Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel 
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still 
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall 
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all 
I can only imagine.
(Mercy Me – 1999)

My friend Omar died very unexpectedly on Tuesday night. I’m still processing the news and can’t believe I won’t see Omar again. It hurts. I heard Mercy Me sing the above song today, and I immediately thought of Omar. Did He dance for Jesus, or was he in complete awe? Did he stand before Him, or did he fall to his knees? Did he sing with that fantastic voice or was he speechless? I can only imagine. Omar loved Jesus, and he loved people so much. He was a giver beyond words, and believed whole-heartedly in genuine caring love.

I miss you, Omar. I watched one of your Facebook videos today, and you sang, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.” That was you. And although it hurts like crazy that you’re gone, there’s something really so peaceful knowing that you’re with Jesus; the One you would rather have had more than anything else.

I’ll see you again someday, my friend. The reunion will be sweet. Until then, know that I’ll remember you fondly and will always be thankful and feel blessed to know that God made our paths cross.


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Thoughts From Another Day

Written Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Feeling quite inadequate as of late. Feeling like I’m letting people down at work, and I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing at school. I wanted this degree in order to get out of the Admin realm, but goodness, did I bite off more than I can chew? Going on 40 years. Finally doing something for a career, and while I thought it was the right thing at first, is it?

(And the following might become a song)

I feel lost. I feel lost. I feel like I’m standing on a sidewalk not knowing which way to turn. There are so many options around me, so many things to do and see, and I don’t know which one I should do first.

I need a steady Hand to guide me. I need to feel that I’m being steered in some sort of direction to somewhere. Need a steady Hand. Where do I go? Where do I turn? I need a steady Hand.

There’s Grace everyday allowing me to be the person I’m made to be. I just hope I’m heading in the right direction. I need the Grace. I need the Grace; the Grace to steady me.

There are days I feel I can’t be me. I need to be something for people so they’ll like me, so they’ll accept me. I feel I need to have all the answers now, but I know I can’t. I know I can’t.

I need the Grace to steady me; Someone who will let me be me. Need the Grace to steady me; Someone to set me free.

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Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine.
Heir of salvation, purchase of God;
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long.

This song comes to mind as I think of a woman who passed away yesterday. Her name was Donna Chase. I only met her once but from the stories I heard about her, she lived this song. The words from this song came shining through her life and Jesus used her as a vessel to help further His kingdom.

My mother in law was moved by her story 30+ years ago. It was the life Donna lived that made Susan ask questions that led her to saving grace. So thankful for this.

Donna leaves behind a husband and 2 grown daughters. So sad on this side of heaven, but so glad that she’s meeting her Saviour and is reuniting with a daughter who she lost a few years ago. My heart is sad for her family and friends left behind. She lost her earthly battle with Leukemia, however, she won all the same because she’s with Jesus.

It was her story, it was her song.
She praised her Saviour all the day long.

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True Joy

The joy of the Lord will be my strength
I will not waiver walking by faith.
I am surrounded by mercy and grace.
The joy of the Lord is my strength.

The joy of the Lord,
The joy of the Lord,
The joy of the Lord is my strength.

I’m listening to this song while reading a prayer letter of a beloved friend who’s in Cambodia working in ministry. So much going on over there where she’s needed, and so much going on here at home with her grand baby being sick.

There’s something amazing about my friend, the words to this song would be words that I can hear her saying and know full well that she believes them whole heartedly.

My heart goes to her as she wants to be in two places at once.

Love you, Judes.

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Remembering an Old Friend

It was April, 1990, when I was riding on a train with a group of friends coming back from Utah. I was journaling in braille for my blind friend about our trip. As I was journaling, a man passed by and stopped to ask if I was indeed writing in braille. I responded with a yes, and he was fascinated. I, in turn, was fascinated with the fantastic accent this man had. I was 15 years old at the time, from Indiana, and was completely intrigued by anything from outside of my small town.

