Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts


Midnight Pondering | Personal

(rooftop of The Messenger coffeehouse, Kansas City... there’s something to being able to overlook a whole city lit up under cover of night. Isn’t it beautiful?)

“Jesus didn’t need to be told, for he already knew what was in the heart of man

I just read this in the book of John the other night before heading to bed, and it hit me like a stone.  

Before I say what’s on my heart, 

He knows.  

Before I know what’s on the heart of my peers, He knows.  

Before I find out what tomorrow holds, what it doesn’t hold that I beforehand expect (can I get a witness?), yes... in my travels, in work changes, the curves or bends in relationships... He knows.  

When I’m hurt by another’s weakness, when my own requires an apology: He knows, and He knew when I didn’t.

What makes my life complete, whole, SET APART from the “old” man I would be, the dead man I would be, the joyless, peace-less, purposeless, strength-less woman I would be: 

It’s that at all times, HE KNOWS.

It’s part of the grand adventure of the Christian life: that we’re not always in the know! Jesus knew; God knows.  Both when I do myself, and when I don’t. There’s no more hiding, when in the light of His greatness you realize there’s nothing to hide - it’s all already seen.  There’s less surprise at turns of events, because we know who’s at the helm and who has been standing there all along with sure footing.  There’s no more dismay when one is in question, because He knows already and wants to be sought!

Ah to live THIS life!! The life in which He — the Captain of our hearts — knows, and we love living that way.  Dependent, not always in the know... and in this, at rest and exceedingly happy.

He is sovereign, and He is indeed sufficient.

Sunday afternoon exploring is so much fun with this girl! We may be 14 years apart — but it’s such a gift 🎁 

<3 Anna


a Time for All Things | Personal

what do Disney braids and spring 2020 have in common? ❄️☀️ 

We're currently living in a new world of clever memes, hand sanitizer sales, and talk of how to keep our elderly populations safe.
 Our conversations with the sales clerk have suddenly shifted overnight from the week's plans into the inspiration behind her homemade face mask.
 No matter the opinions we have on the virus, the stats, or how the world is responding to them:

it's 2020, and we're all walking the same earth for it.

Though one should not take light the fact of human life being cut short when prevention was possible, national shut ins are no small thing. A thought hit me the other day as the girls and I spent another afternoon of the stay at home order replicating hairstyles from youtube how-to's.  (After which, Gracie brought me ordinary dandelions from the foggy-rain drenched outdoors to finish it off)

My thought?
What if we saw unexpected turns of events (um hello, covid-19) as being all carefully wound up into our beautiful future we wouldn’t have the creativity to replicate with our own human thinking 
+ timing 
+ ways of going about these days that make up our lives...?

and with the gentle twists of schedule changes, job cuts, and “missed” opportunities (that don’t seem so gentle in the moment), 
tight ends of world news that we hear and filter through a renewed mind, 
and dainty flower heads of everyday but often unseen opportunities peppering as a last touch? 

Upon seeing the creation of my life tied in completion, in all its imperfect glory (because I was filled with a greater glory ), 

with all its perfectly placed strands such as weeks of Elsa braids and sprinklers and early morning park walks - I really don’t think I’ll complain one bit. 

What if we saw this as it is, now instead of later?

I want to see these interruptions as they already are: not the nuisances that keep me from the fullness of life, 
but the VERY pieces that intertwined by hands of love make my life 
not only full, 
not only meaningful... 

but on top of it all, 

make my life beautiful 🤍

God has a niche for doing glorious things with the impossible.

and the unexpected.

<3 Anna


2019: Saying goodbye to the last year of the past decade | Personal

Summaries are not my forte.
I think it all lies in the fact that to do so with a year is to withstand the temptation to not conclude at all and just recount everything!

I used to take the God sized dreams phrases lightly... but it’s something I now more than ever am awed by as I experience God shape desires that are bigger than I, plant 🌱 and bring to fruition delightful growth in my life I wouldn’t, frankly, think up on my own in the first place. The Lord does indeed work in ways that are not only higher, but just plain, well... 


from our own. 

