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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Not on My Watch

Learn to do good;
      Seek justice,
      Rebuke the oppressor;
      Defend the fatherless,
      Plead for the widow.
- Isaiah 1:17

As we start this new year, a heartbreaking issue has been placed on my heart, and the hearts of my friends, by the Lord. In February, the capital city of my home state, Indianapolis, will be hosting the Super Bowl. This will be a great financial boon to the city, and this state, bringing in people from around the country, and even the world.

It will be a disaster, however, to the women and children that are being trucked in, as slaves, to the city. The Wold Cup and the Super Bowl are the two largest human trafficking events in the world, and it’s happening in my proverbial backyard. These women and children are treated as pieces of meat to be sold to any number of men to have their innocence and dignity stolen.

This is not okay with me.

I know a lot of people hear about these things happening in foreign countries – India, Thailand, and in Africa – but it is happening RIGHT HERE. This is not simply a foreign issue. Girls as young as 13 are being forced into sexual slavery, IN THE UNITED STATES. Some of those will be on the market during the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

This is not okay with me. Not on my watch.

And so for the next month, through the February 5th championship game, (and after) my prayer warrior friends at WVIHOP and I will be praying for these people, day and night. Praying that the chains of slavery would be broken off of them. Praying that the people who entrap them would be brought to justice. Praying that trafficking would be completely eradicated in this country and around the world.

Because this is not okay with me. It is not okay with my friends. And it is not okay with God.

Would you join us?

——

Some human trafficking information links


Nefarious: Merchant of Souls – a documentary about human trafficking




Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Perfect Twelve

Twelve years ago I was wide awake, thoughts running through my head of what the day would hold. I was wondering if we'd pulled everything together well, if the cake was going to be good, if my dress was pretty enough, if my hair was going to look nice ... and what I was getting into.

Twelve years later I can tell you it has been one heck of a ride. Our lows have been REALLY low, and our highs have been VERY high. There were days, maybe even years, when I wasn't sure we were gonna make it this far.

But then we turned our marriage over to Jesus. God is good and He has brought our marriage a long way. We still have our rough spots, but they are few and far between now. It will never be perfect, but it's a whole lot better than either of us thought it could be when this journey started on July 17, 1999. And we're not done because He's not done with us.

Jesus had twelve disciples, Jacob had twelve sons, and now I have had twelve years with my earthly beloved. A perfect twelve.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Flesh

Today is my husband's birthday. I won't say how old he is, except to say that he's not as old as people think due to his salt and pepper hair.


What I will say is that over the past 12 years, he has become an integral, necessary, part of my life. As the Bible verse below says, Larry is one flesh with me. When we are apart, it hurts. It would be like losing a finger to me. I wouldn't know what to do without him.

Here's a list of the qualities I think of when I think of him:
  • Larry is a strong man of God. He is constantly seeking the face of Jesus, praising Him, and sitting at His feet.
  • Larry is my spiritual leader. He is the head of our family as Christ is the head of the church. He leads the kids and I when we need guidance. He tells us when we're out of line, and praises us when we get it right.
  • Larry is my best friend. When I need to talk to someone about something, he is the one I go to. He has an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.
  • Larry is my earthly provider. He runs his business and works to stay in God's will to bring us financial blessings.
  • Larry is my lover.
  • Larry is the father of my three beautiful children.
  • Larry is my biggest fan. He has done everything he could to support me in my poetry and propel it forward with a website and assistance with my book. He compliments every poem I show him and tells me how proud he is of me.
 Larry is, to me, an example of a Biblical husband. He's not perfect, because only one man has ever been perfect, but he tries. He has a heart for God, a heart for me, and a heart for our children.

Happy birthday, Larry. Thank you for being my husband and loving me like Jesus.

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"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wonderland of Ice

So the last several days have been fairly ... chaotic.

Finances have been extremely tight lately due to some trouble with our biggest client and the inability to get our taxes done. We had a WVIHOP intern move in with us, and expected to have a second one arrive this past Sunday. Having the intern here brought about some contention from my side of the family sadly. A couple that we are good friends with went through a major family crisis, which had the potential to send shock waves through our lives.

And then we woke up to this sight this morning ...


It seems that an ice storm went through last night!

We haven't lost power yet, but even as I type this the lights are flickering. We are expecting to lose it any time with the heavy winds predicted tonight.

We heard a really good message on Friday night at WVIHOP and it applies to everything we've been going through the past couple weeks. We cannot be offended at God. His plans are perfect, no matter how little sense they make to us at the time. Crisis tends to either draw us close or make us run away angry from the Lord. We need to choose to draw close not shake our fist at Heaven. I have been doing my share of fist shaking lately, but now I realize that God wants me to be close in these crises.

God is good, all the time. No matter what.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Broken

So a lot has happened in the last week ...

Last Tuesday, the 11th, we woke up to a lot of snow on the ground. It's our trash day though and we knew that the trash truck would come even though school was closed. So Larry walked outside to drag the bin to the corner. And fell.

He was in a lot of pain, but he stayed in bed to elevate his ankle and we put ice on it, and by Wednesday he felt pretty good. We had a very important meeting that afternoon and a date that night. Thursday morning he had a previously scheduled appointment with our new doctor. They wanted to do X-rays just be sure nothing was seriously wrong so off he went. And that's where things get really interesting.

The X-ray tech told Larry to take the films directly back to the doctor and walk gingerly. So he did as instructed and found out that he had broken not his ankle, but his leg. There was a crack in his fibula and if he kept walking on it it would eventually break through completely. Surgery was mentioned and he got an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.

