Sunday, July 29, 2007

The foot of the cross...

Ariel blessed my socks off tonight by singing this song...
I love this picture of how apart from God we are nothing, but through Jesus I can stand before the perfect I Am. How did I get here? How did a wretch like me end up in the presence of a King?
In college, Jamie often called me, "God's Trophy of Grace" which always gave me a mental image of how God views me. Because of God's grace, I no longer identify myself as wretched.
This reminds me of Hosea where God renames Hosea's children; *And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People...*
Recently, a friend told me she felt God was calling me, "My Delight"... and I am in awe. How did I get here? What kind of love does God give that He could take me from death to life?

I love the image that everything I made of my life I burnt into ashes... when I was without God, the best I could come up with was ash and dust... my life was nothing. But God took me from the ashes, I lived in, took me and made me new. Took my heart and bound it to His, took my dreams and is changing them to match His... took my life and made it His... took me from ashes to beauty... from death to life... like a flower after the cold frozen winter...

Beauty from ashes... so this song made me realize how blessed I am to be loved by God. I don't deserve His grace, His love, His forgiveness but He lavishes them upon me. So I want to live for Him... and meet with Him... at the foot of the cross.
Enjoy the lyrics...

At the foot of the cross where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me your love through the judgement You received
And You've won my heart
Yes, You've won my heart, now I can
Trade these ashes in for beauty and wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy, I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross
At the foot of the cross where I am made complete
You have given me life through the death You bore for me
And You've won my heart
Yes, You've won my heart, now I can
Trade these ashes in for beauty and wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy, I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A touch of Normal-cy...

On July 25th, just
twenty-eight minutes after midnight,
after making her Mommy and Daddy wait...
at 9 pounds 11 ounces,
with lots of beautiful dark brown hair,
the first baby for Jordan and Rochelle,
finally making her big debut,
I am pleased to introduce you to my niece,

Welcome my dear. We've been waiting....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hey Mom!

Hey Mom, I know you like the "gushy" details (as all us chicas do) so I thought for all my friends out there who are like my Mom and I and want to know more details... click here for Eli's side of the proposal story.

Monday, July 16, 2007

For you my friend

*The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful (friend) who can find?* (pv. 20:5-6)
I remember when I met you for the first time.
Sharing giggles,
sharing ice cream and stories.
Sharing jokes, "I'm a raccoon" and 64 oz. sodas
Rollerblades, Christmastime with your family,
but also moments of weakness.
Giving up was never an option.
And you taught me to love.

We talked about this day. How one day God would bless us.
We talked about love and life and how
sometimes neither make much sense.
Wishes, hopes, and dreams were
a part of our everyday conversation.
Fighting to keep
the friendship God had given us.
Keeping our hands holding
what He holds tightly.
You showed me how to rejoice with those who sing,
and weep with those who hurt.
You always were the first to reach
across the distance
and hold my hand.
You loved me
and love me
through the distance, time, and space.
And now I love you so during this time of rejoicing.
Surely, my heart overflows, for you Katie.
For you my friend
Congratulations to my dear Katie "ducky" Brannan and the man who won her heart, Eli Suddarth.
*He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.*
(pv. 18:22)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

If songs were a love language... it would be mine.

I received one of the best emails yesterday from my brother Jeremy. He sent me an email with a very special attachment. A Song! A Song just for me. It was the second time he has "given me" his feelings through song the first being my high school graduation,
(which Jer, Jord, and Jonah~ I listened to the other day.)
That album is one of my favorite gifts. I remember when I got it, I was so touched and embarassed to have received something so special that I couldn't cry in front of everyone. I went to the bathroom and cried instead. I remember being really scared of high school graduation and "growing up". It was bittersweet and the special gift from my brothers was a testimony to their steadfast and faithful love for me.
Jeremy's song was about the days when we were kids playing on Washington Island. A lot of our childhood was etched in those beaches. There's also a fun bluegrass song that they wrote spur of the moment about me graduating college and making lots of money supposedly to support them all. ha ha! That's hilarious.
Anyway, if you know me or my family or have the pleasure of knowing both~ you know we are pretty serious about our music. So this spontaneous gift from Jeremy is a special message between oldest brother and youngest child and only sister. If you go here you can hear the message he sent me. The lyrics are below. What a fun email, Jeremy. Thanks for sending me this. It was SO special.
Jer, you are the best!! Thanks!
(this picture is not the best of Jeremy's face (right) but I felt it was the best that expresses his personality. He is always "up to" something.) *i began to write you a note,
but i felt the words would need this beat.
it's kind of funny how things end up this way,
music's groovy but there ain't that much to say.
So i thought i'd just take a couple of seconds and tell you that i miss you
and i wish we were together
we're never going to see each other soon,
hope you enjoy this tune
so i guess i'll send you this song,
i've got my feelings in the melody,
i'm going to close now,
and i'll say, "goodbye"*
Leah has an artisy and creative expression in her heart. She has the gift that people (myself) wish we could develop in our lives but it's not something you can get. I feel like Leah's gifts are unique to very few people. She just flows with ideas and life. She has a really special gift.
My adventurous cousin! I love you so much.
Thanks for being YOU, for loving me and for so much more I wish to express but can't with words. Leah, I love this photo... the two pierced cousins together. :) ha ha!

