Thursday, July 31, 2008

Soul Stirring Quotes

From my Set Apart notebook...may they light a fire in all of us

"What is the secret to great living?
Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts."
~ Amy Carmichael

"What does it mean to be a Christian?
Your life is hid with Christ; you are not your own. You have no time of your own; no money of your own; Christ must become your complete Master."
~ Leonard Ravenhill

"Those who catch the vision are ready to follow the Lamb wherever He leads, and as they follow, in this spirit of joyful adventure, their path becomes clear before them and they are given power to fulfill their high calling. They are those who have the courage to break through conventionalities, who care not at all what the world thinks of them, because they are entirely taken up with the tremendous reality of Christ."
~ Amy Carmichael

"There is no power like that of prevailing prayer - of Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heartbroekn with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat of blood. Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God."
~ Samuel Chadwick

"Our praying needs to be pressed and pursued with an energy that never tires, a dpersistency which will not be denied, and a courage that never fails."
~ E.M. Bounds

"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. Poverty-stricken as the Church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. In the matter of New Testament, Spirit-inspired, hell-shaking, world-breaking power, never has so much been left to so few. For this kind of prayer there is no substitue. We do it - or we die!"
~ Leonard Ravenhill

"Don't pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it."
~ Corrie ten Boom

"Jesus never came and said, "I love you." He didn't say it - He showed it. He didn't just bless us - He died for us. He wept for us. He gave up His life for you, and now He is asking you to share everything He has given you with others."
~ Jackie Pullenger

"We are the Body of Christ. We are His hands and feet. What do Christ's hands and feet do? They bind wounds. They offer forgiveness. They set captives free. They heal the sick. They minister to children. They seek out the sinner. They drive out evil form the temple of God. They walk the road to Calvary. And they are pierced through that we might be saved."
~ Leslie Ludy

Set Apart for the Lord

This past weekend was truly a mountain-top experience - both literally and spiritually speaking! I am so grateful for the Lord's leading to go to the Set Apart Girl weekend in Colorado with the Ludys. It was a time of delightful fellowship, much-needed refreshing, and convicting challenge to the core of my soul.

The fourteen other young women who attended the retreat were a wonderful group of companions from all walks of life with whom to share the experience. Though personalities, family/educational backgrounds, and current life pursuits were diverse, we were unified in our desire to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and live a poured-out life for Christ. One of the richest blessings from the weekend was the fact that every single conversation with these girls, without exception, revolved around the Lord Jesus. Shallow and meaningless small talk just didn't exist! I love talking about the Lord and was so delighted to unite with others who do too! :)
Set Apart Girls 2008

Here's a quick overview of what the weekend contained:
Friday evening - Pizza dinner followed by discipleship session with Eric at the church (DYNAMIC!)

Saturday - Teaching from Leslie 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. followed by a prayer session until 11:30 p.m. (throughout the day we had opportunity for fellowship over meal breaks and then enjoyed an afternoon excursion to the local coffee shop)

Sunday - Ministry update by Eric, group pictures, book signings by the Ludys.
Afternoon excursion to a park in the mountains for quiet time with the Lord, and then fellowship time in Estes Park.
Church service in the evening - more dynamic preaching by Ben Davenport, Eric's co-pastor.

Monday - fellowship at Annie's house (event coordinator) and opportunity to share what God taught us from the retreat.

God has used this retreat to teach me many important lessons, to deepen convictions, and to draw me closer to His heart. I have tried to type out a summary here of what He's doing in my heart and the inspiration He gave at the retreat, but I can't seem to encase His Spirit's lessons in the right words at this moment.

Suffice it to say that committed prayer is an area I'm striving to answer His call to while waiting for His leading regarding the future steps of my life. My eyes were opened to incredible needs that exist right now beyond America regarding poor, orphaned, and destitue children and young women. I don't know yet how exactly God wants me to be the hands and feet of Christ to these precious "least ones", but I do know that He wanted me to hear and see these needs for a reason.

As we were challenged to live radical, poured out lives for the Lord, holding nothing back from service to Him, eternity was stamped even more deeply on my heart. I am more grateful than ever to Jesus for His rescue of my life from the destitution of sin, and I'm ready to answer His call to go and do likewise.