Friday morning ... early ... we went in to see what the verdict was and "luckily" all he needed was a cast. So Larry emerged with a snazzy black cast, ideal for signing with his silver Sharpie, and we headed home for him to elevate his leg.

Fast forward to that night at about 11:30. We'd spent the evening at WVIHOP as usual, with Larry in a leather recliner reserved just for him and his leg until further notice. Everyone was glad to see he was doing well and we enjoyed some great time with the Lord. I was done checking the doors to make sure they were locked before bed and coming back down to our bedroom when I missed the last basement step and ... broke my big toe.

Two breaks, same leg, within four days of each other. We had never broken a bone before, either of us, in 65 combined years of life. Talk about crazy!

We're both doing alright though and I'm getting around better than I probably should be, thanks to prayer and God's grace. The kids have been a great help too. As a friend said, now we know why we had them!

So, just a little advice from us to you. Don't move the trashcan in the snow and watch that last step ... it's a doozy!

God bless!

-----

But to you who fear My name
      The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
      With healing in His wings;

- Malachi 4:2

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where did the time go?

Well, I was not intending for it to take this long for me to post again!

I pray that you all had a great Christmas and New Year's. Christmas was vastly different in our house this year. Usually, we would have our parents over at different times during December or go over to their homes to celebrate individually. Both of our sets of parents are divorced so that ended up being four different times of travel or guests and a mountain of stress.

This year though we had everyone who was able, family and friends, come to our house on Christmas Day. I made snacks throughout the day and we visited with everyone as they came and went. We ended our day with an impromptu jam session with several of our friends from WVIHOP and it was fantastic. I cannot remember a better Christmas holiday.

Our New Years Eve was quiet as we watched the last sessions of the onething conference out at IHOP-KC.  We were hugely blessed by just a little we were able to watch during the four days, and there are free archives on their website if you are interested.

On the 3rd, we gathered with almost all of our Monday night team from WVIHOP, had some pizza (as well as A LOT of desserts), talked about what we wanted to do in the new year, then had another jam session in our living/school room. As Larry and I start going in-depth with Acts in our Bible study, we're finding that this is very similar to the early church. They gathered, broke bread, sang and prayed together. It almost seems too easy, doesn't it?

In the middle of all this, Larry and I made some plans for my poetry. I won't give away the surprise ... not here at least. You'll have to check out my "professional" blog about the poetry. The sneak peek will go up tomorrow morning, so don't miss it!

My faith has been shaken recently as well. Some things have happened in the past month that have really forced me to look at my relationship with God and the way I'm living my life. So, I am ringing in the new year by shifting some attitudes, shedding some bonds, and working hard at finding out who my Father really is.

Whew! That was a lot! I'm going to try really hard to not wait so long to post. I have so many amazing things to talk about!

God bless and have a great week!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can we start again please?

So ... umm ... hi! How are you? Do you ... perhaps ... remember me?

No? Alright, well that's understandable. I've been gone for a while I guess.

Well, I suppose I should catch you up on some things. I'm 32 now. Larry and I still have (only) three children, ages 10, 8, and 6. Amazingly, I still only have four cats too!

This past June we moved from our apartment that was drowning us financially into a house owned by the worship leaders at HealingPointe, our church. In September, we left HealingPointe to become much more heavily involved with WVIHOP (Wabash Valley International House of Prayer).

Larry plays sets on Monday and Friday mornings, he and I lead a worship set on Monday night, and we attend either the Friday night or Sunday morning "church" service. Our kids are getting really involved as well and we're starting to see them blossom into great little followers of God.

Our spiritual growth has expanded greatly over the last 15 months as well. I am tapping into a level of the Holy Spirit that I never knew existed. I have had several prophetic dreams, seen waking visions, and I hear God's voice regularly. My relationship with Jesus has never been closer, and I know that there is a LONG way to go still.

We're still homeschooling all three kids, and slowly but surely finding our way. Around every corner seems to be a tweak or change, but I'm hoping we finally get it right in the new year.

I am still writing my poetry and loving every minute. You can check it out here if you haven't yet. There is also a blog dedicated to that as well. I'd appreciate a look and feedback if you have any!

Music is still a HUGE part of my life, if not even bigger than before. I must admit my tastes have a changed a bit though. I listen to a lot less secular music now, and quite a bit of the music coming out of IHOP-KC artists. Cory Asbury, Laura Hackett, Jon Thurlow, Justin Rizzo, and especially Misty Edwards are some of the big names. I cannot recommend them enough if you want music to help you connect with God. The Global Prayer Room is now free and can be streamed live here if you want to get a taste of the music.

Hmm, I guess that's about it. I have a lot of things to talk about that've happened both recently and over the past few months. Stories about amazing things God has done, stories about the kids, Larry, myself. But that's for later.

Have a great week and God bless!

Monday, September 14, 2009

woman ... This is My Life

Ever have one of those roller coaster weekends?

Friday was my birthday, which in some ways really sucks. Eight years ago my birthday became a very sad day, and every year since I've dreaded the day. I didn't really want to celebrate on such a wretched day.

This year was going to be different though.

On Wednesday, I got a really amazing early birthday gift from Larry and the kids, setting a great tone for my actual birthday. Friday evening, Larry and I went out for dinner then walked through various bookstores before getting ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I went to bed really pleased with my birthday.

Saturday was not so good. It was supposed to be a fun day with shopping and another birthday dinner with some family. It turned out to be stressful and very disappointing.

