Saturday, July 23, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from marbles & flip flops,
from Rainbow Brite and Cheeco's {Haitian cheese snack}.

I am from the balmy sun,
island breezes,
tropical thunderstorms,
and gorgeous sunsets over the mountains of Hispaniola.

I am from the exotic hibiscus of the Caribbean
and sunny marigolds of the US East Coast,
from playing on sandy beaches
and climbing brilliant flamboyant trees for the "perfect" flower.

I am from crab-pickers, loud-laughers, & cat-lovers,
from Brumbleys and Scotts and Howards and Johnsons.

I am from playing Monopoly on the balcony during night time blackouts
and BIG FAMILY holiday gatherings with dumplings and gravy.

From "Look it up!" when we asked how to spell something,
"No substitute words" {darn, shoot, etc},
and "Be true to yourself and to the Lord."

I am from ♪ Praise Him, Praise Him....
{with our own words added in}
♪....praise Him when the generator's broke, praise Him when the truck's broke down. ♪,
from holding onto Jesus for all you are worth, living a life of integrity,
and praising Him with exuberant hands & joyous dancing.

I'm from Creole-speaking streets and English/Irish roots
and from Haitian rice & beans, Granny's corn pudding,
homemade chocolate icing and ripe, juicy mangos....mmhmmm!

From the surprise 12th birthday where my face turned SO red,
the Christmas where some of Aunt Bonnie's "balls" were missing from the tree,
and from my mom hiding under the couch to surprise my dad and scaring a little boy instead.

I am from the little girl dreaming on the rooftop,
yellowed pictures surrounded by the boys my parents raised in the orphanage,
from practical dreamers & logical adventurers
and from a house filled with "Be your own person"
and "You can be anything you want to be"
and most of all....unconditional, I-will-always-be-in-your-corner-to-fight-for-you LOVE!

I saw this idea on my friend Anna's page a few months ago, but never got around to doing it and then I forgot, but then this week, I saw it on my blogger pal, Stephanie's site, and I decided that I wanted to join in too!! If you would like to do your own {and I hope that you do and let ME know if you do}, check out the Where I'm From template.

Linked with..........


Friday, July 22, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Living to the Brim

There is some kind of nervousness and excitement that happens on Fridays, when I join Lisa-Jo and so many beautiful bloggers to share my own 5 minutes. I don't know what will come out, and some weeks, I get discouraged before I have started, but then I heard some encouraging feedback from some non-blogger friends about how they enjoy these Five Minute Friday posts. So I pondered that, and I realized that when you just write for 5 minutes, you really write your soul, and sometimes you write someone else's soul. And THAT is worth doing it, even in all of the silly imperfections, weak verbs, run-on sentences, and unfinished thoughts.

So here goes........

Topic: FULL


Some days I just feel filled to the brim. Well, most days, anyway.

Sometimes it is sorrow, pain, hurt, worry, fear, longing, desperation.

Other days, I discover myself filled with joy, peace, dreams, hope, love, excitement.

It is a juggling act, a merry-go-round, a circle that seems to never stop in one place, always moving and flowing from one emotion to the next.

Or is that just me?

Life holds so many bittersweet moments.

I think of that most at an airport. If you just take a moment to look around you, you will see laughter and then tears. You gaze at loneliness and then elation. You take in boredom and then busyness. You see running to make the flight, and leisurely strolls during long layovers. There is something cool about that "in between place." One is neither HERE or THERE.

But I think most of life is like that but we only embrace it in the "airport" moments of our days.

I am full....full of living. Even in the scary times, the hard times, the aching moments where......I just don't know.

I want to live my life to the full, to the brim.

Can I do it?

Jesus, help me.....


Monday, July 18, 2011

What's in a Name? {Multitude Monday #261-275}

After talking about faith like a child in my post from last Thursday, I have been pondering analyzing processing this phase of the journey that I have found myself in.

So many thoughts.

Never ending questions.

A persisting ache in my heart.

And then this morning, I read a Facebook "note" by Joseph Prince, and I was challenged about how I see Jesus in my HERE and NOW.

Do I BELIEVE all the things about Him that the Scriptures say?

Alpha & Omega.
Righteousness of God.
And so on & so on.

I realized that I DO believe....I REALLY do....


....I have forgotten.

In the face of trials & circumstances, my view of my Savior shifted, and I found myself longing for a reminder.

