So, I’m now a whole two decades old.  In ten years, I’ll be 30.

 

Am I the only one that’s a little wigged out about this state of affairs?  Probably so,  but just nod, smile and go along with it, please.

 

I’ve heard most of my life that I am “an old soul”, “wise beyond my years”, “mature”, etc.  I see the “old soul” part, but not much else.  I’ve learned things, but that’s just part of life.  “Live and learn,” right?  I wouldn’t be the person I am without the people God has put into my life to guide me, protect me, lead me, teach me.  There are so many people – not the least of which being my dear parents – who have had a hand in shaping me, taking my natural tendencies and interests and helping mold them into the young woman (yikes, that’s a somewhat ominous phrase still) I am today.  And I still have so much more to learn and see and do, so much growing yet.

 

The last year has been an intense period of growing for me.  I met someone (a guy — shocking, I know, who’da thunk I would entertain the thought before my thirties?!),we talked, went out (!), he spent a lot of time at the house and became part of the family, I learned to love him, learned about my strengths and weaknesses in ways I never imagined, and thought that I had a pretty good handle on where God was taking me in my life — even though it was completely different from anything I had ever imagined for myself.

 

And I was ok with that.  Better than ok, I was happy and excited and thrilled beyond belief.

 

Then it all fell apart – or it seemed to, anyway.  My heart was broken, I lost a lot of confidence (in myself and in others — ill-placed confidence, considering the nature of humans; let’s face it, nobody’s perfect, and everyone’s capable of hurting you), and I lost a part of myself, too. I’m still remembering how to trust people and not think the worst of everyone I meet.

 

 

That’s a pretty drastic change for me; I’ve never been completely open, but I wasn’t a complete cynic and usually gave people the benefit of the doubt.  Six months into this experience, I’m not as cynical as I was at the beginning; this has definitely brought me closer to the Lord in a way that I didn’t really expect.  You know, to me, God seems much closer in time of pain than at other times.

 

Despite the hurt, the sadness, the sense of loss, the feeling of loneliness, you know what the greatest thing is about the last several months?  The great thing is, I was never without hope, never really so angry or crushed by one man’s actions that I felt I couldn’t keep on keepin’ on.  Even on days when I felt (and some days I still do feel this way) as if I was at the bottom, when I’d open my eyes in the morning and just want to say “NO!” and sleep forever, when I really didn’t want to keep going, because I didn’t know where I was supposed to be.  Even then, I had a great Hope, and never felt as if I couldn’t go on (just because I didn’t want to, didn’t mean I couldn’t).

 

Because I serve a mighty God, who holds me in the palm of His hand, who knows the number of hairs on my head and who is completely sovereign and has all things in my life to work out for my good and His glory.  The One True God who feeds the sparrows, and clothes the lilies, whose name is Wonderful, the Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Counselor, King.

 

Praise God that my hope isn’t in the promise of a wedding (and marriage), or a successful relationship, or how successful I am at work, or whether or not I’m going to college yet (which I’m not…), or my family, or friends…  My hope is in the constant, fulfilled promise of my Redeemer, who sits on the eternal throne with the Father.

 

Even in the midst of tears and the disappointment and the heartache and the worry, I can go to my God and cry “Guide me, Oh, Thou great Jehovah!” (here’s a link, it’s a terrific hymn; scroll down for lyrics:  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/u/guideme.htm )  and “know what wealth of grace is Thine” (that one’s from “Jesus I am Resting, Resting”, another terrific hymn).

 

Lord willing, I have many more years to learn.  In my (short) 20 years, the greatest thing I have learned – what I’ve learned in the last six months, specifically – is that the only sure thing (besides death and taxes :P ) is Jesus.  I’m not promised tomorrow.  I’m not promised sunshine and roses (cue song: “I Never Promised you a Rose Garden”  hehehehe).  He’s all I have.  He’s all I’ll ever have.

 

And He’s enough.  Enough for every trial and every heartache.  Enough to get through every moment of every day.  Enough for every step, because sometimes, you can’t look at the road in front of you; if you do, you run the risk of being overwhelmed and losing sight of your purpose (whether you like it or not, that purpose is to glorify God); sometimes you have to take life and everything in it one step at a time.  If you believe in Him, He’ll be there.  And He’ll be more than enough.

