Sister Portrait’s

Some weeks ago we had the pleasure of a visit from my dear friend and amazingly talented photographer, Shelley Paulson. I’ve talked about Shelley a number of times and last summer shared a photo session that she had done on the IHOP-KC Shiloh property.

Shelley is a cold drink of water to a dry soul. She has a way of listening to the depth behind words and pulling out the meanings, hiding those treasures in her heart and using them to bless you at the most needed moments. While driving down the road she told me of a photo shoot she had done the day before at an abandoned house. At that exact moment we were passing a property I have frequented that contains a condemned Frank Loyd Wright style house. This land held some adventure for me earlier this year and we immediately turned around so that I could show her the place and of course tell the tale.

Shelley dined on the excitement in my story and at the end promptly informed me that she was bringing my sister and I back that week for some photographs. I think that I will look back on that morning as one of my favorite memories from this year. My sister is a priceless treasure, and Shelley one of my dearest friends, and that land holds dreams long buried in my soul. Tramping around, laughing our faces off, reveling in the history and storytelling of the wreck, enjoying the presence of one another and Shelley’s eye for capturing beauty.

Please visit her blog and join in our fun 🙂


Hot Dog Buns

This hot Sunday afternoon found me where I’m happiest; mowing the lawn, pulling weeds & transplanting flowers. Taking a short water break I realized I’d not eaten yet and open up the fridge.

Sometimes my parents will show up for a visit bearing boxes of groceries and there are a few things that my momi will always bring, simply because she knows that we love them but would never buy them. A couple of those items: Blueberry Muffin Top cereal, ramen noodles, and cheese stuffed Turkey Dogs. Today was a turkey dog day.  So I wrapped it in a damp paper towel, stuck in the microwave and went in search of my barbecue sauce.

*Insert storm clouds* After searching the tiny kitchen inside out 3 times the realization sunk in that my hot dog buns had indeed been commandeered by a roommate. It was then that I burst into tears.

I feel like there’s something wrong with crying over missing hotdog buns.

Soul Breath

I believe that music is the product of our souls breathing. When my emotion is at a peak, words fail me and thoughts only come in melodies. The current song playing softly from my speakers is “Break every chain” by the United Pursuit Band. After listening to “Fill me up” on repeat I opted for a break.

This week, I’ve only truly spoken in music and tears.

To say the last 7 days have been hard would not do justice to any of the members of my little household. An already difficult monday was wrapping up with a pastoral meeting , I was the one BEING pastored this time, that is until Katrina called weeping. The hours of 1am-10am were spent in the emergency room…… again. Seriously I’m not pointing fingers but someone hates us.

Thursday I brought her home with a diagnosis of Endometriosis, her left fallopian tube was crazy enlarged and her left ovary had been stuck in a tunnel of tissue caused by the Endometriosis, creating a feeling she described as “being stabbed by knives from the inside of my stomach.” All this was discovered during a laparoscopic procedure which she is to take  5 days of rest to recover from.  It is sickly ironic. Today I found her literally bored to tears, and shook my head at the memory of literally one year ago crying in frustration at my post-surgery bed rest.

I’ve wept all week from the turmoil with Katrina, and because I’m tired of my heart being sick.  I am still desperate for a breakthrough, and the pain of it was multiplied this week at wounds of misunderstanding and painful responses from a trusted friend.

And Dani received word last night that her mom has breast cancer.

Whew. Long week in the Styles house.  After a long work day, lots of tears, and a long conversation with my East Coast brother, my tired feet found themselves standing outside the volleyball courts at FSM tonight, surrounded by sounds of dodge ball and teens chatting excitedly about receiving their acceptance into SMI this summer…… and I didn’t know who HALF of these kids were.

Tonight was a foretaste of every Saturday night for the rest of the summer. Next week at least 300 teens are pooling into KC for Main Session One of ATC 2010. I have no idea what I’m in for.

But somehow tonight I found myself sprinting through the parking lot, driving to the Cataldo’s and jumping in their pool fully clothed, only to be back at FSM 15 minutes later. A 15 minute break was all we needed to see the night through.  That spontaneous drive across grandview to jump in a cold pool completely destroyed the residue hanging on me from the week.

The Lord knows just what I need for this summer, I have no reason to doubt He will give to me generously.He is going to provide for all of our needs according to each of our hearts. He is not surprised by the tension that we feel, by the rising water levels around us, by that which grabs us by the ankles and pulls us under. And He knows just what to do.

For me, this week, it was to jump into a pool with one of my best friends, only to drive back and finish out Late Night. Aaaaand it was the hot dog I ate right after. I don’t know what I will need to get through next week, but I’m sure He’ll give that to me too. I think my favorite thing about Him is that He is my friend, the kind of friend who knows how I think, how I work, and just how to pour out love on my heart. And I never have to walk out any of these bad weeks alone. I love not being alone, and I love getting to sing a new song.

Fill me up God.

Desert Father

When we were young we walked where we wanted to, life was ours.

And now we’re grown old we go where we’re told, the Lord’s spirit calls.

He’s singing “follow my road to sorrow and joy, be intertwined and find all things are under My wings and rise given time”

Oh my, brother sun, sister moon, all children of light fly around the world and let the glory be unfurled all things are made new.

We’re marchign on to a spirit’s song that no man can cage. In lands of dead wood that reject the good from our old Father’s hands.

But we run free and weep gracefully in a world dark and cold. Hold on, all you who wait by the blue shores for Him to part the water. Desert Father show us a new way, the impossible dream through the deep and the unseen; carry us home

-Josh Garrels

Not Alone

At arms length you held your spouse and children
Your lack of grace so nearly killed them
Forgivness still breathes but he may not wake for years
He’s promised me still this won’t end in tears.

‘Cause we’re not alone, no we’re not alone now honey
Save our own ’cause we’re not alone

Bakc home to find the garden as you left it
Roses in full bloom, so glad you invested
So you found this room couldn’t hold you donw
Stepped through these walls and taste life to the fullest

Not alone no we’re not alone now honey
We’ll make it home ’cause we’re not alone
Not alone no we’re not alone now honey
Save your own cause we’re not alone

Hold us close, it meant so much
Maybe more than you knew
Laugh awhile, burn like fire
Love us again just like you used to
Sing so loud, make us proud
Please say just what you heard
Listen closer, hold your tongue
Your tired eyes speak louder than words

Not alone no we’re not alone now honey
We’ll make it home cau’se we’re not alone.