So I went on a search of rediscovery {which is kind of an overall theme in my life right now, by the way}, and this website unfolded before me listing the names of Jesus from A-Z.

Alpha & Omega.

And then I saw it, the NAME that I needed for TODAY - my manna, my rhema word.


I never made it past the A's after that...LOL...because you know how it feels when you just SUDDENLY and WITHOUT WARNING get this understanding that smacks you in the face.

I mean YOU KNOW it is true & you have heard it before...but suddenly now....


You REALLY know it!

Do you know what I mean?

Oh, I hope that you do because it is a beautiful, amazing thing, knowing that God uses His Word to speak truths to us in the VERY moment where we NEED it and are READY to hear it.

Hebrews 12:2
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
"....fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

He is making my faith perfect.

In fact since He wrote it/authored it, He is the One taking me on a journey of trust in Him and His seasons for my life. I don't have to be ashamed or embarrassed in my moments of faltering & failure. Nor do I need to be worried or full of fear when doubts assail me.

I need to simply, and with as much TUNNEL VISION as I can muster, FIX my eyes on Him.

"Fixing" the problem or situations is not my job, but "fixing" my eyes, my heart, my mind, my focus, my dreams, my hopes, my fears, my setbacks on Him gives me perspective....His perspective.

It gives me HIS eyes.

And I really long for that.

Thankful, today, that, even in my weakness, He is strong.

Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours;
the state of feeling grateful

#261 - 275
~fresh veggies from the farmer's market
~saving 42% on groceries using coupons and sales
~learning from my coupon saavy aunt
~spending the day with my childhood bestie - cousin Wendy
~having a "just-girls" family lunch
~my husband weeding the garden {it looks SO much better!}
~open doors for more independent job opportunities
~revelation of His word for ME for TODAY
~chocolate chip cookie dough Breyers ice cream
~the love of my two kitties
~The Next Food Network Star
~the internet & the world it opens up for me
~repaired air conditioning at my office space
~how He is perfecting my faith in Him daily
~that He is strong ALWAYS...especially when I am weak

I have joined The Gratitude Community -- a place to be inspired by others and what God is doing in their lives, a chance to share my own journey of gratitude, and an opportunity to REMEMBER to be grateful in ALL things. So on Mondays, I will add to my list of 1000 gifts of all the graces God has provided in my life. Would you consider joining me? Even if you don't blog, you can join the gratitude community by starting a gratitude journal, mentionning your gifts on Facebook, or sending e-mails to your friends. Let's work together to help in creating a more thankful, joyous world!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Journey towards Childlike Faith

This week, I felt really challenged by Bonnie Gray's prompt to look up and write on a Scripture about faith.

So I pulled out search engined a concordance and found a Scripture that really spoke to me.

But then I was stumped???

How do I put into words WHY this Scripture speaks to my personal journey of faith?

Over the past year, my faith walk has been filled with tremendous ups and downs leaving me reeling, replaying, rethinking, and wondering who I am, what my specific purpose is and how the choices I am making & people I am connected(ing) with are shaping my destiny.

Leaving full time ministry, even for just this extended sabbatical period, has been ridiculously scary.

My desire to simply "work with people" and to serve in a full time ministerial capacity has been my heart and in essence, a big part of my identity for the past 10 years. In many ways, even my relationship with God has found itself wrapped up in a life of service, giving, & discipleship.

In the face of all of these changes and questions, some recurring themes have consistently emerged.





Childlike faith.

I realized that in an effort to be "obedient" and in striving to "lay my life down," I sacrificed part of ME, part of my very nature.

My mom has often said to me, "Lindsey, be true to yourself and to the Lord. At the end of the day that is all the Lord asks of you."

Somewhere along the way, "doing the right thing," "following God's plan for my life," and "being true to what HE made me" got mixed up. Striving to find HIS plan/purpose in ME and through ME define this phase of my journey in the simplest way.

And yet, I am not simple. Far from it, in fact.

I don't think I ever was.

Even as a little girl. Just ask my mom.


One thing that marked my childhood was....

....a sense of hopefulness

....the wonder of a dreamer

....a daily life filled with excitement attitude joyfulness in life...especially in the little things

So I don't understand all of the whys, the whats, or the hows of the 30-something years thus far, but I do know that as I muddle through the complexities of this world and my own weaknesses, I desire to do so with the heart, the faith, the wonder of a child.

