they come in, normally with the full table display set up, organized, filled with carefully placed information and prayer cards. The instruments set aside, tuned and set up to play in a seconds notice. People see the almost seamless transition between each of us speaking and playing music. What is not seen, is the strategically packed car that leaves nearly no extra room for the passengers. 
Many times the countless hours of travel go on, during these last two year across the country folded up, but counting it as memories, and the outcome would be worth it.
What is not seen often, are the countless hours spent in prayer, practice and preparation. With speaking every week, I really don't like to say the same things, because I know the Lord can use even the smallest things we say, so time in devotions and prayer is vital. One thing we decided at the beginning as well was that we were not going to abandon the gifts God gave, so every where we go my sister and I play violins and sing. While this sounds smooth, it still takes an enormous amount of time in practice. Preparation with what we do kind of looks like an iceberg. The 45 minutes that we spend in front of a church often takes literally weeks of planning.
Something we decided to do at the beginning was, pack slowly, starting with the nonessentials so that there wasn't so much pressure when we were actually needing to pack. 
Right now the house is pretty empty, boxes are in the storage unit and the rest of the house ready to be cleared out. 
Moments that are not able to be photographed are the moments that you find a photo, or an ornament, sheet music, the art off the walls that you are about to pack and realizing that those items are going to be packed away along with everything familiar. That as I fold and pack my dads military jacket that I wear, the next time I see that jacket we will across the world from each other. 
FaceTime Talks
I know this is an odd subject to mention, but important.
With the life we live, we see people on a daily basis for all reasons, but rarely do we get to see those who we choose to see. I don't mean that I don't enjoy everyone that we get to meet and talk to! I just mean that so many times we can get caught up with impressions that need to be made, or whatever is more professional/proper. But not often do we get to see those we are truly friends with. Honestly, those that I get to call some of my best friends live way too far to see each other in person, or our schedules never work out because of our unpredictable life. 
So FaceTime has been such a blessing in my life, it is the time that I get to talk and laugh with those who have been there for me, and listen to everything I have to say. 
I do take screenshots because I care so much about that person and keep it as a memory, but the moments pictures can't capture are the moments someone calls me and I hear them crying or need me. Those are the moments I would give anything just to be with them and give a hug, or even to just be in the same room! The moments when you hit the big red button to end the call and you look up to see just an empty room once again. 
As you can imagine there are so many things that are done daily that make major changes in our life. Every single day there are what seems like millions of things that are in a whirlwind. Something I have learned years ago through being a pastors kid and my dad's illness is the importance of processing. Most of the time its the moments I can sneak away, find a piano or spend time with a pencil that I can fully be at peace. When we travel there are not many opportunities to process all that goes on which mean there normally comes a point that being with people becomes difficult. Not because I don't love being around those I get to be around but because "peopling" is hard when processing is impossible. For me, my music and art shares emotions and words that I am not able to express. 

 I am sure this one does not come as a surprise, but these are things that we don't like to share as often and not talked about. I am so grateful for them though. Because in order for a goodbye, even hard goodbyes, there has to a "hello" so that means that I have been blessed to know someone who cares enough to say "goodbye". 
One of my favorite quotes right now is by the one and only Winnie the Pooh when he said,
 "how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." 
By far saying goodbye to my grandparents get harder every time we get to say hello, because who knows when we will see them again once we leave. 
Another person who is always so hard to let go of is my brother. He will forever be one of my first best friends, protectors, teasers, and one of the people who make me laugh effortlessly. Even though he hasn't lived with us for a long while, it is still so hard to say goodbye, to hug him only to let him go. When I have my arms around him, I can keep him safe from anything that can hurt him, to listen to all of the inside jokes and show him how much he will always mean to me. 
Some goodbyes I am having to face someday is also having to say goodbye to those I am closest to. This is definitely something I try not to think about. The thought of going throughout my day and not being able to hear their voice around the corner, or work on projects together. The day I won't have my dad say "ooh there is thing 1" when I come downstairs or when I won't have my mom remind me of what I need to get done and drink coffee with me. 
Thinking about a day that I will look to my side and I won't see my sister, the one who I have always depended on and shared everything with. 

This by far is the hardest subject to be honest about. 
Because as a child of God, I know who created me and holds me in His loving arms, trusting that He is always there. For that very reason I believe this is kind of a hushed topic, but this is just me being completely honest. 
Walking a path that this unique and sometimes difficult means most of the time there are not many who understand completely everything happen. Also, just to be transparent, once people find out what you do and that you won't be here for long, there isn't many who are willing to get attached. I know that sounds harsh, but its real. With my personality, which has always been so very different than what is "popular" I have gotten used to it, but it doesn't mean its easy. There are moments that I honestly long for people to understand even just part of who I am, but it's just not possible all of the time. So while there is joy in the presence of the Lord, or even talking to people, the reality is that loneliness is real and felt. 

So the point to all of the randomness, is that sometimes life isn't always a perfect polaroid made moment. There have been more days than I can count that I have shared about a cute coffee shop, while that morning I was praying that I would have the strength to just make it out of bed and through the day. Or the day's my sister and I post a silly selfie while in the background there is all of the paperwork for our living wills and wishes that we worked on all day. 
There are always both high and low moments. Wether they are shared or just experienced they still happen. Pictures are just my way of sharing the joy in my life.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


One thing that keeps flooding my mind over the last couple of days is “I get to”....
For me it’s such an amazing yet humbling thought that "I GET TO" live my life for Christ. That every single day, my feet hit the floor and I know I am a daughter of the King. That I have another day to live and show the amazing love that comes from the Lord. That “I GET TO” experience new things every day becuase HE wanted to bless me and watch the smile they bring.

That He has given me talents to use for HIS glory and "I GET TO" use them when HE gives the opportunities.
Now I could go on forever on how we "GET TO" live for Christ on positives. But what about the times life hits? The times of crises, of hurt, of loneliness, and so many more situations we go through.
Changing the perspective to “the Lord loves me enough that I "GET TO" go through this time of loneliness, Becuase while I may not have many people I am finding the need to dig deeper in the word and grow closer to my loving savior.”
That “I GET TO” go through this life, experiencing both joy and sorrow knowing that I have the amazing love of the Lord.
There are so many that don’t.
I cannot imagine going through life without knowing I’m in the hands of my creator. But people do!!! So many. My heart burns for them. Which brings me to my favorite .. “I GET TO” tell the world of the unconditional love of Christ!!!!
How amazing is that!? 

If you know the Lord; YOU CAN TOO!! Why should we keep something so amazing to ourselves?
That is one of my biggest prayers, “Lord please don’t let me take advantage of even ONE day.. Show me how I can share your beautiful name in some way today.”

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