Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a different tune this christmas.

like a lot of people, christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. every year i've spent christmas in chicago with my family. i can always count on there being at least three feet of snow on the ground. i've never missed a christmas eve service at the church i grew up in. and watching christmas vacation is a must. there are so many things that i look forward to doing upon returning to illinois.

this year is the same. there's snow on the ground, my family is all here, i'm headed to church tonight, and tomorrow we'll all be on the floor laughing at clark griswald as he attempts to capture a squirrel that escapes in his house.

plus there's a bonus this year... my husband is here to join us. what joy that brings to my heart.

despite everything wonderful that occurs this time of year, there's a saddness that continues to linger over myself and my family...

january 7th my dad will be going back into the hospital, but this time instead of receiving just chemotheropy, he will also be receiving a stem cell transplant. diagnosed last march, he has been in remission from leukemia since august. and because there is no cure of leukemia, it's not a matter of if it will come back, but when. a stem cell transplant is our only hope of a possible cure.

doctors say there is a high chance of success from the procedure; yet there is still that fear that hangs over our heads.

christmas is different this year.
fear. uncertainty. uneasiness.

but with fear, i will remain hopeful and coinfident that my God will come through. whatever that statment means... 'God coming through'. i will continue to believe that He is receiving all the glory that He deserves, no matter the circumstance. and i am most certainly thankful that my father has a close and personal relationship with the King.

christmas is different this year... no, christmas feels different this year. but my God and His sacrifice remains the same.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

falling hard after Love.

i stand, facing a King who forever forgives;
i stand, staring deeply into the eyes of the One who saved my life;
i stand, unaware of the pain that He feels so deeply in his heart;
i stand, watching tears fall from His face.

i cannot stand any longer.

dropping to my knees i become restless and weak;
i hear His cries for the nations and His hopes for the world;
i cannot stand to see His heart break any longer;
i cannot stand to watch a King release His painful agony.

yet i am reminded of Truth...

i am falling hard after Love,
and abundant joy has captured my heart.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

light the night.

so be truly glad. there is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. these trials will show that your faith is genuine. it is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. so when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 peter 1:6-7
let's fight the battle with Christ lighting the path... light the night

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the waiting room.

i walked into my dad's hospital room this past saturday evening, and found my heart instantly begin to break within the first sight of him.

if you've ever had a close family member in the hospital for a serious illness, you probably can relate.

seeing my dad lay in his hospital bed, upset, hurting, and in pain broke me in ways i've never been broken before. i couldn't do anything but sit by his side, hold his hand, and cry with him. this was the first time i'd seen him in the hospital since he got checked in 30 days ago.

and it seems he will be here another 21 days or so...

but what kills me the most is the fact that i can't be here with him these next three weeks. i don't live here anymore, and my life is back in wichita... fiance, job, church... i guess not used to being permanently settled in one place still. in college i could hop in my car and drive the five hour drive to chicago whenever i wanted, but i've learned that being a grown-up is different...

being in the waiting room is hard.

as my dad starts the next round of chemo tonight, my last night in chicago, we can do nothing but pray, wait, and believe that our Creator is greater than leukemia.

thank you for everyone who has been praying. continue to join us in prayer and experience with us the miracle of God's healing hand.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

living pepsi?

this has been a challenging summer.

jumping into my internship right atfter school got out without a break... trying to plan a wedding... working more than the hours expected of me... my father finding out that he has acute myeloid leukemia... my roommate suddenly having to move out because of flooding in my basement... attempting to fix the flooding problem... living alone for the first time in my life... struggling with the fact that i can't be with my family as much as i used to... trying to find free time to continue growing in a relationship with matt, read about 8 books for marriage counseling, find alone time with the Lord, time to sleep, etc etc etc...

i've been 'go go go' since august of last year, and i need a break... so i'm headed back to chicago for a week.

don't get me wrong, i love being a youth intern, planning lessons, connecting with kids, helping to plan events, but with everything else falling into my lap this summer, i feel like i've been running on empty ever since may. i haven't been using the right "fuel" this summer...