To Bess

My dear Grandmother Eunice Lenora Funk Schupbach!
Happy 39th Birthday! the infamous picture... my grandpa and grandma on their 60th Anniversary!
Last November when I was home for Christmas; I snapped a picture of Jeremy loving on grandma.
Grandma, thank you for all the emails, letters and love you have sent me the past year and a half in Japan. It's been a joy to continue hearing about your life and the latest happenings at 3503 Wegeng.
I love you and I think you are an amazing woman. I can't wait to be in your kitchen again with your bran muffins and mint tea waiting for me. I hope to have a home that welcomes and comforts those that walk through it's doors.
May God continue to bless you as you walk with Him.
I love you more than you'll ever know.
Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The inexpressible...

I had some alone time today. It was good. I "accomplished" one of my life goals; to see a movie by myself and it was fine. Not as bad as I thought but not that spectacular either. I guess, I am trying to grow in my ability to not be so attached to people. My friend Christy just wrote a blog on how people tease her for being the "japan girl"... well, I am often teased for being the social butterfly or the girl who is always moving until I am sleep-walking.

But I have to ask, "is it really that bad that I love people, love doing stuff with people?" I appreciate my alone time and rest and definitely my time with God... but what is it that people are teasing? Sweet, I accomplished going to a movie by myself... I've become more independent. But is that what I really want? More independence?!

Sorry if I seem grouchy. I'm really not. I guess I am not feeling too well these days.

If you've read the previous blog entries you will know I'm pretty "full" in my joy these days. Jeremy and Alaina are having a boy. Rochelle's almost ready to have my niece. And the SETTERS are more fun than I could imagine.

In my struggle to express my thanks to God I came across this verse and wrote the response that follows. (this is for you Dad!)

*Thought you have not seen him, you love him. though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressibe and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.* 1 Peter 1:8-9

Joy that is
were i a bird,
i'd sing you a song,
the red sun would rise
and i'd sing with all my might.
were i a flower, i'd bloom
every season with bright colors.
i'd wave in the wind and put
beauty in nature.
were i a river,
i'd bubble and stream,
i'd swell with depth and rush
over the rocks and bushes,
i'd become strong in song,
beautiful with color,
and powerful to
display your glory.
But since i'm a girl,
i'll wait on you,
i won't contend
with your strength,
your beauty
your song.
I'll bask in your glory
and draw close to You.
how can I express
the inexpressible?

*Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord?*

It's official. I know the sex of "Baby Bump". Lenora and my little niece due July will be joined in November by...
my first nephew. Crazy daisy days for the Schupbachs. I didn't cry when I found out and I'm not crying now... I'm keeping it together... for now at least. This is how Jeremy decided to share the gender of his son with us... the following story can be found at this link. Click on it to get all the latest news from Jer and Alaina.

From Jeremy:

"It's a Boy, and he's showing off!!"
That’s right, Bump’s a BOY!
Alaina won’t let me post the definitive picture, but the first words from the sonogram technician were “There’s it’s little butt. You’re gonna be having a boy; he’s mooning the camera.”
He was proudly flipping around, kinda strutting around the uterus like he owned the place.
His heart rate is 150 (up form 140) and he’s already doing somersaults.

And just in case you all didn't catch my beautiful siser-in-laws picture earlier... here she is again...