I had a lot of fun with my new camera on the trip and hope you enjoy all the pictures!
Eric and Leslie

The cutest yellow house in Windsor!

A truly Christ-filled home
The view of the mountains from the Ludys' yard...beautiful

Hudson (3) and Harper (1) - the Ludys' adorable children

The cozy living room where we enjoyed our breaks

Leslie's studio where our Set Apart Girl sessions were held

My table

The friends at my table :)

Daisies - a reminder of God's love

Leslie - a passionate lover of Jesus Christ and teacher of His ways

Listening attentively...

Afternoon break at Loodles - the winsome coffee shop Eric's brother started where he combines his humorous art work with delicious beverages and stimulating books.

Loodles was definitely the cutest coffe shop I've ever been in!

Gathering around for our drinks. I had my first ever iced chai - and it was scrumptious!

The eloquent Eric Ludy

With Leslie and Harper

Isn't Harper adorable? Eric and Leslie adopted her from Korea last summer.

Heading to Estes Park

Beautiful mountain stream

My quiet nook at a nature park where I met with the Lord

Welcome to Estes!

Stanley Village in Estes Park

My lunch :-)

More lovely scenery

The historic Stanley Hotel

View from inside the hotel lobby

Quaint elegance

Quite the historic piano!

Time for a souvenir :)

Yay for chocolate and friends!

Can you tell I love the mountains???

Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful trip!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Set Apart Girl Weekend

One of my favorite verses in Scripture says, "Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (Psalm 37:4)

Over the past 9 years that I have been a Christian, I have seen the truth of this verse proven over and over again.

One of the desires of my heart for awhile now has been the opportunity to attend an "Authentic Girl" weekend retreat in Colorado led by Leslie Ludy. Eric and Leslie Ludy are among my favorite authors and spiritual heroes, having been used greatly by God to stir within me an ever-deepening longing to love Christ and walk intimately with Him. This year, Leslie is diving even deeper into the call of God upon a young woman's life with a new kind of retreat entitled Set Apart Girl.

Less than two months ago, as I was sitting in my room spending time with the Lord, His gentle whisper spoke to my heart saying, "I want you to go to that retreat." Immediately, my response was, "Oh, but Lord, even though You know how I'd love to attend, I can't afford it!" In reply, He said, "Don't worry about the money. I'll take care of it. I want you to attend the retreat."

Later that day, I typed in to see if any of the retreats scheduled for this summer contained any remaining slots. Three out of four summer weekends were full; the one remaining said it had 5 openings left. So, I emailed the event coordinator asking if these 5 slots were taken yet. Her reply came back that afternoon - "We have one slot left. Would you like me to hold it for you?"

Suffice it to say, I was amazed. God used this circumstance to confirm to me His leading. After discussing the opportunity with my parents and receiving their blessing, I registered for the July 25-26 retreat.

And so, the time is at hand, and I am excited! Tomorrow I depart for Colorado where I'll spend the weekend with the Lord, with fellow set apart girls, and with the Ludys. Knowing that the Lord is the One who is taking me there, I am full of anticipation to learn of Him and seek His face.

The timing of this retreat is perfect. As I come away from long, busy days nannying little ones, my spirit is thirsty for refreshment in the presence of my Savior and His precious saints.

If you think of it, I would so appreciate prayers for safe travel with no weather problems (had enough of that in Atlanta!), and that God would draw me closer to Him. Thank you!
I'll be sure to give a full report of my experiences next week as time permits.

"When Thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek."
Psalm 27:8

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Insights From a Busy Nanny

My car has become a wonderful place to meet with the Lord for a morning quiet time as I drive an hour to work each morning.

Writing a menu at the beginning of the week to map out all the meals Mon.-Fri. is absolutely essential to my sanity.

Finding the balance between being child-oriented and task-oriented is a challange I long to conquer.

Babies produce dirty diapers more often than wet ones.

The value of "free time" has suddenly increased tremendously.

Five-year-olds can be incredibly adorable.

Picky eaters take a long time to cure.

"Tina" is a name I now answer to...and smile every time I hear it spoken from a certain two-year-old's mouth.

Car windows should always be rolled up when it looks like rain.

Taking care of young children is one of the best ways to learn patience.

