Thursday, October 12, 2017

Habakkuk, Alex Kennedy

Alex Kennedy

See the depth of frustration because He calls God intimately (YHWH).
Our doubt never surprises the Lord.
Our faith grows stronger when we state our frustrations.

There is a big difference between disciplining those He loves and the judgment He would bring to the Babylonians because of their rebellion.

3 things to learn from Habakkuk:
1.  God is always working.
     You think I don't see or hear, and that I have forgotten, but God is always working for good.
     God is always at work to bring about His purposes.
     I believe that you are working even when we rest. God is always working to advance His kingdom agenda.

2.  If you believe I am at work, then walk in faith.
     Trust HIM daily.  I don't understand but I trust you.

3.  God is still on the throne.
      Stop telling God how to run the world, sit in silence and listen.

Habakkuk ends with a prayer of thanksgiving.

Life in the Storm, Greg Matte

Life in the Storm - Greg Matte
Based on Matthew 8

vs 23: We can be walking in obedience and still get swamped.
Note Jesus said to follow him they were going to the other side and the disciples followed Him.
Jesus led them into the storm.
We can be following Christ and still end up in the storm.

His presence is our Hope in the storm. Jesus is always the place of rest.

Jesus leads us into, through and out of the storm.

In the storm, you need to know that you will get through it.

vs 24 Suddenly - it was unexpected and surprising to the disciples.
Storms are NOT always a result of bad decisions.

Why was Jesus asleep?
So the disciples would have to use what they know. It was an opportunity to show their faith.  Walk in what you've been taught for years.
If faith is based on feelings you'll never go anywhere in faith.
When you don't feel it and feels like Jesus is asleep, He's still there.

What can we do?
1.  Have Faith! God will take you through.
     If Jesus said you are going to the other side, you are going to the other side.

2.  Cry out in Humility
     You must be humble before you can be strong.  Say I need you.

3. Trust in His power, not in your own power.
     The calm came when Jesus stood up.

4. Be amazed by what He can do.
    Don't miss the blessing (and not in a health, wealth, prosperity kind of way)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Post Texas Visit....

This is written not as a woe as me, but for me to remember what all we went through, to remember that God is faithful and as a bit of therapy to express some feelings.

Coming back from Texas was hard, very hard.  Harder than I could have imagined.  Not only was I faced with my loneliness, Houston faced the worst flood in history under the guise of Hurricane Harvey. Friends I knew were losing all of their earthly possessions under a 4 day time frame of 50" of rain. We watched from afar, feeling helpless, wanting to be there. I felt guilty for not being there. I felt guilty that I was here and couldn't help.  I felt guilty because I felt like I was in a storm too that no one could see and I felt like my storm was nothing compared to what they were going to.

However, we can't compare circumstances and my situation has been hard in a different sense and is no less a storm, even though it didn't manifest itself in a physical storm. I am still grieving the loss of the majority of my stuff sitting in storage in Texas.  While I know I can have it back someday, I don't have a house or a home to go to and the one that is here is filled with furniture that is borrowed or that I have purchased inexpensively here. It doesn't feel like home. The lack of being able to put things on the walls makes the place feel sterile at times.

For the two weeks after I returned, I cried In that time, outside of my family, I didn't see anyone socially. Dark. Lonely. Depressing.  It still is. I have not been able to find my place here and am struggling with that.

We have had one thing after another happen since my burn incident. The lastest few: the downstairs floor was buckling only to find out as the plumber would say, "it's not what is leaaking, it is what isn't." The side of my bathtub and a few holes in the wall later and the leaks are stopped. The downstairs is awful looking though. thankful the water didn't ruin anything.

The electricity in our house has been spotty in the kitchen at best.  After the 4th trip from the electrician, he found exposed wiring in the lights  Nice. Thankful the house hasn't caught on fire.

Yesterday, I turned my ankle running. My only outlet, gone for a few weeks.  I screamed in pain as I went down and through the tears all I could think is I have nothing left to give up here.  My home, my friends, my church and now my running.  It's tough.

BUT God (isn't that how all things turn around in Scripture BUT God....BUT God in His great love, BUT God...) and that is what I have to remember BUT God is still here. BUT God is still faithful. BUT God is still working no matter what.  Interestingly enough I have been reading and listening to podcasts and that is the message, God is up to something and that at His command the storm will be still (don't think I haven't been begging for Jesus to stand up in my boat and say, "Peace, be still.")