Sunday morning deepened the bitter feelings. Larry was sick, Erin was sick, Brianna was just starting to feel better, and the extended family served up more let down. I went into that evening feeling pretty crummy.

But then something happened. We got to church and started practicing the music. (I run the projector that shows the words of the songs.) The music flowed and I started to relax. The service started and our pastor used a video that had us all on the verge of tears or openly weeping.

After the service was over, there was "one more song", a rousing surprise version of Happy Birthday for me. Then all the kids came upstairs and one by one gave me a hug and said Happy Birthday. Then there was food, cake and fellowship downstairs. For me. To celebrate me. A surprise party planned and organized by Larry and our pastor's wife. Just thinking about it starts to get me choked up.

I have an amazing husband, amazing children, an amazing Father and an amazing church family.

For the first time in a long time, a roller coaster that was worth the ride.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

pet owner ... This is My Life

I have four cats. I started with one back in 1999. Then two in 2006. Then three in 2008. Now, four in 2009. It won't get any bigger because I've discovered that changing litter boxes for so many cats is insane.

Anyway, I thought I would introduce you to my four kids with fur.

Ancalagon is my oldest cat. He's ten now and has slowed down considerably since we got him. He does still get rowdy though. He likes to bite quite a bit, and chase the laser pointer when we get it out. He's not much for getting involved in the chasing the other three participate in though.

We've had a couple scares with his health, but he always pulls through, kind of like the cat that refuses to go away. Not that I want him to go away. It will destroy me when he dies, even though I know it will happen someday, probably sooner than later.




I have to mention Luthien, my second cat, who I adopted in 2006. Her name was Holly in the pet store, so obviously I had to have her. She had to be put to sleep last October after liver problems. She was three.



Faith is affectionately known as our washing machine. She will wash anything; humans, cats, fuzzy toys, anything she feels is dirty. We got her in September of last year, and it really helped to soften to blow of losing Luthien. I really think that's why the Lord gave her to us. She was my birthday present.

Faith is Larry's favorite cat, because she's a loner. She leaves everyone alone until it's time for petting, and then she appears. At night she romps around with the other two young cats.

I got Aragorn last December. I'd said I wasn't going to get any more cats, but I went into Pet Smart one day and he was the last of his litter. And his name was Aragorn my favorite character from LOTR. He was almost five months old and so adorable. So he became my Christmas present!

Aragorn is a mama's boy. He lays in the bathroom with me every night while I take a bath and demands to be petted. If he leaves the room and forgets where I am, he cries pathetically until I call for him.


And finally, there's Megatron, AKA Meg. She's the baby, born in April of this year. She was the last the litter that Larry's aunt's stray had surprised her with. We went over to borrow a cooler for our party and there she was, shy and hiding. Once you got a hold of her she was very lovey though and would let you hold her forever. So, Meg became my anniversary gift. She's fit in very well here, and Aragorn is her very best friend. They chase each other all over during the night, making as much noise as they can.



So, those are my fuzzy babies. I'll keep you up to date on them as things happen. Meg's due to get fixed real soon, so that'll be fun. I hate taking them to the vet, and they feel about the same.

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Now playing: Ted Nugent - Cat Scratch Fever
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 4, 2009

Christian ... This is My Life

I found out a few days ago that my youngest brother, Randy, has decided to go on the Fall Emmaus Walk the end of the month. That also means I am his sponsor! There are good reasons why I need to be, and not my husband who is working the Walk, but I can't really go into detail here. Suffice to say, Randy will know why come that Sunday evening.

The Emmaus Walk is something I've been wanting to post about since I got back from mine in May, but I've never really known how. The experience defies description. It is like being wrapped in God's arms for three full days. The love of people and the love of God in that place is almost tangible.

I was terrified before I went. I would literally lay in bed at night and silently cry because I could not stand the thought of being away from my husband for three nights. I thought of all the worst things that could happen; if I got sick, if there was an accident at home, if there was a fire at the campground.

I posted about what happened the Monday before I left a while back here. Then Thursday came. Larry dropped me off and everyone sang to us as we walked off to have a late meal. (I found out later that Eric, my pastor, wondered if they'd made a mistake by asking me to go after seeing how miserable I was that evening.)

Friday was an up and down day. I was okay when I was busy doing something, but when I was just sitting at a meal or something, my stomach churned. Eventually, I took some Pepto and that helped, but the really big assistance came from one of the pastors there. We talked for about an hour or so that night and he clarified some things for me. As I walked back to my cabin, I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted from me. The ladies I shared that cabin with were all joking when we got back and I slept very peacefully.

Saturday was probably the single most amazing spiritual day I have ever had. The profound moments just never stopped for me. I still swell with emotion any time I think about it. All vestiges of fright and worry were completely gone.

Sunday was great as well. The pride in my husband's eyes when I saw him that evening was very special. I had conquered my fears and done what I thought I couldn't. I came home a different person.

I pray that Randy will find the same clarity and joy in those days that I did. I also hope I can do as well for him as my husband did for me as a sponsor. He's very special to me, no matter how many problems we've had recently. It should be a fabulous four days!