People who say mothers have no life have no idea what motherhood is all about.

God's grace is truly sufficient for all things.

There's no place like home - especially at the end of a busy day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Miracles in Atlanta

It was Sunday, July 13.
The day after the Virginia Maiden's Quest had ended.
The day before Katelin was to depart for Ukraine.

We boarded our flight in Richmond, VA, all set for several hours of travel, followed by a big Sunday afternoon nap in our own beds.

As we neared the Atlanta airport, where we were to make a connecting flight home, the captain's voice crackled into the loudspeaker, explaining that the airport in Atlanta was shut down due to area thunderstorms. We had been circling in the air, waiting for it to re-open, but since we were running out of gas, it was necessary to refuel at a tiny airport 75 miles away.

No problem. I had an intruiging book in hand, and therefore, didn't think much about being slightly delayed. We had a two-hour layover in Atlanta. I was pretty sure we'd still make our flight.

The minutes ticked by.
At long last, our plane was fueled up and the Atlanta airport was ready to receive us.
I finished the last page of my novel by the time we touched down in Atlanta and checked my watch. 2:30 p.m. Our flight was supposed to depart for Houston at 2:34 p.m. Hmmm... It didn't look like we'd make it - unless the next flight had also been delayed.

As Katelin and I manuevered our way off the plane, into the airport, and over to the nearest moniters, we could only gaze around in utter amazement at the sweeping mass of people swarming in all directions. The main aisle was clogged with a jostling crowd of humanity walking to various gates and concourses. Every chair at every gate was occupied. People lined the walls sitting, standing, lounging. Food and bathroom lines were the longest I'd ever seen. There must have been thousands upon thousands of people everywhere.

Checking our flight status on the moniters, we were relieved to see that we hadn't missed our flight to Houston after all! It, too, had been delayed 3 more hours. Fine. That gave us time to eat an early dinner at a leisurely pace. After a delicious meal at Wendy's, we checked our flight again and saw we'd been delayed another hour. Now, we were scheduled to leave Atlanta around 6:30 p.m. So much for an afternoon nap!

With plenty of time on our hands, we split ways. I headed to the bookstore to browse for several hours while Katelin tried to find a semi-quiet spot in which to make several phone calls. Some time later, at about 5:00, my cell phone rang. It was my dad. He told me that according to our airline's website, our Houston flight had been completely cancelled for the day. Uh-oh. Not good. He advised me to find out what was going on and if there was any way we could get a different flight home. Right.

Quickly locating Katelin, I explained the issue at hand and we dashed off for our gate. Along the way, we noticed that our airline's customer service line was literally half a mile long. Sensing that it might be important to be in that line, I stationed Katelin there while I hurriedly walked the remaining distance to our gate.

After waiting in a short but slow line to be helpd, I learned from the man behind the counter that our flight had indeed been cancelled. He sent me to a different gate for "processing." I hoped this meant that we'd be given a different flight home.

While I stood in line behind about 20 people waiting to be "processed, " my Dad and I kept up intermittant communication via cell phone. He was doubtful that we'd be able to make another flight home on that airline, so he had begun an internet search for tickets on any other airline flying to Houston. I was 3 people away from the counter when Dad called saying he had found 6 tickets left on a Continental flight. They cost $341 each. Did we want them?

Gulp. That seemed an unnessecary expense to me, after we had already paid that amount for the original tickets. I was sure the airline representative I was about to speak to behind the counter would be able to provide a just resolution to our problem. My dad said to call the minute I learned something, so he could purchase the tickets if necessary.

Finally, it was my turn to be "processed." After waiting over an hour in line, I learned that no more flights would be departing for Houston until Tuesday.
"Tuesday???" I asked incredulously. Yes, Tuesday.
"Otherwise, I can offer to fly you to another city," the representative explained.
I told the ticket agent that we could get tickets home on Continental that night; but I wanted to know if Airtran would refund the money of our cancelled flight.
"You'll have to call Reservations to find that out," he said. "Or visit the Rebooking station over there." I looked over my shoulder to where he pointed, agreed to give it a try, and set off for the next long line. On the way, I called my dad and told him that we did indeed need those tickets on Contintental.