Spring was so full of vivid goodness, yet tough, terribly good change. God’s kindness is so real and when we allow it, transforming 😭😍  Lakeside walks and amazing conversations on adulting + life with good friends, road tripping down south to a Texas wedding with a few of my favs (Galveston, we didn’t get to know you long enough), flying out from Chicago to Hong Kong to visit dear, hospitable people April-May.  I wish I could share photos; the 17+ hour flight was far more than worthwhile.  This was a childhood hope come to life, and I couldn’t do less than to drink deep of the tenderness of God’s heart in His fulfilling of even small things such as this!
Summer brought aunting privileges, and a full few months of everything else under the sun... nighttime volleyball and sand castles, the Hiding Place with sweet friends, 3AM Chinese class video calls, and guarding vehicle seats in a parking lot until help arrived.  Yes, true story. 

Ended the year with sooo many weddings (Texas, Virginia, Kansas, Missouri.  No kidding.  But God’s stories?  They’re the best. Also topped the year off with the most airport check ins I’ll probably ever be able to “pack” into one, along with missed flights and naps in these said airports), bachelorette parties, and more fellowship + sister dates.  How sweet is friendship, be old or new

These past few years have taken me where I haven’t expected to go, and they’ve filled me in ways I’d not know to ask to be filled.  Learning strength in weakness.  Learning a journey is made alone and yet in fellowship + friendship at the same time.  Learning I serve a holy God who loves me without an ounce of effort other than to receive, a God who breathes not only life into our lungs but desires into our hearts and then in ways only He might at first deem best, fits them perfectly into the crevices of the purposes He had built with His own heart... long before they met ours. A God who satisfies our soul, floods them with His favor as every waterfall was created to imitate, and yet in the sorrows, sufferings, disappointments and failings of daily pilgrimage allows that tug at our strings every morning we wake for the world we’re destined for.  A longing that Christ Himself bore, and we also will until satisfied with His very presence in that place.

I never imagined single years could be so rich, and yet here I am with so much humbled gratitude.  I’m so excited for another new year to learn what I don’t know yet I have to learn... my prayers for 2019 were answered above and beyond, and I can’t wait to watch unfold His plans for a new year.  Here’s to His making US new in the process; here’s to viewing the love of the Lord this year as if it were the low winter sun outside my windows, in pale colors sliding beneath the outstretched Missouri fields only to rise all. over. again. the next morning.  Constant, shining over my world when its glowing in all its glory and when its seemingly hidden, but in reality doing the same on the other side of the globe 🤩

<3 Anna

“Sometimes God asks us to step out, or step through.  We don’t know what we’ll see until we go through the deluge.  It’s Scary to step into the unknown, 

but it’s also where we find Jesus.

And wherever we find Jesus,
we find life.

Fear calls out our doubts.  God calls out our names.”
Bob Goff


mmhm, Oklahoma Island | Personal

foggy mornings.
pastel evenings.
seabirds. 🌊

My family's summer getaways usually contain lots of chatting and sightseeing and activity, but there are times of quiet “nothingness” when we just partake in the world around us together, silently. It’s been said that days can run ahead of your desired pace so quickly they resemble pearls slipping from a broken strand of necklace... one by one, following each other with no keeping them in tact. Here, mornings with a sister or brother and our warm mugs on the dock, my mind wandered to how days are really more like lake ripples. Created, one by one. They roll, they taper off into the great unknown, and no longer are they known for just themselves — but that ripple is not lost. The ripple caused another, becoming a wave that will interrupt any stagnancy threatening life to thrive underneath its surface. Looking out into that Great Unknown, full of majesty, full of movement and yet also tranquility...

you can see that one single ripple

now lost of itself (though far from lost),

owned a role that was lasting indeed. and so our days? our temporary but beautiful seasons? 

one at a time, they too, become a part of God’s grander sea 😍

<3 Anna

and now fuzzy phone photos will have to suffice...


life of late | Personal

goodbye, 深圳. ⛩

And like that, back to the states...! My, do believe I’m going to be wrapping my mind around it all for some time. 

I was told by a good friend that coming back my world would appear smaller, by another that it would appear bigger, and I found both of these to be true. The world is smaller in that on opposite sides it homes amazing people I now have met; The world is bigger in that I can see how each of our experiences and our cultures are such an incredibly tiny picture of the whole.

I was struck with the sight of freedoms we don’t consider twice still being fought for elsewhere, but also with the comforting recognition that there is a freedom for hearts so deep it can be shared no matter the language barriers (and let me tell you, when asking ‘how do you do?’ accidentally comes out in the native tongue ‘how do you’, language can become a barrier).