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Now playing: De Colores
via FoxyTunes

Friday, August 28, 2009

music fan ... This is My Life

Tuesday was the best day for a Christian music fan I can imagine. The following things came out on the 25th:
  1. Tobymac's single, 'City on Our Knees'
  2. Skillet's new album, Awake
  3. Casting Crowns new single, 'Until the Whole World Hears'
  4. Mark Schultz's new album, Come Alive
  5. Many other albums I am forgetting right now
The most exciting for me was the Skillet album. I first heard them on Yahoo! Music and then my brother, Randy, further introduced me to the album, Comatose. We shared some of their music while he was living with us, and then Larry and I went to see them in April. It was an incredible, "rock your face off" show where they announced the name of their new album. We pre-ordered it in July, expecting to receive it a couple days before the release date of Tuesday.

But we didn't.

Tuesday came and no album in the mail. I got onto the fan club website and found that several others were in the same predicament. I got mad, because of course my brother who hadn't pre-ordered just downloaded the album Tuesday morning. But then I realized it was just music, cool as it might be.

The album arrived yesterday and is awesome. I have been in love with the first two singles, 'Hero' and 'Monster', since we heard them previewed at the concert. My new favorites are 'Awake and Alive' and 'Believe'.

The Tobymac single had been a source of joy for me since I heard a clip of it just before the redio release on 8/14, and then every time I had heard it on the radio since. I love the change-up of style in this song and the message is a doozy.

'Until the Whole World Hears' was a surprise. I knew the album was planned for a November release, but the single hadn't been announced yet. It is a hit in my book, as Casting Crowns comes out swinging once again. There's no doubt what they're going for in this song.

So, in short, Holli is a very happy music listener right now. I'm hoping this is part of the jump start/rejuvenation I need.

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Now playing: Skillet - Awake And Alive
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 24, 2009

everything ... This is My Life

I am going to be starting a series of blog posts called 'This is My Life'. I will take every tag I have and give you a view of my life from that perspective. You'll see my life as a Christian, a mother, a wife, and so on.

I don't know how regular the posts will be, but when I put them up, it will a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Sorry for the vague timeline, but life has been good at getting in the way lately.

Oh, and the Bejeweled updates have kind of gone by the wayside like my playing of the game. I know. I'm crying too.

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Now playing: Michael Bublé - Feeling Good
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

everything ... Down the Drain

Have you ever woken up refreshed and then realized you had way too much to try and do?

Yeah, that's me today. Here's the next four days in a nutshell:

Thursday
  • probably wake up early when Larry leaves for Indianapolis to attend Gen Con with a friend
  • teach off and on through the day
  • drop off the kids at Grandma's around 4:00
  • grab dinner at McDonald's
  • do the weekly grocery shopping
  • get the groceries put away
  • wait for Larry to get home around 9:00
Friday
  • undoubtedly wake up early when Larry leaves again for Indy
  • pick up the kids
  • go to the library for our weekly visit
  • take Brianna back to Grandma's
  • referee the little two for the afternoon
  • cook dinner
  • greet Larry around 6:00
  • go to WVIHOP for Desire More service at 7:30
  • get home and put the kids to bed
Saturday
  • get up around 8ish
  • go to HealingPointe
  • work at the garage sale from 9 AM-2 PM
  • come home
  • shower
  • (hopefully) rest the remainder of the Sabbath
Sunday
  • SLEEP IN (I hope)
  • deliver Larry to his Emmaus meeting at 2 PM
  • find something to do with the kids until 4 PM
  • deliver Brianna to puppet practice at 4 PM
  • create the worship slides for the service
  • go buy dinner at 5 PM
  • pick up Larry from his meeting
  • head back to church for band practice
  • service at 6:00
  • talk after church for a while
  • come home and put the kids to bed
So, please pray that I can find the strength in Him that I need to get through my week. I'm already feeling zapped, and I know it's just Satan telling me I can't do it, but, man he's persuasive.

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Now playing: Kutless - Strong Tower
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Christian music fan ... Just in Time

I mentioned in my music list contained within my catch-up post that I needed to tell the story of 'By Your Side' by Tenth Avenue North. It is such a fantastic example of God speaking directly into my life.

Larry had returned from his Emmaus Walk on Sunday, and mine was looming on Thursday. I was absolutely terrified, consumed with fear, that Monday. I had vehemently fought with Larry that morning, cycling through defensive anger and hysterical tears. I had a very real feeling of being forced to go on the retreat, and I didn't feel a sense that God had weighed in on it yet.

Larry had me take a Myers-Briggs personality test, trying to show how alike we are. That didn't turn out so well, but it listed me as similar to the Apostle Thomas. "Great," I said, "I'm the doubter." We talked some about it though, and Larry made me realize that God gave Thomas exactly what he needed, even when Thomas had never expressly asked for it. God heard what Thomas said, likely in anger, to the other apostles, and provided just that. (See John 20:24-27) What I needed was for God to tell me He wanted me to go.

It was after 1:00 when Larry and I finished talking and I'd not eaten in hours. Larry offered to go to McDonald's for me, but I said I was okay to go. As I pulled out of the garage, WBGL started playing 'Revelation' by Third Day, and I completely agreed.

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been tryin’ to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move

I got to McDonald's and ordered, and then as I sat in the drive-through line I vaguely heard some lyrics.

Please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

I got my food, and drove home, those words stuck in my head. I got home, sat down at my computer, and looked up the lyrics, descending into tears as I read.

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

(Chorus 2x)

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

(Chorus 2x)

It was exactly what I needed to hear. I had never heard 'By Your Side' before. He even used the words Jesus spoke to Thomas that Larry and I had talked about thirty minutes before. God was talking to ME! He wanted me to go, and made it clear in no uncertain terms. I was Thomas no more. The doubt was gone.