i've been resorting to my own strength, my own determination, and my own drive to keep me a-goin'... and i'm finally, after many weeks of pushing myself, out of fuel. i know i can't go anywhere else unless i let the right fuel fill me up.

cliche, i know, but no wonder Jesus talks about being Living Water. i'll make it simple... while i've needed Living Water, i've been filling myself with pepsi. it keeps me goin' for a little bit, but soon after i need to drink more, which ultimately leaves me more thirsty, tired, and have you ever tried running after drinking a pepsi? i don't know about you, but i usually get a huge cramp in my side. plus, i can't afford to buy anymore pepsi; it's too expensive.

i think it's about time that i resort back to drinking Water.
Living Water.

Monday, July 07, 2008

2 timothy.

for God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love, and of self-discipline.

i've been memorizing some scripture in 2 timothy. this specific verse above, verse 7, captured my attention last night. i had read it before, probably more times than i can count, but last night i read it in a way that i hadn't before.

the Lord reminded me something in this simple verse: He opened my eyes to the power that we have when the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts, and when we allow Him to work through us, mighty and great things will occur.

timidity, fear, anger, apathy, and jealousy do not come from God. when we were created, He did not put within us the spirit of apathy, or the spirit of fear, or the spirit of timidity. the Lord put within us things that show His own character.

if we have within us spirits that are that of God's own character, think of the mighty things we can do through the Holy Spirit. no, i am not saying we are God because we are no where near Him in that sense, nor can we ever be, but that within you and within me, we can have the Holy Spirit. if we have the Holy Spirit living within us, we cannot help but see incredible things happen... people be saved, people be healed, or people fall to their knees in worship.

if you read further, in verse 9b it says, ...not because of anything we have done, but because of God's own purpose and grace. right before that, starting in verse 8, it talks about not being ashamed to testify for the Lord, that He has saved us, and then called us to live a Holy life.

but we can connect what timothy said, or rather what God said through timothy, in verse 7 and this segment in verse 9. God put within us these characteristics to do nothing but Glorify Himself. we did not earn them, we are not worthy people, but He did it so that we may see His Goodness, see His Worthiness, stand in awe of Him, and use His Character to enhance His Kingdom.

if that paragraph was written about anyone but the Lord, i'd say "that is the most selfish thing i've ever heard in my life." but when we're talking about our Creator, the God of the universe, and the One who placed within us not a spirit of timidity, but spirits of power, love, and self discipline, that is the farthest thing from selfishness there is.

Monday, June 09, 2008


my fiance is so weird... but oh how i love him!

Friday, June 06, 2008


hospitalization has been postponed due to some incompetent doctors who did not follow through in sending my dads results (again!) to the hospital where he'll be receiving chemo.
looks like it'll be another week or two before he's admitted.
until then, here's a look at his blog that he'll be updating while in the hospital: AML Journey

Thursday, June 05, 2008

pain becomes praise.

recently my father was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. he begins chemotherapy tomorrow.

it all began 8 years ago with a routine physical. leukemia never developed over those years, but doctors continued to keep their eyes on his blood and bone morrow. signs even went away, stunning doctors and my family. healthy for two years, nothing wrong.

another routine physical this past January. doctors notice something odd again, but this time more severe. his cells are not producing healthy cells, but leukemic cells which are beginning to spread throughout his body. about 15% of his bone morrow has the leukemic cells in it, while 1/4 of his blood also has the cancerous cells.

my dad was diagnosed with aml... and he starts chemo tomorrow.