 

I’ll try to update again soon with news on family stuff.  For now, I just wanted to share this with you.

“Deafa”, “Ugs”, and “Peas.”

It’s already almost October, a fact which to me is a hard one to accept, causing an odd realization of the passage of time and really just how little I have done and how much I have yet to do.  Reuben will be SIX YEARS OLD tomorrow, yet another shocking marker of another year passed.  I love that child.  I love all of them, equally.  The thing about this kid though, is he’s got these huge, round, milky brown peepers.

O.O

 

They make me melt no matter what he’s done.  When Seven does something wrong, and I’m talking to him (scolding him, etc.) about it, I have to say “eyes” mid-sentence to get him to make eye contact so that he actually listens.  It works.  I say “eyes” to Reuben, he makes eye contact, and I forget how to even form a complete sentence.  This is a unique talent, one which allows him to get away with murder.  Thankfully, he’s a fairly obedient child, and usually remorseful when he does something wrong, so eye contact is rarely necessary.  Or maybe he also has the ability to alter my memory so that that’s what I think… Hmmmm.

 

Anyway, he’ll be six tomorrow.  Here’s a picture

 

Reub

I mean, really.  How could you stay upset looking at that face? 

 

Anywho, that has nothing to do with the title of the post.  Seven is three years old (plus a few months), and while he has always babbled – quite loudly and fluently – he’s finally started to use words.  He’s been able to say “please”, “yes”, “drink” for a while now, as long as he wants to say them; if he doesn’t want to, all bets are off and you’ll go back and forth for about half an hour (or more) trying to get him to say “peeeaas” when he wants something.  Manners.  Start teachin’ them young, y’all  ;)  He calls me “Defa” or “Def”.  And tonight, he was being a total pain-in-the-butt and wasn’t going to bed;  he kept finding some reason to come out of his room.  I, for one, was done dealing with him, and was about ready to just cart him off to his bed and threaten him with his life (not really… but something along those lines) if he got out of bed again when he comes up to me, a few feet away, and said, “Ugs.  Ugs.  Ugs, peeeaas.”  Took me a minute to realize what he wanted, and then I felt all these warm fuzzies (as we say around here).  Just FYI, Seven gives the best hugs.  I love hugs – seriously they’re one of my favorite things – and this kid is the champion of giving them <3  So of course, I scooped him up and gave him a hug, and he said “Defa ugs” and then he sighed.  And he looked at me, with this look that I don’t really know what it meant, and I thought, “Oh, what I’d give to hear what you’re thinking.”  I saw contentment.  I saw a certain amount of serenity.  I saw a depth that almost frightened me.  And I felt loved.  I feel loved everyday, but sometimes it hits me just how incredible it is that I am in constant contact with five little boys who love me; truly, honestly, completely, deeply.  Their capacity for love never ceases to amaze me.  To see it in the eyes of a three year old?  Well, that’s just incredible.  

 

Ok, I’m done being sappy and girly.  Here’s a picture:

 

IMG_8058

 

Ciao!

This is something I started writing almost a month ago, after I tried to explain to my darling mother how it is to come down off the mountain on the ranch.  I don’t know how well I’ll be able to articulate it, but I’m gonna give it a shot, because it’s something unique and to me, it’s worth trying to explain.

So, during my time on the ranch, I was extremely blessed to be shown around the place by Grandpa.  Generally on the four-wheelers, but sometimes on the horses.  My favorite trip we took was up to Timber Ridge (well, Vista Point as Grandpa calls it was pretty amazing), which I sincerely believe is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Grandpa took me up there when the flowers were blooming all over the place.  It was dreamy.

Anywho, here’s my best description of what it’s like as you head up the dusty, rocky road:

You start to feel smaller, and yet bigger at the same time.
You see the size of the mountains, how big the sky is, and the general vastness of the terrain.  I mean really, you’ve got about 60,000 acres all around you to roam. That realization puts into perspective just how small and insignificant you are – at least that’s how I felt.
And then you look around and you see the sagebrush teeming with little butterflies, beetle-bugs, and rabbits.  That’s what makes you feel big.  There’s an entirely different world that you’ll never see or really be part of because you’re so big compared to the inhabitants of it.