"It's too late," he said. "They've already been purchased."
Oh dear. I shouldn't have been surprised. Every other person around me was on their computer or telephone making travel adjustments. It would seem any available ticket out there was being snatched up as fast as hotcakes. "I'll keep working on something," Dad said.
Meanwhile, Katelin was still in the line for Customer Service, slowly inching her way up to the desk and making friends with everyone in line around her.

For another hour, I waited at the rebooking station. Just as I was about to talk to the representative, my dad called again. "I've purchased two tickets on a different Continental flight for you and Katelin," he said. "It will leave at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I've also made arrangments for you at a nearby hotel. The shuttle will pick you up outside." It was a relief to know that at least we had a flight home. Even though it was for Monday morning, the day Katelin needed to leave for Ukraine, it was better than Tuesday! However, I still wanted to know what Airtran was going to do about our cancelled ticket that we had spent good money on.

When it was my turn, I posed the question only to learn that I'd have to call Reservations to find out! Urgghh. "Okay, fine. What about our bags? We have to leave tomorrow morning on Continental. How can we get our bags?" I inquired.
"Check for them downstairs at baggage," the man slowly drawled.

I dragged my tired feet across the hall to where Katelin was at the head of the Customer Service line after having waited for 3 hours, and explained the situation. "Well, let's just see if we can learn anything here," she whispered. "Lots of people have been making flights or been given refunds." I totally agreed that it was worth a try - especially after she had waited so long to be at the point of receiving help!

We walked together up to the counter where we were greeted by a friendly woman. "Our flight to Houston got cancelled," I began, "and there's no more flights leaving for Houston until Tuesday. But my sister has to leave tomorrow on an international flight, and I've got to get her home in time!"
I wonder if the woman could read the desperation on my face. I was about to explain that we had seats on a Continental flight home but wanted to know about a refund, when she stopped me with a wave of her hand.
"Hold on just a second. Let me do some checking," she said.

And so we waited while she banged away on her keyboard. A tiny flame of hope began to flicker inside me. Maybe, just maybe...

The next thing I knew, the lady was printing out boarding passes and handing them to us with the words, "There's more bad weather scheduled to come in tonight, and I'd hate for you to miss your international flight tomorrow. Here's seats on a flight leaving for Houston right now. You'll have to hurry to the gate. You won't be sitting together and you won't have your bags on the flight, but at least you'll get home."
Undescribable relief flooded my heart. "Thank you SO much!" we exclaimed. "Bless you, bless you, bless you!" She smiled knowingly.

We took off running to our gate, while I explained the situation to Dad over the phone in a few hurried sentences. He seemed convinced he could cancel the tickets and hotel arrangments he had made and said, "You just get on that flight!" At 8:00 p.m. we were actually seated on a flight to Houston! I was still reeling from all that had transpired throughout the long afternoon. Katelin, meanwhile, began to make a list of all the things in her luggage that she was planning on taking with her to Ukraine that she'd now have to re-purchase or do without.

It was another hour before we took off, since we had to wait on a flight attendant to come from a plane still out on the runway! And it was two more hours before we were actually in Houston hugging our grateful and relieved parents. :)

Deciding there was a slim possibility that our luggage just might have made it onto the flight with us, we waited at the baggage carosel, inspecting all the suitcases that glided past while filling our parents in on all the glorious details of the Maiden's Quest retreat. After an hour of waiting and watching, to no avail, we decided we'd have to make arrangments to have our luggage mailed to us eventually, so we set off to find the Airtran baggage office.

Nobody was there. But the room was crammed full of suitcases. Could ours possibly...?
Dad scanned it quickly. Nothing.
Katelin stepped in and began hunting through the bags.
"Here's one!" she shouted gleefully!
Really? It was almost too much to hope for!
"And here's another one!"
Before long, all 4 of our suitcases had been located in the piles.
I was convinced they had been transported via angel's wings.

We got to bed at midnight that night. Katelin left for Ukraine at 3:30 p.m. the next day for her two-month mission excursion.

The moral of this story is that God is still in the miracle-working business.
There is just no other way to describe our experience that long day except for the miraculous working of our loving Heavenly Father.