So, I went on the Walk, with those lyrics pasted inside my poetry notebook for me to look at whenever I needed to be reminded that my Savior had me in His hands, whenever I fell, whenever I called.

Oh, and the McDonald's food never did get eaten. The best meal I never had.

video

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Now playing: Tenth Avenue North - By Your Side
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

homeschool teacher ... Here We Go Again

The school year has officially begun! All three kids have their school supplies, Larry and I have our first week's curriculum, and the pencils have started moving.

After Day One, I can tell you things are starting off much better than last year, as the strict rules of a tight schedule and purchased curriculum are out the window. I guess you could say we're "unschooling", using teachable moments as they come, but I don't know if I would agree. We just didn't buy a curriculum this year. We're using the Swank Method.

I am much more comfortable this year, as Larry seems to be also. He teaches from 9:00 til noon, including math, Bible, art and music. I teach from 1:00 to 4:00 in English, science, history and geography.

Our first day outlined below:

Larry taught the kids using a math drills program on his iPhone. They listened to a child reading from the New Testament for Bible time and he gave them their verse for the week. Larry also taught the kids proper breathing for singing and we all sang 'Little Light of Mine'.

I started with reading for an hour from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. The kids learned their quote of the week, spoken by Abraham Lincoln. I talked to them about the Civil War for a while and we studied a huge map of the battles I have. We then moved on to spelling words (Brianna and Connor) and learning the letter A (Erin).

There was a slight interruption when we discovered the pencil sharpener was not going to work so I ran out to Wal-Mart to acquire a new one. Overall, there were only a few tears and at dinner everyone said things were good.

Let's pray that every day can go this well.

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Now playing: Whitesnake - Here I Go Again
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, July 18, 2009

everything ... Let's Play Ketchup

Alright, it's time to try and catch you all up on what's been going on lately. So, in lightning round fashion and with lots of pictures:
  • I went on my Emmaus Walk from April 30th to May 3rd. Yes, this is the retreat I was palpably terrified about. On Thursday, I was begging Larry to just take me back home. On Sunday, I was a changed person. Three days there moved me farther along on my journey with Christ than a lifetime on my own. Amazing just does not do the experience justice.
  • We got a new kitten. Her name is Megatron. Yeah, I know, Megatron is a guy robot, but in order for me to get the kitten Larry got to name it. So I just call her Meg. Adorable kitten pictures below!
  • I've started to concentrate on my poetry more seriously. The Poetry of Holli Swank now has it's own blog, it's own Twitter account, and Facebook page. There's even thought of an anthology at the end of year if things go well.
  • My girls are growing up. Brianna turned 9 on June 10th and Erin turned 5 on May 25th. Where has the time gone? I still remember laboring for hours with Brianna, scared to pieces about whether I could be a mommy or not.


  • I've been married for ten years now. On July 17th, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Ten years. For the longest time, I had no idea why we were together or how we had stayed together as long as we had. Now, I have no doubt we belong together, and I know that we are together because God put us together and had no intention of letting us mess that up.
Our wedding day
Now

  • We went to a Casting Crowns concert on July 3rd. It was an outdoor event in Indy, which I now know that I don't like. I prefer to be in a seat, with no bugs, closer to the act I'm there to see. John Waller was there, though, and he provided us with one of our new absolute favorite songs, Our God Reigns Here. And I got an awesome T-shirt. That Larry almost ruined with Papa John's Garlic Butter.

  • Larry went to the hospital on June 24th with heart palpatations. It's the first time he's been to the hospital for them since I was in the hospital after having giving birth to Connor. Everything turned out alright though, as you can see by the pictures he made me take with his iPhone.


  • I found new music. A lot of it. Let's make a list!
*Crash (album) by Decyfer Down
*Comatose Comes Alive (album) by Skillet
*By Your Side (song) by Tenth Avenue North - this needs its own post to tell the story of how and when I found it
*Found Faithful (album) by Justin Rizzo
*People Get Ready (song) by Misty Edwards
*Scream (song) by Chris Cornell
*Part of Me (video version) by Chris Cornell
*Our God Reigns Here (song) by John Waller
*Awake (album pre-order) by Skillet - loving the singles 'Hero' and 'Monster' from this
*Holy (song) by Cory Asbury and Matt Gilman
*Where I Belong (song) by Cory Asbury and Matt Gilman
*Stir Up the Flame (song) by Misty Edwards

  • HealingPointe moved to a new building. Again. But we own this one, so this should be the last time for quite a while. Which is good.


Okay, I think that's it for now. That was a lot of typing and picture posting. Have a great weekend and upcoming week, friends!
----------------

Bejeweled 2:

Level 135
14,124,750 points

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Now playing: Misty Edwards - People Get Ready
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

writer ... Son

My poem for our seven year old son

-----

Son

Boundless energy pours forth
To the point of overflowing
Always ready to tackle a challenge
Or at the least his daddy

Carefree and running with abandon
He has the scars to prove it
Ever faithful to his friends
And sometimes to his sisters

A boy in every sense
Playing as much as he can
His laughter echoing throughout
And bringing a smile to everyone

----------------

Bejeweled 2:

Level 134
13, 984, 400

----------------
Now playing: Mary Wells - My Guy
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

writer ... Fish

After I wrote Joy of a Child for Erin, my other two kids were kind of jealous, so I've written each of them a poem, which I will post today and tomorrow. The first is for our nine year old daughter.