For me, there was so much to see and explore, I forgot about everything that was on my mind when I was down at the house – the dishes in the sink, the dirt on the floor, food to cook, things happening back at home – and I could almost feel it all drift away the higher up I went.

Up there, I felt as if I was in this wide, fantastic, magical place that I’d only read and dreamt about.

Coming back down gave me one of the oddest sensations.  Reality starts to set in as you get lower and lower.  Passing a big, white “No Trespassing” sign, I remembered that tomorrow, I had to start laundry.  Around a curve in the road, I’m reminded of the fact that I need to call home and explain to my mother how to train the dog not to bolt out the front door.  Then there’s the cattle guard.  In an odd way, it came to symbolize the separation from reality and my dream world up on the mountain.  It’s your ordinary, basic cattle guard, beat up, paint peeling, it’s been passed over and around many, many times.  Coming down, I always stopped just before I crossed it, knowing what would happen as soon as I crossed it.

I never realized just exactly how much was on my mind until I went over that cattle guard on my way back to the ranch house.

I don’t know if that makes any sense at all.  It’s probably crazy and melodramatic.  I know that it is slightly more coherent than when I tried to explain it to Mother, I’ve spent a greater amount of time thinking about how best to put it into words.  I hope it makes some sense.  If it doesn’t, well, thanks for bearing with me and reading along, anyway ;)

I’ve been home since eaaarrlly Wednesday morning.  My timing could not have been better since there’s some form of creepin’ crud going around the house, which I managed to catch.  It’s wicked stuff, so please pray that it doesn’t stick around too long and that everybody will heal up from it soon.  ‘Cause it really stinks.

 

Not much has been going on, really.  I’m hanging out at home, catching up on some sleep, and trying to get over this fever/cough/general yuckiness.

 

That’s all I’ve got for y’all today.  I don’t even have any witty, thoughtful, or funny way to finish this post.

 

Ciao!

I do, of course, have photos of my time here in WY.  Photos which I fully intend on putting up here.  However, that’ll just have to wait until I get home, since the internet connection here can’t take too many uploads/downloads.

 

We’re planning a quiet 4th of July up here, I’ll be making fried chicken, mashed potatoes, all that good stuff, and it’ll be just us chickens :)  Might shoot off a few fireworks.  Maybe.  I’m not a huge fan of them, they’re too loud.

 

I’ve got laundry to finish, dishes to do, and a kitchen to clean.   Here’s a little something to ponder:  do you need a silencer to shoot a mime?

 

Y’all have a good one.  Ciao!

“Home is where your crazies are” :P

“I’m coming home now
I’m coming home right away
I’m coming home now
I’m sorry I went away
Every night & day I miss you.”

I’m goin’ home.  True story.  Not “now” per se, but this month :D 16 days.

I am beyond excited.

Thrilled.  Ecstatic.  Elated.  Delighted.  Beside myself.  Jubilant.

Get the picture?

To go back to the song lyrics (from “I’m Coming Home Baby”), I can’t say I’m sorry I went away.  I really can’t.  It was a good experience, I was able to serve, and you know how I enjoy being in the middle of nowhere.

They say “Home is where the heart is.”  Truth is, at this point in my life, there’s little bits of my heart all over the place.  A good chunk of it is in Sidney, a little piece is in NM, with the congregation that took me in for the three months I was there.  Another piece of it is in San Antonio, with my church family there, whom I miss dearly.  Another part of it is in Moscow, TX, where I lived and worked for four months, and in Lufkin, where I went to church  during that time.

Without a doubt, the majority of my heart is in GA.  ‘Cause there’s 8 pieces of my heart in a little house in Ft. Benning.  And I can’t wait to get back there :)

I’ll leave you with this thought:  how important does a person have to be for a murder to classify as an assassination?

Y’all have a good one.  Ciao!