I'm going to post a few entries after this one of sermon notes, notes from books so I can remember what to do in a storm, the encouragement I received and that when our feelings overwhelm us the fact remains.... God is in control even when it seems like He is asleep in the boat.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Solent Half Marathon

It's fall, it's a pretty day, there's a part of England to explore by foot, so I do what I!  The family and I took the opportunity to be a part of a half marathon that was over in Fawley, close to where Jamison works. I guess I should clarify, I thought it would be a good idea to run and the rest came along to do their support crew roles. I love for them to come and they enjoy it as well. Mainly I think they tolerate it because it usually means donuts with dad while they are waiting.

Not this time....there was a children's 800 race that was also going on.  For a pound we signed all three up and they ran while I ran. Thanks J for supporting all of our craziness.  Grayson came in 1st, Hope 4th and Michaela 6th. Mom's proud.

I on the other hand felt a bit nauseous at the start of the race, went out a bit to hard and end up really nauseous at mile 4. I started to run as much of a mile/mile and a half and then walk for a bit.  

The course was gorgeous - through the forest, down by the beach and back uphill to the plant.  I was told that the course was "flat." Ha! Since my comparison is Houston, nothing around here is flat. The last 4 miles of the course were uphill. I struggled. My time does not reflect how much I struggled. There is always next year!  I came in at 1:43 (about 4-6 minutes off my goal). 

Sweet Hope ran the last part of the course with me to the finish line!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

En Garde!

Last summer when we told the children that we were moving to England, Grayson announced that he was going to learn to fence. In his mind, that was a very British thing to do. It took some time to adjust to the routine of school and to who goes where, when and more importantly, how do I get them there without getting lost? (Well, that's still a problem as I still miss turns all the time.  The roundabouts and the lack of exits on motorways is killing me).

We did find Southampton Epee club and gave Grayson a 6 week trial on fencing. He took to it; he absolutely loves it.  He spends many afternoons practicing his moves around the house. Ground rules - no fencing in the kitchen. We've already had one person catch on fire, don't need another incident.

Grayson - here's to your bucket list while we are living here!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Back to School

It's that time...back to school. This year Grayson moved up to the Senior School and with that came a new uniform. Doesn't he look handsome? Love the coat and tie (a real tie).  We dropped the ball and forgot to teach him how to tie it before that morning.  I hear early in the morning, "Dad, I need help..."

So here they are Grayson (year 6), Hope (year 4) and Michaela (year 2)

Just two days after the start of school, Michaela had knights and princesses day as that is the theme of this semester. A "real" knight came in to talk to them. I was shocked she picked a princess dress. Her best bud, Zoe, came as a dragon because like Michaela, doesn't like dresses. I'm shocked Michaela didn't think of that. It also showed me why they are such great friends.

This semester they get to go to Windsor Castle and Arundel Castle. Great field trips!

Of course she came home from school and said, "I am the queen."  Perhaps that is why she chose to be a princess, so that one day she could be in charge.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Paris Museums

 Our last half day in Paris we spent doing a whirlwind tour of the Louvre and of the Museum Orsay (impressionistic paintings).  We followed the Rick Steves guide to hit the highlights, but mostly the kids wanted to see the Mona Lisa.  Grayson tooks tons of photos of Greek and Roman statues, but I can't remember what they were now. We also had a first hand look at some French crown jewels.

Venus de Milo

Winged Victory at Samorthrace

The only reason Michaela was tolerating the museum, the featured attraction:

As with all coutries, we make it a point to find and try some local chocolate. Just outside the Louvre we came across this chocolate shop. The children had trouble making up their mind. It all looked delectable.  They voted this a close second, but so far Belgium wins with the best chocolate.

Jamison ordered me some hot chocolate. It was not cheap and I balked about it. I owe him a huge apology. I am pretty sure this is the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted!

It was a beautiful day outside and since we knew we were returning to the rain, we decided to walk to the next museum.

The Orsay Museum was in an old train station on the other side of the River Seine.

Water Lilies - Monet

Fascination with the Night - Van Gogh
Poor Hope - her lips were so chapped that it hurt to smile. Her face here looks like she is a model for one of the paintings in the museum.

Last but not least, the Olympics are coming to Paris in 2024.  I loved the signs that were hanging everywhere, a little art in and of itself. If you glance at it, the symbol appears to be an Eiffel tower. Look closer and you'll see a 24 making that image.

We barely scratched the surface of these two museums and there were many more museums to see.  Until we meet again...
Au Revoir, Paris!