-----

Fish

Tresses of blondish brown
Eyes of brilliant blue
Quiet and introspective
Often found with book in hand

Lover of art and nature
Protective of privacy and space
Responsible yet playful
Still learning her way in the world

Firstborn with a stubborn will
Yet loving and helpful as well
A child of great talents
She brings blessings to us all

----------------
Bejeweled 2:

Level 134
13, 984, 400 points

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Now playing: The Lettermen - Little Girl
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, July 9, 2009

video gamer ... Bejeweled Updates

I have decided that in addition to the song at the bottom of every post, I will be giving you an update as to my status in my Endless game of Bejeweled 2. I'm sure you're all very thrilled.

So without further ado ...

----------------
Bejeweled 2:

Level 132
13,614,550 points
----------------
Now playing: The Who - Pinball Wizard
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Christian writer ... Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I won't be posting about my poems here anymore.

Now, now, don't cry. I'm still writing them.

Yes, you can still find out about them, just not here.

Where? At their new blog.

See, that's not so bad!

I know, I know, change is hard, but it's for the best. They need their own place.

Okay, let's go get some ice cream.

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Now playing: Evita - Don't Cry For Me Argentina
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Christian writer ... Seven for Heaven

I have uploaded seven new poems to the website as promised. They are as follows:
  • Reach Out! - A poem about what we need to be doing as Christians
  • Terrified - This one of my favorite poems so far. It was a true 'cry of the heart'.
  • Forsaken - A poem written in anger and sadness
  • Emergence - A poem about seeing God
  • Anticipation - A poem about being excited for something
  • Prayer: Creation - A prayer written in the midst of nature
  • Matthew Twenty-Five - The longest poem I have written so far
As always, I pray that you find something to take away from my writing, for that is the point: to glorify God through my work.

Now, let's see if I can't write something new today too!

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Now playing: Brandon Heath - Wait And See
via FoxyTunes

Christian writer ... Alert, Alert, Alert!

The title is something Erin will run around saying when she has something to tell us, a tattle most of the time. What I have to tell you is not a tattle, but it is an alert.

God willing, there will be a major update to the Christian Poetry of Holli Swank website, AKA www.holliswank.com, tomorrow. I am planning on spending much of my Sabbath adding what I have already written to the site and then dive into writing more poetry.

I'm going to try to get some sleep now so that I can actually do what I just said I am going to do. Sleepy writing is not good writing. Trust me.

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Now playing: Loreena McKennitt - Mummer's Dance
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

woman ... Random Fact

I have been playing the same game of Bejeweled on my PDA in Endless mode since March 2006. I am currently on level 131 and have 13, 320, 750 points. It used to be a time killer while waiting in the line to pick up Erin from preschool. Now I play at night before I go to sleep.

I'm unsure if I want to start over when I get an iPhone or just keep the PDA game going until the device dies or Endless actually ends. Three years is a long time.

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Now playing: Justin Rizzo - Vocal Selah
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, June 27, 2009

everything ... It Lives!

Wow, has it been that long since I talked to you? I guess it has. Life has been ... hectic, to say the least. Since the last time we talked:

  • I went on my Emmaus Walk
  • Erin has turned 5
  • Brianna has turned 9
  • I've written a few poems
  • We've gotten a new baby kitten
  • The church has moved into a new building
  • I've discovered tons of new music, most Christian, but not all
  • It has gotten very very hot here
So hopefully (crosses fingers) I can catch you up on all of that, post the poems, and get back to a regular habit of blogging. Here's hoping.

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Now playing: Chris Cornell - Part of Me
via FoxyTunes

Monday, May 25, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Christian writer ... Update ... Again

I'm a little behind here because of the stress/chaos/depression/etc. brought on by the Emmaus Walks, but I uploaded a bunch of new poems Thursday evening to the website. The list of titles is below. I hope you enjoy them! More to come as things settle down for a couple of days after Larry returns and before I leave.

http://www.holliswank.com

Masterpiece
Storyteller
Late Night Thoughts
Work in Progress
Plea
Child of God
Praise

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Now playing: Decyfer Down - Desperate
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 17, 2009

writer ... Joy of a Child

I wrote this about my little girl as I laid on my bed and she played in my bedroom. I couldn't help but smile as she "doctored" me while I was sick.

-----

Joy of a Child

Her eyes sparkle
Her smile is infectious
Mischief is her game
Always pushing the limits

Creativity abounds
In everything she does
Coloring, playing house
Or outside on her bike

Willing to share most of the time
And offer a helping hand
Innocence radiates from her
Her joy knows no end

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Now playing: Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Christian writer ... Masterpiece

Larry is working on the redesign of my website, so I won't be putting new poems up there until that's done, but there's no reason I can't post them here!

As we prepare to start trekking through nature this spring, I was drawn to the thought of the breadth of His creation, and how it seamlessly fits together here.

-----

Masterpiece

Fields of wildflowers bloom
Brilliant colors, no sign of gloom
Your creation

Towering trees, oak and pine
Breathtaking natural design
Your creation

Spring brings hope, summer the sun
Fall shows color, winter snowy fun
Your creation

Animals of all shape and size
Incredibly beautiful in Your eyes
Your creation

The stars and moon in glorious night
Canvassing the sky with glowing light
Your creation

And Your most precious work of all
In some way, we each hear Your call
Your creation

Placed together on the Earth
Everything feeling its divine worth
Your creation

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Now playing: David Crowder*Band - All Creatures of Our God and King
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christian writer ... Arisen

This poem needs little introduction. It's Easter and Jesus is risen!