A freedom that is not an overruling of government but is a change of heart, a freedom of good news that cannot be contained, forbidden, imprisoned, or ever be taken away from those who love and hold it dear.

There is so so so much to process and take to heart.  Isn't it interesting how it is often the unpredictable experiences that leave the most lasting impressions on our lives? 💜💛💚

If you ever have the chance, allow yourself the opportunity to share tea with someone who doesn’t speak your language... Without words, volumes are spoken of the meaning of hospitality,
and the value of loving one another as fellow men and women, with needs both of the heart and physical, despite our other differences.

And when you do travel: do it with other Jesus-serving, people-loving people! ALL
the more meaningful and memorable.

<3 Anna


The Music of Life | Personal

"...the music of life lies not in your circumstances or external things 

but in your own soul." 

Excerpt from Sept. 28,Streams in the Desert


Bringing our Best | Personal

Surely one should bring the best she has, whatever that is, to the work of God's world?

For what are they, both of them, the one just as much as the other, but listening to 'what the people will say', to opinion, to the 'voices from without?'  
And as a wise man has said, no one has ever done anything great or useful 
by listening to the voices from without.

And now, you think these things trifles, or at least exaggerated.  
But what you 'think' or what I 'think' matters little.  
Let us see what God thinks of them.  God always justifies His ways.

Oh, go your way straight to God's work, 
in simplicity and singleness of heart.

(Florence Nightingale, Notes on the Field of Nursing)


Christmastime Thoughts | Personal

"Someone tell me I am only dreaming / 

Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes

And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees

Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected / 
So we might know that Love would go that far?

I am not brave, I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is  a vacancy

But I am willing. I am Yours.

I’ll hold you in the beginning, you will hold me in the end...

Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem

Be born in me."

(Fransesca Battistelli)


Reflections on Business, Worship, and How They Fit Together | Personal

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus
(The Heart of Worship)

You know those songs that you heard so many times growing up  (Hillsong's Songs 4 Worship CD's, anyone?), and how there's just no way that they can't be forever ingrained into your childhood memory?  This song is one of them, and this morning I again found myself humming out the chorus as I was getting around for the day.  When I actually got to thinking about the simple, well-known words I had going through my head, I was reminded of why I'm here. WHO I'm living for.  

It's all about you, Jesus.

Why is it that losing sight of that is so easy??

I want my personal life and the interactions I have with others to reflect Someone who's worth reflecting.  But I want all corners of my life to do the same... more than anything I want my home world, business, and everything else life entails to shout Jesus' name.  I want my days as a whole to sing a song of worship to the Lord, whether I'm at the grocery store, doing my studies at home, picking up my camera, or writing an email.  To declare God and His glory because every little thing I do flows from a heart that can't help but worship Him.

Every minute thing we do needs not be anything we "just do".  What if it might become our unique and personal avenues of enjoying and worshiping the Creator of beauty, art, light, our very souls... a way of expressing our adoration for this One.  So even if we're just washing the dishes or running an errand - let it be transformed, by just a change of outlook, into an act of worship remembering the moment by moment presence of One we long to delight!

Well, that's the end of my rant tonight.  Kudos to those of you who read all the way through!!  Try taking a break from the computer and go pull out one of those inspirational "kiddie" songs or stories you used to enjoy... just maybe, you'll find a small gem that will bring you a renewed, more child-like perspective!


"The Lord is risen, indeed!" | Personal

"Our religion is little because our God is little.  Our religion is weak because our God is weak.  Our religion is ignoble because the God we serve is ignoble.  We do not see God as He is.

The Psalmist said, "O magnify the Lord with me" (34:3).  "Magnify" may mean one of two things: "make it look bigger than it is", or "see it as big as it is."  The latter is what "magnify" means as the Psalmist used it.

If you want to examine a very small amount of matter, you put it under a microscope and magnify it to make it look bigger than it is.  But it is impossible to make God look bigger than He is.  When we say "magnify the Lord", we mean try to see God somewhere near as big as He is.

This is what I want to do.  This is what, by His help, I have dedicated myself to." (A.W. Tozer)

I read this in a book a week or two ago, and it came back to me tonight as I was thinking about what we're celebrating this weekend.  Thinking about the many wonderful things that were a result of what took place - the opportunity we each have to experience a second chance and a new life, to walk through each day's trials with a Helper and Friend in our hearts, and the hope of a place in Heaven where we'll be with Him forever.  