So today, that's what faith is to me.

Psalm 116:5-7 (NLT)
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
So merciful, this God of ours!

The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
I was facing death, and he saved me.

Let my soul be at rest again,
for the Lord has been good to me.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

My Summary ::
Mariah Aubrey has a few secrets. Something terrible has happened, and her father has sent her away to a distant relative's estate to live in the gatehouse. But Mariah has a hidden confidence of her own. She is becoming a budding novelist to support herself and her loyal servant. Through a series of events, her relatives rent out the main house of the estate to Captain Matthew Bryant. As a friendship forms between the two of them, characters in this little village unite and sometimes collide in a cacophony of hearts and agendas. Relationships develop, secrets unfold, and hidden motives come to light in this unexpected romance filled with flawed yet redeemed personalities.

My Review ::
I felt like the book began rather slowly. It seemed to take quite a few chapters for the story to move forward and to grab me into it. However, I persisted and I was pleasantly surprised. While in most fiction, the characters have a major flaw, I was surprised at not only the magnitude of the primary flaw that the author gave the heroine but also the redemptive themes that wove their way so pleasantly through the book. In addition, I could picture the setting so clearly without being weighed down by superfluous language and redundancy. For historical and/or period romance fiction lovers, this is the book for you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Surprises and Climbing through Windows


It is hard to put into words the emotions that ONE word provokes.

The widening of the eyes. The shock in the faces. The elation of the moment. The joy in the realization that you've been had or received JUST what you really & maybe even secretly wanted.

I love to surprise people. But I am not often surprised myself. I think that is because my mind is ALWAYS looking for loop holes, angles, glances, innuendos, etc. I can usually see through people's stories or false pretenses.

But my ability to be surprised is not the topic today, so moving on......

I was on a break from college, and I usually traveled to see friends and share in their home life experiences. This break, however, I really wanted to "come home." My parents were in Haiti, but I wanted to see friends, aunts, grandparents, etc.

So, I am not sure exactly HOW or WHO cooked up the idea first, but my cousin and childhood best friend, Wendy, and I decided we would surprise everyone and she would help me.

Now, in order to pull this off she would have to drive 2 hours to the city without her parents - my aunt & uncle - knowing. Oh yeah, and we were just 18/19, so driving to the city without parental notice wasn't the "norm" at that point in our lives.

But we did it and had the time of our lives, driving back and planning our "moment" of surprise.

Since we arrived late at night, we decided that our surprise would be more "exciting" the next morning, so Wendy went into the house and opened her bedroom window for me. I climbed in, feeling very sneaky, and went to sleep. Believe it or not, it was my first window crawl...and the verdict...quite fun!

The next morning, I could hear my aunt in the other room busy around the house, cleaning & cooking. We quietly, or maybe not so quietly, giggled at the idea of someone being in my aunt's house without her knowing it.

So Wendy went out to talk to her, say good morning, and give her some crazy story about why my aunt should go into her room and get something for her.

I am lying in wait....or in bed... {symantics!} :)

Aunt Bonnie walked around the corner, fussing at Wendy about something or another, and then I yell, "SURPRISE!" and jump up out from under the covers.


Oh yeah....I live for those moments! :)

Joining up with Mama Kat's Workshop on a time that I had to crawl through a window

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Musical Walk Down Memory Lane

I have always been fascinated by the power of scents, sights, & sounds to bring memories and emotions flooding back into one's mind, heart, & soul. To be suddenly transported to another place in time, becoming younger, feeling heartbreaking sorrow or delirious joy all over again, just astounds me at the pivotal role that our senses play in our life experiences.

As I was organizing my iTunes today with music that spans the past 3 decades of my life, I felt myself raptured in and out of moments over the years.

In the blink of the eye, I am again a young slip of a girl, dreaming of love & romance, entering other worlds through books of adventure, romance, and lessons learned. The drama and the passion of Anne sparked such a drive in me to conquer the world with my own sensitive soul, strong heart, and tenacious attitude.

Then in a whirlwind, college days filled with hours of laborious studying, incredible personal growth, and intense, raw emotions consumed my being. As we learned more about Jesus, how He loved us, and where the love was taking us in the world, my roommate and I exhausted one song per season, playing it on repeat even when we were not in the room. Third Day's, Love Song, was one such song, making the sounds floating from our room both annoying with their repetitive beats and welcoming with the spirit of Jesus soaked into the very walls.

