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Category Archives: Travels

Hope in the Harbor

My husband and I love to visit areas where ships clutter coastlines and the waters disappear into the horizon.  I am drawn to water, no matter the depth or type of coastline it is.  I love rivers, oceans, lakes, ponds, and creeks.  I’m the type of person that can’t just look at a body of water and enjoy the scenery.  I have to dip at least a toe or finger in it, even if it’s freezing cold.  But, if it’s warm or the chill isn’t unbearable, I have plunge into the water, even if I’m not properly clothed for it.  I’ve always been this way, my parents can attest to it from stories of me as a toddler, escaping their attention and jumping into a pool of water, clothes and all.   With that said, my husband loves ships, boats, and lighthouses.  He prefers to float on the water in a vessel or at least admire it from the shore.

I wonder if I’m just anxious for a vacation or if God’s trying to show me something today.  I think it’s a little of both.   This morning, I was praying and not really going anywhere with it.  I have so much on my mind right now and a lot of emotions and thoughts swirling around my head, so this blog post could cause a little seasickness to the reader.  Disclaimers are necessary in the world today!  Anyway, I was loading laundry into the washer, when I just felt like God spoke one word to me, that word was harbor.  I felt like he wanted me to explore that word, so I did.  It lead me to first look up the definition of the word, although I know the definition, but investigating it and chewing on it often leads to other thoughts.  There is a noun definition and a verb definition.  The noun definition is a place on the coast where vessels may find shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures.  It is also a place to seek refuge.  So, thinking of harbors, I immediately think of mine and my husband’s love for them.  But, being a believer, I also think of God and Him being the place that I find shelter during the storms.  He is my refuge in all the emotional thoughts and feelings that I am having at this moment.  I think of sailors who are at sea and a storm comes upon them, they have to act quickly, but their thoughts are immediately on seeking out the horizon, trying to locate a place to dock their vessel, searching for safety.  The depths of the seas surround them; waves crash over the boats, the storms probably feel like they aren’t ever going to end.  I wonder how hopeless they feel when they see the strength of the ocean and understand they aren’t in control.  Then, how do they feel when they spot land, a lighthouse, a harbor with hope inviting them in?  I’m sure they feel relieved, glad, and thankful.  I think of myself and certain times in my life when I’m trying to ride the storms out without seeking direction or looking for refuge.  When I do that, I may feel in control for a little while, but then the severity of the storm hits me and I get scared and realize that I need a refuge, a savior, a harborharbor on the horizon.  With all that being said, I feel like God is just saying that I need to dock my vessel.  I need to tie up to His dock, rest, refuel, and await instructions for the next step.

However, there is also a verb definition for the word, harbor, in two forms as well.  The first is to keep (a thought or feeling, typically a negative one) in one’s mind, especially secretly or to have in mind a thought or feeling, usually over a long period of time.  With this definition, I start thinking, what am I harboring in my mind?  What bad thoughts are keeping me weighed down?  Is this why I feel like I’m drowning sometimes?   Is it worry, anger, doubt, self-pity, aggravation, or maybe a molotav cocktail of them all? Whatever it is, I know it’s not healthy for my soul.  The other verb definition is to protect someone by providing a place to hide.  This points to God again; he protects me and gives me a place to hide.  The scripture that I immediately think of when I think of this definition is Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”   In this, I know I have to give all my thoughts, feelings, and hurts that I’m harboring to God.  He will cover them and I’ll find refuge there.

The next passage that I was led to was Psalm 107.  I love this and have highlighted the theme of this blog today, but the whole passage is spiritually filling, I hope that it feeds you as well.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

    His faithful love endures forever.

2 Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!

    Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.

3 For he has gathered the exiles from many lands,

    from east and west,

    from north and south.[a]

4 Some wandered in the wilderness,

    lost and homeless.

5 Hungry and thirsty,

    they nearly died.

6 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he rescued them from their distress.

7 He led them straight to safety,

    to a city where they could live.

8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

9 For he satisfies the thirsty

    and fills the hungry with good things.

 

10 Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom,

    imprisoned in iron chains of misery.

11 They rebelled against the words of God,

    scorning the counsel of the Most High.

12 That is why he broke them with hard labor;

    they fell, and no one was there to help them.

13 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he saved them from their distress.

14 He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom;

    he snapped their chains.

15 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

16 For he broke down their prison gates of bronze;

    he cut apart their bars of iron.

 

17 Some were fools; they rebelled

    and suffered for their sins.

18 They couldn’t stand the thought of food,

    and they were knocking on death’s door.

19 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he saved them from their distress.

20 He sent out his word and healed them,

    snatching them from the door of death.

21 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving

    and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

 

23 Some went off to sea in ships,

    plying the trade routes of the world.

24 They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action,

    his impressive works on the deepest seas.

25 He spoke, and the winds rose,

    stirring up the waves.

26 Their ships were tossed to the heavens

    and plunged again to the depths;

    the sailors cringed in terror.

27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards

    and were at their wits’ end.

28 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,

    and he saved them from their distress.

29 He calmed the storm to a whisper

    and stilled the waves.

30 What a blessing was that stillness

    as he brought them safely into harbor!

31 Let them praise the Lord for his great love

    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

32 Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation

    and before the leaders of the nation.

 

33 He changes rivers into deserts,

    and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.

34 He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands,

    because of the wickedness of those who live there.

35 But he also turns deserts into pools of water,

    the dry land into springs of water.

36 He brings the hungry to settle there

    and to build their cities.

37 They sow their fields, plant their vineyards,

    and harvest their bumper crops.