* * * * * * * * * *

i've been reading a lot in psalms listening to david complain about life. sometimes it's annoying. sometimes i feel sorry for him. sometimes i want to tell him to call the waaaaaaaam-bulance. and sometimes my heart breaks for him. it's interesting to read his heart... the psalms are just that, his heart, and it's not just him whining about not getting his way, but about the sadness, the pain, the fear, the anger, and the joy that his soul so deeply burns with.

even though david seems "whiny" at times, it fascinates me that after every complaint, he brings glory and praise to the Father. he shares the depths of his pain and grief, but never leaves it at that. he always declares the Goodness of God, of His faithfulness, and of the rescue that he has found in Him.

sometimes i wonder if it was easy for david to say "God is Good!" when he had a bunch of crap happening around him. my conclusion is this... no.

it could not have been easy for him.

but when you know the truth, when you are confident of God's promises, and when you understand just a smidgen of His character, the last words to leave your mouth will be praise and glory to the Lord.

i am scared for my dad. it's hard being the only one in my family not there. i don't want to do this in distance. i'd rather cry with my family than without.

yet... i will praise God.

He has allowed my heart to know Himself just a little bit, just as He allowed david to. He has shed a layer of my screened eyes that allows me to shout, "GOD I GIVE YOU GLORY!", even though my emotions and body want me to do nothing but curl up in a little ball, weep, and seclude myself from the rest of the world.

through this unknown, i say 'no' to sorrow, and 'yes' to praise.

Father, i ask that our eyes would look at this situation and stand up in worship, THANKING You for being in charge of this world. i pray that my family would find JOY in this time where we could so easily be destroyed. let this be a testimony that my father can use to share with the world in order to give YOU recognition and praise. we want to focus on dad and the cancer, but i pray God that Glory would be all that drips from our lips; Glory because you are our God, and enhancing your Kingdom is what we live for. in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

declares the Lord.

"for I know the plans I have for you."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

learning to need You.

daily i am amazed at the Mercy of the Father. His Grace is never ending. And His Love is eternal. everyone goes through life searching for something to identify with, and attempting to learn about themselves, about others, and about what this life is all about.

whenever i listen to this justin mcroberts song, i can't help but weep.

"i cry out Your name,
i am in need of Your Mercies Jesus,
despite my pride and my shame;
i'm learning to need You."

i know in my head that i need Jesus. i know that the Bible says i need Jesus. and i know that Jesus says that i need Him. but for some reason, i still don't get it.

... so everyday... i am still [just] learning [for the first time, each time] to need You.

and i'm excited to learn again tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Check out our wedding website: The Wilds

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

getting married.

monday march 17th, 2008 - matt proposed while we were snowboarding at snowmass in aspen, colorado.

the Lord had this relationship in mind from the very beginning. we both lived our separate lives; me in chicago and des moines, matt in new york and pennsylvania. matt followed the Lord's calling to wichita back in 2002 when he accepted a job working for cessna aircraft. it took me a few more years, but i found my way to wichita in may of 2007 after graduating college, taking a youth internship, and accepting a great teaching opportunity teaching 7th grade language arts in the wichita public schools.

both of us were unsure about moving to wichita, and even questioned God as to why He'd call us to such a random place; very different from chicago and pennsylvania.

soon after my arrival in wichita matt and i met after church one afternoon. we ran into each other a few other times, but it wasn't until after matt made up an excuse to get my phone number that anything happened between us. he was getting ready to head to chicago and said he might need someone to give him tips of where to go while he was downtown.


matt never actually called me while he was in chicago, but the high schooler he was mentoring talked to him the evening he got back into town and told him he needed to get to know me more. that same day i recieved his call.

talking on the phone for a few days led to our first date that next weekend (june 22, 2007).

over the past 9 months the Lord has worked in great ways, teaching both of us incredible things about ourselves, each other, and relationships. God has been our center from day one, and through our patience, obedience, willingness to leave our own selfishness behind, and growth of love for one another and the Lord, He has given us permission to become husband and wife.

i can't wait until october 18, 2008.

here are some pictures from our week in colorado:

the view from where matt proposed in aspen ("Garrett's Gulch")

me crying

my wonderful fiance

my beautiful ring

so excited to get married!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

where has all the motivation gone?

i ended the quarter teaching my students poetry. we discussed haiku, monoryhme, cinquain, nonet, shape, along the simple alliteration and acrostic. but their all time favorite type was one called a 'clerihew'.