And on and on, it goes.

We Speak To Nations and You Said remind me of my heart for the nations.

Salvation is Here moves me to the rhythms of the music at dance practice with my youth girls.

I experience a great awakening in my memories of walking through pain & heart break to the other side as Praise You In This Storm resounds through my speakers.

Through Take It All, my heart and body bounce to the beat with dozens of young people during our time as youth pastors.

I see the women being transformed, chains broken, lives set free at Encounter weekends as Worthy Is the Lamb plays.

A smile on my lips and laughter in my mouth are impossible to hide as I remember my children at the church in Africa singing My Number One.

Redemption & mercy, love & laughter saturate my senses through Saved by Grace & Say So as I recall singing, dancing, & leading worship with the people we were blessed to minister to in Johannesburg.

And songs from the past even now speak new meaning to my future....

When I was 20, in my junior year at Oral Roberts University, I became very sick and couldn't go to classes for almost a week. I hate being sick, but even more than that, I despise how sickness strikes you down with the inability to do what you want and need to do. Plus, no matter how old or mature you think you are, one always wants their "mommy" when they are sick. Luckily, I had some amazing friends, who bought & brought me food, movies, medicine, etc, and others who came to sit with and/or entertain me.

Joy & Grace were two such girls, sisters in fact, who put on a human video for me of The Prince of Egypt's When You Believe. I could never do justice in mere words to the hilarity that encompassed their performance, but needless to say, their intended one time performance was repeated over and over throughout that year.

As I listened to the song today and chuckled over the memory of their antics, I found myself paralyzed with the magnitude of the meaning for me now in these words.

"There can be miracles WHEN you believe...."

Hmmm....I like that.

I like that.


Thanks for going down memory lane with me.... :) and PLEASE check out the lyrics below...there is more meaning in their words for me today than ever before....

Maybe for you too!

What are some songs that bring back memories for you?
What memories are attached to that song?

"Many nights we've prayed
With no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hopeful song
We barely understood

Now we are not afraid
Although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains long
Before we knew we could

There can be miracles, when you believe
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe

In this time of fear
When prayers so often prove(s) in vain
Hope seems like the summer birds
Too swiftly flown away

Yet now I'm standing here
My heart's so full I can't explain
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say

There can be miracles, when you believe
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe

They don't (always happen) when you ask
And it's easy to give in to your fears
But when you're blinded by your pain
Can't see your way straight throught the rain
(A small but )still resilient voice
Says (hope is very near)

There can be miracles
When you believe
(Lord, when you believe)
Though hope is frail
(Though hope is frail)
It's hard to kill
(Hard to kill, Ohhh)
Who knows what miracles,you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will(somehow,somehow, somehow)
somehow you will
You will when you believe

You will when you
You will when you believe
Just your heart
Just believe
You will when you believe~

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nuggets of Wisdom

I first heard him speak almost 15 years ago.

He didn't have a title or fancy degrees.

He spoke with quiet strength & humility.

He traveled around the world carrying a cross.

He used the cross to open doors to share about The Master.

And most of all, he loved Jesus. It truly seemed to ooze from his being.

"Ministry is the overflow of a life lived in love with Jesus," he was known to say often.

His name is Keith Wheeler, and I found some notes from the first time I heard him speak at Oral Roberts University, during my freshman year, and I was encouraged & challenged by them ALL over again, so I thought I would share them with YOU!

Love God more than you fear Hell.
{living a life of love and not fear}

Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
{wow! I need to do this one more often - children teach us SO much}

Make major decisions in a cemetery.
{puts life in perspective, don't cha think?}

When no one is watching, live as if someone were.