Things I love:

This is just a list.  In no particular order, these are things that I love, and have found I can not live happily without:

  • Random hugs and “I love you”s.
  • Smiles.  Real, bright, happy smiles.
  • Forehead kisses from my big brother.
  • Fuzzy socks (these, I probably could live without, but now that I have them, I don’t really want to try it).
  • Mac and cheese, on a semi-regular basis (we’re talking at least once a month).
  • hearing others laugh.
  • going to church — theworship, learning, and fellowship are so very important to keep me functioning.  It’s a reminder of the fact that without the Lord, I have no strength or abilities at all.  It helps keep me humble.
  • Music — I have a bit of a range of preferences.  If it’s got a good, driving beat and I can’t help but move to it, it’s a winner.  Lately, I’m loving The Band Perry :D  I can appreciate some modern country… actually, I listen to a fair bit of contemporary country. Basically, if I can sing it, I love it.
  • Playing piano
  • Horses – kind of a given, with me, but it had to be said ;)
  • Reading
  • Cooking
  • My mother — she’s my rock, my confidant, and my best friend.  Without her, I just kinda fall apart a bit.
  • Hearing my daddy’s goofy nicknames — he calls me so many things, all of them kind and sweet, if a bit ridiculous.  They always make me smile.
  • Space — wide-open space to look around and breath in.  I’m not claustrophobic, really, but I am definitely more me when I’m outside in the middle of nowhere.
  • My little brothers — their shouts, their laughs, their jokes, their faces, their hugs.  If there’s one thing us Schwabinos do right, it’s give hugs.

There might be more.  But that’s probably more than enough.

Y’all have a good one :)  Here’s a tip for you:  if someone ever tells you to not put so much parmesan cheese on your spaghetti, don’t talk to that person anymore.  You just don’t need that kind of negativity in your life ;)

Ciao!

Life and living

I came to the realization about a week or so ago, that life is far more pleasant and fruitful when you live it for God’s glory, not your own.

Yes, this is a truth that my parents have repeated to me ad nauseam for as long as I can remember.

Yes, I knew it before. At least, I comprehended it mentally.

I can’t say I really knew it in my heart before.

Being up here in WY has taught me a lot. And I mean a *lot*. It seems every time I leave home for a little while, I find out more about my heart, my faith, my weaknesses, my strengths (few and far between), and my Lord.

I never thought how tiring it would be to be essentially tethered to another person. To have to be there to make sure he/she wants for nothing, to be at beck and call, not because he/she feels it is deserved, but simply because you are needed for every little thing. I’m not complaining. On the contrary, I am so glad to be here, caring for my grandmother, I have learned patience, a deeper level of kindness and gentleness, and a greater reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

All I’m saying is that it is tiring. Emotionally, mostly. To see someone you love in a position where she can do so little, and is reliant upon others for so much is tough. i couldn’t imagine actually being in her position and having to ask for everything that requires bending, reaching, lifting (pretty much everything you do in a day beyond sitting down and moving from point a to point b). She is a stronger woman than I will ever be.

For very shortsightedly selfish reasons, I felt neglected and overlooked earlier this month. Don’t ask what the reasons were. Really they were stupid, not to mention completely unfounded, trust me. But then I realized why I felt that way.

I was focused on me. Not on who I was doing the work for, not the reason I came up here in the first place (to serve). Me, Myself, and I had taken center stage.

After prayer and examining my heart, I was reminded why I’m here.

Not for praise. Not for any benefit of my own. Not to have a good time riding horses in the Wyoming wilderness (although that is a huge plus).

I am here to glorify God, to serve Him, to give Him the glory, in whatever He has given me to do. Indeed, that’s the “chief end of man” (if nothing else, I have been well-catechized :P ), to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

I’m sure I’ll be re-learning this throughout my life.  That’s part of living, learning why I’m here and how best to accomplish what it is that’s put before me to do.

 

I found a quote today, that I really like and I think it really sums up what I’m trying to say here:  “Purpose is found in those quiet moments when no one but God sees the work of your hands.” — Darlene Schacht.

 

I can say this, now that I have redirected by energy and my purpose (with the help of the Holy Spirit), I am much more contented.  And that’s a great feeling :)

Y’all take care, and have a good one!