this specific poem is only four lines long. it's focus is to poke-fun or talk about a celebrity. the first two lines have to rhyme (aka a 'couplet' for those of you lacking in your poetry knowledge), while the second two lines rhyme (the second 'couplet').

today as i was grading their final project, a book composed of their own original poems following the format of seven types that we discussed, i couldn't help but laugh out loud at the creativity that some of my students had while writing their 'clerihew'...

lil' wayne
wears a big chain;
while he's singing
he sure is blinging.
britney spears
sheds her tears;
when she went bald
the doctor she called.
justin timberlake
isn't no fake;
he's so fly
i think i'm gonna die.
is jay-z's finance;
he loves her so
she doesn't even know.
sure these poems aren't difficult and they don't seem like that big of deal, but you may have to know my 7th graders to understand how proud of them i am.
apathy is effecting the world today in ways that it never has before, especially the youth today. if something doesn't involve technology, they don't want to do it. if they have to read something, no way. and if they have to write more than two sentences, absolutely not.
my roommate, becky, is a 6th grade science teacher at stucky with me. we carpool to work and usually our drive home is our "complain about lazy and annoying kids" time. but about a month ago our hearts really began to break as we talked about how the spirit of apathy really is engulfing children today. this laziness then continues into high school, college, and follows them into adulthood.
i constantly ask myself, 'what can i do to engage my students more and to help them really enjoy learning.' i'm not a teacher who stands in front of the class and lectures while they take notes. we have group discussions, we do group work, we read together, we play games to help them review concepts, and we do a lot of hands-on activities. i'm even lucky enough to have access to [my very own] technology that really [should] grab their attention.
yet, even when i make lessons fun and engaging, they still don't care.
when they have a 28% in class because they 'just don't want to do homework'... they don't care.
when they get to work with a partner... they'd rather sit and do nothing.
when they are given the opportunity to pick a topic that they enjoy... they choose nothing.
and when they are given an assignment to finish up by the end of the class period... they'd rather take the zero.
youth today don't want to work. they want everything handed to them. if it's too hard, they quit. it's a constant battle to get them to focus and really care about school; anything related to working hard that is.
what is happening to our world? why has the spirit of apathy begun to take over the sons and daughters of God?
for the Lord said that we have been created in the image of Him. apathy is not one of those characteristics. this just reminds me of the sin that we can so easily fall into without even realizing it. God desires, even more than i do, that they would rid themselves of the sin that has engulfed them; that they would run whole-heartedly towards Jesus, willing to continue running even when something hard jumps in their way.
... maybe i'll have to stick with the clerihew to keep them motivated for now...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

where has the passion gone?

i began writing this blog about three years ago when a friend at the time encouraged me to use my love for writing as a ministry tool.

so i began. i wasn't really sure what i was doing or what exactly i was supposed to write about. i just wrote. i shared about God, Love, what i was learning, what i hoped to do in life, what my friends were teaching me, and even at times went deep in order to share my heart.

i stayed "commited" to my blog, writing almost daily. my love for writing continued to grow. i began to see how a silly little blog could actually minister to people via the internet. the effect it was having was confirmed during a visit to ihop in kansas city about two years ago.

yet, somewhere along the way my passion started to dwindle. hence the absence for almost three months. it seems that writing became a chore for me. and even when the Lord opens my eyes to something Glorious, i find myself only wanting to keep it to myself instead of using my story to share God and encourage others. if this is one way that i'm able to reveal God to friends and strangers, why am i not jumping at the opportunity?

what's the deal...?...

i desire that my passion for writing and for sharing my writing, would be reborn within me. i miss logging onto the ol' blog, excited about what i have for the people of cyber space.

on a lighter note...

spring break begins friday, and i cannot express how excited i am to be away from my 110 7th graders for an entire week. oh how i love them, but oh how i need a break from the constant screaming coming from across the room, "ms. cavender i need helppppppppp!!!!"