Succeed at home first.
{what the people who know you best say about you often says who you really are}

Don't spend tomorrow's money today.
{plan for the future while enjoying the moments}

Pray twice as much as you worry.
{oh boy! I need to practice this one A LOT more often}

Only harbor a grudge when God does.
{cause He doesn't right?}

Treat people like angels. Some you will make and some you will meet.
{I love this - people will rise to your lowest [or highest] expectations}

Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity.
{I love this!}

God has forgiven you, you would be wise to do the same.
{that I may have more of His heart}

Toot your own horn.
{not always easy to do this - but good to know who we are in Christ}

Do not feel guilty for God's goodness.
{being thankful for His gifts & promises in my life; not apologizing for His grace}

The book of life is lived in chapters; know what page you are on.
{WOW! This was a big reminder. I have struggled with this in different seasons}

Live your liturgy. Live the sermon that you want told at your funeral.
{I think of this one often}

Fall in love with Jesus and follow Him wherever He is going.
{This is my favorite and it inspired my email address and sign in name - lindseyfoj -- Lindsey follower of Jesus}

***Picture of Keith Wheeler taken from his Facebook page

Friday, July 8, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Grateful in Brokenness

Learning to dream, learning to be thankful, learning to love with my whole heart again....

This process has been one of brokenness & sorrow, of tears & fears.

And yet, I am many ways....and where I am not grateful....I am learning....or at least trying to express my gratitude, even if just in silent ways.

These quotes I found in a journal from from over 10 years ago...written by my 21-year-old self during a season of brokenness which I have now learned LOADS from. With that insight, I pray in 10 years from now that I will also have that same perspective on life's current moments of heartaches and questioning.

"This [brokenness] is what needs to be accepted. Unfortunately, this is what we tend to reject. Here the seeds of a corrosive self-hatred take root. This painful vulnerability is the characteristic feature of our humanity that most needs to be embraced in order to restore our human condition to a healed state."
-Nicholas Harman

"Our courteous Lord does not want His servants to despair because they fall often and grievously; for our falling does not hinder him in loving us."
-Julian of Norwich

"If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for other. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go."
-Brennan Manning

"In Love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve."

...and MY favorite of all these quotes....

"Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty and sadness and remains far behind yours. Were it not otherwise he would never have been able to find these words."

2 Corinthians 12:9
"I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast
that the power of Christ may stay over me."

***I am joining Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. Putting this post together took a little longer than 5 minutes as I was re-typing these quotes from my journal, by my personal addition above was less than 5 minutes. I share this in the interest of transparency. :)

If you would like to read some more 5 minute bloggers' posts on being grateful or if you would like to link up your own post, click on the badge below.

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Questions & Fears

We all have fears.

Fear of spiders.
Fear of heights.
Fear of failure.
Fear of public speaking.

In the process of trying to conceive, growing our family, wanting to become parents in a physical sense, fears seem to run the full gamut.

Will I ever be pregnant?

Maybe I wouldn't be a good mother?

Will I have to live a lifetime never getting to raise my own child...children?

Can I be happy for others when they get pregnant, give birth to their children, etc?

It seems that in the process of "waiting," the fears seem to increase and grow....

Are all the things that God promised me REALLY HIS promises or just MY wishful thinking?

Is He TRULY faithful to keep His promises to me?

What if His plans for my life are not what I want?

What if He asks more of me than I can give....want to give?

These fears can sometimes grip my heart into a vise so tight that I feel hopeless.

And in those moments, I remind myself...

of Hannah...

of Sarah...

of Elizabeth...

of the fact that He has always been faithful to me...


2 Peter 3:9
The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Do you have fears that you struggle with often?
What are some of the promises that you are standing on/believing for?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

This patriotic weekend....

We laugh

We eat

We play

We make memories

We enjoy friends

and family

We remember

As we celebrate, picnic, & party this weekend, we are so thankful that we CAN actually celebrate all that makes us American, all that makes us free.

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Welcome Home!

Sometimes I feel like I don't belong.

Sometimes I am scared to be myself.

Sometimes life seems harder than I thought it would..or should be.

Sometimes I want to hide or to run away like a little girl.

Sometimes I just go through the motions.

Sometimes I feel intimidated.

Sometimes I "can't" pray.

Sometimes I think I am all wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if my life is "significant."

Sometimes I want to be brave, but mostly I just want to be loved.

Sometimes I think no one understands me.

Sometimes the fact that reality is NOT a fairytale is all too REAL.

Then I travel to my birthplace here in Haiti...

and I am welcomed.

I go home into my husband's waiting arms...

and I am welcomed.

I call my best friend on the phone...

and I am welcomed.

I join the blogosphere with so many amazing writers...

and I am welcomed.

I feel that sometimes in the midst of the uncertainty and chaos of this existence, God gives us...He gives ME....a welcome home mat just to remind me....

You are loved.

You are chosen.

You are significant.



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