Ahhhh!!!!!!!!!!! How great does she look? I really wish I could see her in person. She's so beautiful.

*Lift up your eyes and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power not one is missing.* Isaiah 40:26

Monday, July 02, 2007

My Heart is Full...

I took some time the other day to write what I am thankful for: this is just scratching the surface of how full my heart is these days.
I am thankful for...
parents who love me; brothers who love me and protect me; Grandparents example of faith; my sister-in-laws; Lenora's life; being present for her birth; being in japan; my teammates; Mark's leadership and teaching; Jin's heart and beauty; Abbie's sweet kindness and girly ways; Yaya's love for adventure and how boyish he is; Kayla's words and her snuggles; i love how faith, forgiveness, and love are quick in these children; HB, and her faithful friendship; RH, spurring me on; Ducky and her friendship, her patience with men and sharing her story with E with me; for Skype; KB's strength and listening ear; thankful for her. Her relationship with MB, her love for others, her sacrifice to stay where God has her, her obedience. Thankful for all my friends; for Kim's love for me and how her faith was so atractive to me; Jamie's purity and showing me how God loves His "trophies of grace"; thankful I can be a Trophy of Grace; Jamie's faith in hard times and living out Habakkuk 3:17-18; her showing me the WHOLE world and being patience as I learned about other cultures and nations; Johnson's who prayed for me and had faith that I was no a lost cause in H.S.; my Dad on the piano and guitar; my Dad never letting me settle for liking the BSBoys but instilling in me a love for GOOD music; the churches that prayed for me and loved me when I was unlovable; Farka Jane's faithful friendship and forgiveness; Em's strength and friendship through freshman year until now; Ward loving me and keeping me laughing; 36 Valley girls who wept for and with me when I returned from Japan; Noxon and her quick response to prayer; bible study gals and their genuine hearts; the beauty i saw in women all around me; Alesha; my parents for letting me follow my dream to come to Japan; my mother and her tears; my father and his faith; the women of 2006 who showed me friendship, womanly beauty and loyalty; the men of 2006 who showed me my worth in Christ, who affirmed my "freedom" to be who I am, to have godly friendships; thankful for JL and the wisdom he had; the teachability; the gentleness. Thankful these guys raised the bar of standard in my life; thankful for Mary and how she balances me; thankful for her heart, her laughter our alone time, our silliness, our confessions, and our story of how God brought together two opposites in peace; thankful that God is the ultimate Restorer; for Kyle and Jennifer's arrival and our team dynamics; thankful for Jennifer's humor and her ability to make me laugh when I cry; Kyle's ability to make 60 hot dogs seem like 100, their love for You, Lord; for each other and for me; thank You for the days I couldn't find strength and my team carried me; thank you for life, love and peace. Thank You for your grace. Thank you for beauty, rivers that I can swim in and the ocean I dream of; sunsets and sunrises; blue skies and starlit nights; i love beauty and you give it so freely to me; thank you for music; for dancing; for Your forgiveness; thank You for being in my pain as a child, my confusion as I grew, and in my rebellion as a teen; thank You for never leaving me or thinking I was too lost; thank You for not letting me toughen too much; for giving me a tender heart; thank You for weeping with me and for me when I was not aware. Thank You for You, thank You that the little dreams I would have settled for were not from You; thank YOu for wooing my heart; thank You for finding me; for Redeeming me; for the desire to be with You; the longing for Your return; thank You for children; different cultures and experiences which help me grow; for my friendships; Monday nights with Kie; Shabe; homeless backpacking; and moments of miscommunication in a language You created; thank You for the 2007 team; for setting an example of quality through them; for the women and their beauty; the men and their strength; Thank you for making me a woman and giving my sisters and friends that experience of pregnancy. Thank you for little hiccups and kicks from deep inside.
Thank you for Your son Jesus. Thank You for filling my heart with Your blessings and with Your Spirit. I am full, Lord. I am abundantly blessed. Thank You.

(pictures: 1st Rochelle at week 35... sooo soon my niece will be in the world! 2nd. Baby Bump. that is a picture of my "only-known-by-God-at-this-point" niece/nephew... lovingly referred to by his/her own parents as The Bump; 3rd Trying to get Kayla to make faces, she is a joy in my life; 4th a leaf...)