May His Name be forever praised.
Amen and amen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Report on Virginia Maiden's Quest Retreat

There's so much to share from our wonderful trip to Virginia last week! It was a special time of reunion with friends, ministry to young ladies, and basking in the beauty of God's creation. Here's a day-by-day description of all that happened, complete with the lovely pictures my sister took!

Katelin and I flew to Richmond, Virginia, where we were picked up at the airport by our dear friends and retreat hosts, the Sadlers. We had met the Sadlers briefly 3 1/2 years ago at a mother/daughter tea in Virginia and experienced an instant connection. Ever since, I have kept up a steady correspondance with their daughters.
After several years of letter-writing, it was such a blessing to spend time with them in person! What radiant, delightful kindred spirits these precious friends are! Our reunion was a joyous occasion indeed.
The Sadler Family
(L-R) Steven (Mr. Sadler), Lila (9), Ellery (12), Leslie (Mrs. Sadler), Mia (6), Brittany (17), Hailey (15)

The following pictures give a glimpse of the lovely countryside surrounding the Sadlers' property in Gloucester where we were privileged to stay for five days.
After driving through such gorgous surroundings, we pulled into the Sadlers' driveway and saw...

their beautiful home...
the York river flowing at the edge of the backyard...

and the charming "pool house" where our MQ team stayed!

They did so much to make us feel so welcome!
We decided we had arrived at the official Maiden's Quest resort. :-)

Friends together again!

After dinner at the "big house" that evening, all the girls came back to the pool house with us for ice cream!

One of many beautiful sunsets


After morning exercise, we started our day off together with an official MQ pow-wow, determining which projects had yet to be attended and what the order of events would need to be.

Then, we spent time in prayer for the retreat.

Meanwhile, the tent crew arrived and began to set up.

The Sadler daughters proved to be a wonderful work team!

They helped with banquet details,

ironing for Katelin's table decor/napkin-folding class,

chair set-up, and countless other details!
So many helpers made for quick work!

Tara, Kelly, and Elizabeth arrived that afternoon causing the Maiden's Quest team to be altogether again for the first time since the Dallas retreat!

Since most of our work for the day was complete, and the sunshine just beckoned, we had a blast swimming together that afternoon.

Goofy girls :)

After a delicious dinner out at a Thai restaurant that evening, everyone joined together around the Sadler's kitchen table to work on final preparations for the retreat. We sang while we worked and had such fun praising the Lord together!

Stuffing folders...

Rolling silverware...

Kelly helping the little ones tie bows with pretty ribbon.


The first day of the retreat dawned clear and bright! After months of prayer for beautiful weather and a cool breeze it was such a thrill to experience the Lord's specific answer to that specific prayer. We couldn't have asked for better weather! And the breeze made the summer temperatures very bearable. He truly does all things well!

70 chairs ready to go

Beautiful flowers to grace the tables

The picturesque "banquet hall" :)

Serving lines inside the pool house

This is the one lone picture I have of the actual retreat in full swing. The rest were taken by Kelly, our resident photographer, and turned out beautifully! (Those will eventually be posted to our Maiden's Quest website.)

Because of the Lord's great goodness, the retreat went wonderfully well! He answered so many prayers to make this retreat possible. He blessed everyone with safety in travel over many miles of road. (One family drove all the way from Massachusets!) He allowed all our electronic equipment to run perfectly without a glitch and He caused the whole weekend to run as smoothly as possible without one hurdle to jump over!

The girls who attended seemed to enjoy the whole event tremendously and many came to us throughout the retreat to tell us how encouraged they were in their walk with the Lord. I think many feel alone in the beliefs they hold and the paths they have chosen, so the fellowship and encouraging messages was just what they needed.

May the Lord's name be praised!

After the retreat was over on Saturday evening, Mr. Sadler took us out on his boat and we had a blast tubing down the river! It was the perfect way to end such a wonderful weekend together.

All of us girls at the end of the day

I am so grateful to the Lord for the gift of such a week in Virginia with such dear, dear friends. Saying goodbye was hard. The memories of our time together are ones that I will cherish forever. And the opportunity to minister the encouragement of Jesus to such precious young ladies was a joy.

I have come away from our time in Virginia so refreshed by the Lord. Throughout the whole experience, I felt the sunshine of His love poured out abundantly, and again learned the truth of the verse, "He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think - to Him be glory."