-----

Arisen

Dark and foreboding the walk
The devil himself seems to stalk
'We must go and tend to the Lord'
Their pain and grief stab like a sword

'He is not here!' they all exclaim
Their emotions becoming hard to tame
Tears begin to fall like rain
As they see where He had lain

A gardener works alone nearby
Mary begs as she continues to cry
'Tell us where they moved Him to
That we might take Him somewhere new'

The worker turns and looks at her
As she holds on tightly to the myrrh
He smiles and softly utters, 'Mary'
It is the man they came to bury

Jesus defeated death that day
And even though He couldn't stay
He watches us all from up above
Waiting to return in wrath and love

Do not let the day leave you unaware
It can change your life I swear
Break the chains, escape the prison
Our Savior is alive and risen!

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Now playing: NewSong - Arise My Love
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Christian writer ... Update

I am thrilled to say that I have updated my website with SIX new poems today. They run the gamut of topics, from the Word to trust. I hope you can find one (maybe more) that you can identify with or enjoy. The new poems are:

Bible
Commission
Empty
Love
Worship
Trust

Let me know what you think.

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Now playing: MercyMe - Word of God Speak
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

writer ... Isn't It Amazing?

Isn't it amazing what a little focus and excitement will do?

Larry and I started talking about a redesign of my website on Saturday night, which lead to a discussion of how my poetry could become a form of ministry. That got me a little excited and so since Sunday ...

  • I have created a Facebook page for my poetry
  • I have written three new poems and have the beginnings or subject matter of many more
  • Larry has "databasized" the website to allow me to update it
  • There is talk of a facelift for the website as well
I've got ideas of how to maybe reach out with a poetry contest for young people, but that needs time and prayer to be fleshed out.

Needless to say, the desert is behind me and I'm basking in the glory of my Savior again. How awesome is that?

EDIT: The poem count is now six! The words just flowed through me last night.

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Now playing: Third Day - I Can Feel It
via FoxyTunes

Monday, April 6, 2009

Christian writer ... Father

I started this during a thunderstorm, and it actually had a different tone to it in the beginning. I was steered to a more playful and light attitude as I continued though. The pieces I took out will probably become the centerpiece of another poem.

-----

Father

A streak of lightning across the sky
I turn to look, it's caught my eye
I smile and say hello to Dad
The greatest one I've ever had

I feel His hand from time to time
I hear His voice as I pen this rhyme
Sometimes I wonder why He cares
Why He listens to my prayers

The answer comes in a gentle tone
A message from Heaven's lofty throne
I made you just the way you are
How could you think I'd stray too far?

This is why I care my child
He says and softly smiles
You are part of my grand design
I care because you're mine

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Now playing: Jason Upton - Apple Of His Eye
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Christian writer ... Missing Piece

I've felt really lost lately and until about a week ago, I couldn't figure out what was going on. I knew I was depressed, but couldn't find the reason. I know what was missing now - God - and I'm doing my best to get that relationship back in place.

-----

Missing Piece

I am so sad and tired
I hunger, thirst and long
In fatigue I'm deeply mired
My heart, it has no song

So much I should be thankful for
So much good is in my life
Why do I feel so low and poor
And dwell on hurt and strife?

Something here just is not right
An unsettling of my soul
My life has lost its hope and light
I just do not feel whole

At last it is becoming clear
Just where the problem lies
I push away the doubt and fear
And see with open eyes

In all the chaos of this world
My wandering will not cease
Until Christ's banner is unfurled
God, you're the missing piece

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Now playing: Bebo Norman - I Will Lift My Eyes
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Christian writer ... Wilderness

For the last month or so, I've been feeling distant from God. I've seen flashes of Him in my life, but for the most part I have felt alone in the walk. It's been very difficult to keep going every day without feeling His hand on me lately. This poem poured from my heart onto the page as I cried out in despair.

-----

Wilderness

Wasteland spread out before me
Desert as far as the eye can see
I long for water or any drink
I'm far too hungry to even think

Barren is the walk ahead
Solemnly forward my feet tread
Step by step I soldier on
Pressing on from dawn to dawn

I do not know how long I'll last
I feel as if I'm fading fast
My heart is faint and my will is weak
Will I ever find the place I seek?

Lord your beloved needs you now
I care not where, I care not how
Please show me the beauty of your face
And provide me with your boundless grace

Do not leave me all alone
With only sand and rock and stone
Please bring me back along your side
Lord please answer my desperate cry

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Now playing: Jeremy Camp - There Will Be A Day
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 2, 2009

everything ... Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder ... Right?

I chose the title in part because of my long break from the blog, but also because I am feeling an absence of God right now. I am in the proverbial season of wilderness. I haven't been blogging because quite honestly I've not felt like doing anything. As my recent Facebook status says, Holli Swank is mired in depression and despair.

But I know it will be okay. I don't know when and I don't know how, but I do know that. The hard part is the waiting. I feel lonely and empty at the moment. Nothing I do satisfies, even prayer. I know he wants me to learn something here, and I suspect it has a little to do with the Emmaus Walk I am scheduled to go on at the end of this month, but as is typical, I don't know His plan.

So I press on (or press in as my pastor would say), my faith being stretched to it's limits, my emotional state fragile. I asked for a deeper relationship with Him this year, and I think that's what He's prompting me towards. I just wish I knew for sure. Then again, maybe that's the point; I don't know the point and I'm not supposed to.

I wrote another poem last night that I will post soon. I want to make sure it's right before I put it up though. Not surprisingly, it's called 'Wilderness'. So keep an eye out for that and for updates as I let you in on my journey through the desert.