38 How he blesses them!

    They raise large families there,

    and their herds of livestock increase.

 

39 When they decrease in number and become impoverished

    through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,

40 the Lord pours contempt on their princes,

    causing them to wander in trackless wastelands.

41 But he rescues the poor from trouble

    and increases their families like flocks of sheep.

42 The godly will see these things and be glad,

    while the wicked are struck silent.

43 Those who are wise will take all this to heart;

    they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.

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A Geeky Weekend

“Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. Outside those doors, we might see anything. We could find new worlds, terrifying monsters, impossible things. And if you come with me… nothing will ever be the same again!” Dr. Who

 

Have you ever been to a sci-fi convention, comic book convention, or any of those type of con events?  I attended one this weekend as a vendor.  It was a very interesting experience.  I married a geek, and I mean that in a nice way, over 16 years ago.  Prior to knowing him, I would have never stepped foot in one of these types of events.  It just wasn’t my thing and I didn’t see the point of them.  It was an extremely well done event that spanned over three days.  Role playing games were set up throughout the day, sessions on various topics were available for people to attend, along with art exhibits and artists, science fiction authors, steampunk enthuisists, and many other various forms of geekiness. 

People donned costumes throughout the weekend, especially on Saturday for the costume party that was scheduled.  Young and old, dressed up as their favorite Dr. Who, Star Wars, and Star Trek characters.  Elves, Zombies, Vampires, and Steampunk costumes were adorned as well.  People conversed throughout the hallways, elevators, and vendor rooms about the topics of the weekend that interested them, displaying their knowledge upon the subject. 

Overall it was an interesting experience.  I will probably attend others in the future and perhaps even be brave enough to dress up in a costume as well.   

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Science Fiction, Travels

 

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Holler Wheelin’

Last Sunday evening, our youth group met at one of the kid’s house for some four wheeling and dirt bike action.  It was a quick attempt to check off a few more modes of transportation for our year long challenge.  Not sure what challenge I’m talking about? If not, read the previous blog to catch up with what we are doing. For our outing we had three four wheelers and a dirt bike. We enjoyed a fun filled evening of “holler wheelin.”  I decided to coin this event in these terms because we went up and down the holler on the four wheelers and dirt bike.  For those of you who are city folk and unfamiliar with what the definition of holler is, it is a rural road in Appalachia.  It can also mean, as demonstrated by one of our youth leaders (Tia) who was unsure of the driving abilities of the teen escorting her up the hill, to yell loudly.

Four wheelers are pretty common in our area.  Many people have them alongside their vehicles in the garage or driveway.    They are used to go into the woods to hunt, for pure recreational pleasure, and as a means of scraping snow away, to escape from cabin fever from the “holler” you live on.

After about an hour riding, we took a break for a quick lesson.  One of our teenage girls taught the lesson.  She decided to teach on her Dad’s school bus. So, we piled onto the bus and picked a seat as she and a few others turned on some flashlights.  She shared with the group that we should always be compassionate to those around us and look at them with Jesus’ eyes.  Afterwards, one of the teens suggested visiting a few of the neighbors and inviting them to youth group.  So, we piled back on the wheels and went up the hill.  They rang the doorbell and politely and somewhat nervously invited a teenage girl to come sometime to church.  She said she was considering looking for a church and said she may drop in sometime.  Then we went down the hill and invited another neighbor to come check it out sometime.  Afterwards, we went back to the home, spoke a little while of some future endeavors.  There was a lot of excitement and ideas in the air as we talked.  What’s next, you ask?  Tune in periodically to find out!

 
 

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A Challenging Journey

I’ve been issued a challenge and it involves the teen youth group my husband and I are leading.  It is very exciting for me to be a part of this and see what the group can accomplish this year.  The challenge is to find eighty ways of transportation and do them in our home state of West Virginia.  The challenge began on November 6, 2011 and will end November 6, 2012. The idea came from our pastor who recently saw a show on History channel called, “Around the world in 80 ways.”  He thought it would be exciting and interesting for us to take the challenge and apply it to our area.  Besides, the name of the youth group is Extreme Voice.   Why would this have anything to do with a church youth group?  What purpose would it serve, other than getting to do some really cool things?  First, Jesus used many modes of transportation to get from one place to another.  He walked, went by boat, or by donkey.   Next, He traveled throughout Galilee encountering people, teaching them, healing them and showing love to them.  It didn’t matter how they lived, who they were, or whatever shortcomings they had, he reached out to them.  Everywhere he went, excitement ensued.  He led an extreme life.

Why should the Christian walk be boring?  Why would we want to put Christianity in a box?  There are many things to experience and many people to encounter along the way.  How can you meet people if you stay in a place that many people feel unwelcomed to come into?  Sure, people came to Jesus, but He also went to people, sought them out of the crowd, listened and loved them.

Every way we try on this challenge doesn’t mean that we will encounter someone every time.  But, I’m sure there is something we will gain from each experience that will teach us something about ourselves, community, or teamwork.

The first way we marked off our list was a hike at a local park.  We decided to geocache  while we hiked, since my husband and I knew several cache’s were hidden there.  Our hike ended up being almost three miles.  It led us on a path around the whole length of the lake.  We handed the group the GPS and let them lead the way to the hidden cache.  They did excellent finding the cache and working together.  We followed the hike up with a lesson on following God’s direction in your life.  We left the park by car, (2nd way) and finished the day off gathering together for ice cream at the local drive in.

The teens are excited, I’m excited, and so are the other leaders involved.  It’s going to be an interesting year!  I’ll continue to share the ways we make it through the state as they unfold.

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Travels

 

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