As time went by on the train ride, I found myself sitting by this man and his traveling companion who was his wife. Pat and Peter Treasure were from Perth, West Australia, and it was that day on the train when a very long lasting friendship began.

Today I learned from Pat that Peter lost a battle to cancer. He was 92 years old. I learned from his daughter that he fought a good fight and made it to his and Pat’s 65th wedding anniversary in April. Amazing.

As the years have gone by, we’ve been in touch; at first just a couple of times a year via snail mail, but later on a they got hooked up to email, and our communication became more frequent.

David got to meet them in December of 1996, the day after we were married. We were driving through Ohio, and stopped at their youngest daughter’s house in Dayton, Ohio. That was the last time I saw them.

I’ve had dreams of going to Australia to visit. In the email Pat wrote to me today she said she hopes she’ll be around long enough to meet my sweet girl. I hope so, too, but am saddened by the thought that it may never happen. I think next year when I turn 40 I’ll hope for that to be my birthday present. I’d just like to take my sweet girl to visit a very sweet old friend. That would be one of the sweetest times in my life.

Peter Treasure, you were a sweet soul. I’m pleased that I knew you. Thank you for stopping by on that train car so many years ago. May you be at a peaceful rest. God bless you, my friend.

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The Joy of School

I’m currently studying South Bend, Indiana, for my Shrinking Cities class at Pratt. There’s something about studying about vacant land and unemployment rates and how to fix a shrinking city that makes me feel alive. I’m on my lunch break and am loving reading a report put together by a committee headed up by the mayor of South Bend on how to reuse vacant space.

Studebaker closed shop in the 1960s. The city has been in sad shape since. I’m intrigued by this topic and really enjoy studying it.

Love school. Love planning. Love preservation. All of it makes me really happy.

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It’s a Melancholy Day

I’m having a hard time focusing today because my thoughts keep going to a person who passed away yesterday. His name was Bob Vandermark. He passed suddenly from a heart attack; he was only 61 years old.

Bob was one of my mom’s cousins, and I remember him well from my childhood. He was a funny guy. He was always cracking jokes making us laugh. Great sense of humor. Great heart.

He was an artist with incredible talent. He painted billboards around my hometown when I was a kid. Quite the job. He even painted a huge mural in my hometown. Beautiful. Very gifted man.

Growing up, I remember Bob running the bingo games and auction at the family reunions on my mom’s side. He was funny. He could get anyone to pay $20 for the smallest package, but I’ll tell ya, those small packages contained fantastic things. The aunts, my grandfather’s sisters, always brought photos from their collections. You could spend $20 on some of the most fantastic pictures of the fam. Freida when she was a kid. Great grandpa standing by a wagon. Ervin and Mervin and Ivo… the list goes on.

Bob was a good man. Heart as big as the great outdoors.

I remember his wife Barb and kids Robbie and Summer coming over to our house when I was a kid. Robbie’s my age, and Summer’s a few years younger. They’d play in our back yard, or we’d go to the lake. Mom and Barb were good friends; I could tell even as a little kid.They’d talk and talk for hours over a cup of coffee. Laughing, gossiping, just being there together. Good memories.

Sometimes we’d run into Bob, Barb and the kids at the county fair. Dad and Bob would talk forever and mom and Barb would do the same. Me, Jainie, Robbie and Summer just waited and waited for the parents to stop talking; cotton candy all over our faces and other knickknacks and treats from a night at the fair. Kicking the dirt and just wanting to go home after a long night. Good memories.

Bob knew Jesus, that I know. There’s something very comforting in that fact because we’ll get to see him again.

My heart hurts for Barb and Summer and Robbie. I can’t imagine the loss. Simply can’t imagine it. I know that God is saddened by this because He loves so deeply and hurts when people hurt. I’ll close with some scripture that was sent to me so many years ago when I lost one of my dearest friends. It gives me peace and comfort in times like these:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Barbara, Summer, Robbie – thinking of you.

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