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Now playing: Brandon Heath - Wait And See
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Christian writer ... Dichotomy

I wrote this last week while I was sick. I loved the common theme of wood in Christ's life; how it was his livelihood, and his manner of death.

----------

Dichotomy

Young man carving and shaping the plank
Young man kneeling and praying to heaven

Taught by His father how to work
Taught by His Father how to pray

Carpenter
Christ

His hands nailing the wood
His hands nailed to the wood

Jesus, Son of Man
Jesus, Son of God

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Now playing: Michael W. Smith - The Wonderful Cross
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Christian music fan ... Counting Down

In 12 hours I will be screaming my head off at a Third Day/Brandon Heath/Revive concert. I have been waiting since October for this, so I am needless to say, EXCITED!

Third Day rules!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Christian writer ... Doubt

This was written at the same time as Forgiven. Again I'd had the idea for a while, but had to force myself to take time to write the poem out.


----------


Doubt


Why should I believe

I said to myself

If He exists He doesn’t care

He’s just put me on a shelf


Trials and pain

So much of my life

How could Christ

Allow so much strife


“You should believe,

Because you know I am here.”

This voice rings out

So crystal clear


“My life has been hell!”

I cry to the wind

“Why haven’t I seen you,

Where have you been?”


“No life is easy.

Take a look at mine.

I spoke to deaf ears

Who sent me to die.”


I paused and nodded

“Then why would you want me

After what I said

And refused to bend my knee?”


“Because I see your heart.

I’ve accepted you,

And forgiven your sins.

Now you accept me too.”


“I will Lord

In all I do.

I will seek.

I will be true.”


My doubt is gone

Absent from my heart

I accept you, Christ

And receive a new start



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Now playing: Storyside:B - Be Still
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 2, 2009

Christian writer ... Forgiven

Hooray for new poetry. This was written on Feb. 19th at the library while Brianna was at Girl Scouts. I'd had the idea for it bouncing around for a while, until finally just made myself sit down and write it. It's also on my website, if you want to read it after this post is buried.


----------


Forgiven


His voice it came softly

Almost like a dream

"All is forgiven,

I love you my child"


I turned towards the sound

And asked, “How can that be?”

“All is forgiven

And I love you my child”


I turned away confused

Then looked back at His face

“But I cheated and lied.

I cursed and I swore.”


“I didn’t go to church

And I hurt so many people.

I hated and offended

And worst I hurt you.”


“I’ve sinned against you

For most of my life.

How can you accept me

After all I have done?”


He smiled at the question

With patience divine

“Because all is forgiven

And I love you my child.”


At last I understood

Peace rained down on me

Jesus forgives me

And I am His child


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Now playing: Justin Rizzo - Found Faithful
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, February 22, 2009

everything ... Whirlwind

This has been an exhausting week, almost all of it good, but exhausting nonetheless.

As such, I'm taking a little break from posting, a couple days at least to see how this week starts out. I have two new poems to post, even more music, and other exciting new things as well, so I'm not short on material, only energy. I'm going to focus on my family, my God, and myself for a couple days, then be back, hopefully, better than ever.

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Now playing: Enya - Orinoco Flow
via FoxyTunes

Friday, February 20, 2009

music fan ... Some of my favorite songs (Part 5)

  1. Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode - I always wanted someone to tell me, 'All I ever wanted/All I ever needed/Is here in my arms.' I'm still waiting. =)
  2. Winds of Change by The Scorpions - I heard this song for the first time in 8th grade as I was getting ready to change schools and it has held a place in my heart for every time change has been on the horizon.
  3. Cathedral Made of People by Downhere - I am absolutely in love with this song and this album as a whole. It is a great song about how WE make up the church, not the buildings that we worship in. I think if we could hold on to that concept, we might all be a little better off as Christians, with less stress and more love for our God.
  4. My Deliverer is Coming by Rich Mullins - The greatest part of knowing this song has been hearing my girls sing it. It is a wonderful expression of faith in the coming of our Savior and the fact that Rich passed away before it was finished makes it that much more poignant.
  5. Time That is Left by Mark Schultz - We went to a concert featuring Mark in March 2007, and afterwards we started collecting all his CDs. While on a business trip to NY, in July of that year I came across this song and it touched my soul deeply. It made me realize that what I was doing with my life wasn't necessarily pleasing to God, and helped start to steer me back.
  6. Born Again by Third Day - I got this album on my birthday this past year, which was the day after I was baptized. When I heard this song, it just put into words the way I was feeling after the baptism. It was an amazing feeling and such wonderful timing from God.
  7. Sway by Michael Buble - I dream of one day actually being able to dance to this song with Larry. It is just a fun song and I think being able to correctly move to the rhythm would be an awesome experience.
  8. Ties That Bind by Alter Bridge - I'm a rock fan at heart and this song serves that well. I didn't like it for a while after Randy and the kids wore it out, but now I enjoy listening to it again and rocking out!
  9. Sullivan by Caroline's Spine - I have been fascinated by WWII for a long time, and this song, introduced to me by Larry, follows in that vein. Larry actually got to go into a local radio station when Caroline's Spine was there and hang out, getting an autographed picture that hangs in our bedroom.
  10. 2000 Decembers Ago by Joy Williams - This Christmas song is absolutely amazing. It speaks of what it might have been like to be there when Christ was born. The thoughts she brings up in this song are wonderful and bring me close to tears when I hear it.