To accomplish all that, our God couldn't be a little God.   He couldn't be a weak God.  He couldn't be an ignoble God.  He is all-powerful... powerful enough to become a man in the world His own hands created, powerful enough to bring to life what was dead, and powerful enough to give sinners like me a way out of our darkness and destruction.  He is a powerful and mighty God!  And the GOOD NEWS?  The God who raised the crucified Jesus and defeated death forevermore is the same God who continues to work in our world today and resides in the hearts of those who believe in Him.

This Easter, let's worship our all-powerful and almighty God. Let's take the time to ponder what a great King we serve, and let's try to "see God somewhere as big as He really is"!

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." (Revelations 4:11)


Colorado Skies | Personal


A little later than planned (don't we all love "technical issues"! =), but here's the starry skies I promised in the post about our trip! I haven't experimented with...

A little later than planned (don't we all love "technical issues"! =), but here's the starry skies I promised in the post about our trip! I haven't experimented with night-sky photography much, so when we went to Colorado (and the mountains made for some breathtaking scenery... in case you didn't know ;-) I knew it was the prefect place for me to try it out!  I was SO amazed at how beautiful the skies were every. single. time. the 30-second exposure stopped and a new image appeared onto my LCD screen. Even though the long exposure reeled in more light for the resulting images than you could see with the human eye, it looked just as amazing. I only wish there was a way to capture it all exactly the way it was in person! The open sky so vast and twinkling with starry clusters rolled out above you as far as the eye can see; the low, thin clouds that hovered slowly beneath them; and! to top it all off - the silhouette of mountaintops on the horizon. The perfect backdrop for some experimentation. =)

Being there and experiencing the beauty of Colorado, and even now looking back at these pictures on my computer screen - I am reminded of what an absolutely amazing God I serve. Isn't it enough that He created such wonders for our eyes to behold? That He knows each star by name? But He is so so much more than that. He doesn't change like the clouds do as they move across the sky; He is never-changing, always-constant. He can't be contained like the stars in a galaxy, or be created like His hand created the universe; He has always been, always will be. He isn't subject to the boundaries of nature, night and day, any season; He is omnipresent, able to do anything He wills in any way He wills. And yet... He stoops down low enough to love us. With that love that is indescribable. 

It's kind of like the way you feel when you stand beneath the stars at night out in a wide and open country field here at home in Missouri... or looking out from a window in a cabin atop a mountain in Colorado.

You're speechless.





That big yellow star? Saturn! One of the reasons I made up my mind to get the tripod out and take these. ;-)





This here below is a compilation of 15 photos taken 30 seconds apart. Isn't it crazy to think that the earth is rotating that much in just 7.5 minutes!?


Family Trip 2013 | Personal

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, 
from everlasting to everlasting  you are God."
~ Psalms 90:1,2

We haven't been on a family vacation in a long time (long being 13 years or so ;-). Colorado has been our planned destination for the last few years, and this summer we finally...


A Welcoming to the New Year | 2013

Wow. Is it really 2013? When I think over the past year and look into the next, the first thing that comes to mind is the Lord's great faithfulness. Seasons come and go; we begin to make plans and set goals for the new year, and all the while—year after year—He remains the same. Isn't it amazing that we can serve a God like that? May we each learn to love Him more deeply as we step into this new year—and amidst all of the lists of goals, desire to make knowing Him more our first priority.

Thank you so much to each of you have allowed me the privilege of taking your pictures, as well as those of you who have left comments, written notes, and encouraged me on! 

May God bless each of you with a wonderful 2013.


The Beauty of a Thorn | Personal

The many locust trees on our acreage don't usually make for a very pretty view. ;-) The long, sharp thorns growing along the locust's trunk and branches seem...


A Celebrated Life | Personal

So... we went to a beautiful funeral last week. Seems rather odd to call it beautiful, as a funeral is a sober event, yes? But we were celebrating the life of a beautiful person. She wasn't even yet 30, yet in the time we would say wasn't enough to even leave a legacy--she behind left one that testified such a wonderful picture to many of Christ and His work in her life. 
This brought me to wonder... 

What will those who know me remember about my life when the Lord takes me home? A life full of joyful service, a witness to God's abundant grace and love, or a life that's full of me?

Will I be a life celebrated?

It was indeed a beautiful funeral. 

What a more perfect way to go about celebrating another follower entering heaven to see Jesus face-to-face then to worship the Lord in song praising Him for His goodness!
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