West Coast Road Trip

Before we left for Japan, a friend and I drove our car up the coast to leave it with Ezra’s family in the Pacific Northwest. Because we had a 10 month old in tow, we planned to not do more than 7 hours of driving a day, breaking up our travels with visits to friends and tourist sites. I was going to write some on keeping a baby occupied in the car, but we really didn’t have any issues with that!
We took each day in 2-3 hour chunks. Usually I nursed S and then we got on the road about 30 minutes before nap time. She’d drift off (sometimes with a little help from A) and often sleep for 2 hours (which we almost never get at home!). When she woke up and started getting cranky, or it was meal time for us, we’d stop and use the restroom/get gas/lunch/let the baby wiggle.
I was so thankful and relieved it all went so smoothly because this summer our longer drives were hit and miss and I often ended up having to pump and give her a bottle to get her to sleep, which was fine when I was a passenger but harder if I was driving.
It was also my first road trip driving and road trip of that length. Ezra had some sermons and books on CD from one of his cross-country drives a few years ago, so we listened to some sermons and Brothers Karamazov in between playing with S and talking ourselves. And laughing. Always lots of laughter with A. She flew out of Portland and then I made the drive through Eastern Washington on my own, but again, by God’s grace it was very smooth.

Monday: second stop (first was a UPS store in Corona to return our internet hardware): In N Out for lunch (where else?)

And S’s first ponytail.

We stayed the first night with Csehy friends. It has been 7 hours of driving without stopping for much more than a little food and wiggle time.

Tuesday: we drove into San Francisco. Got chowder, watched the sea lions, climbed Telegraph Hill for views, and came back down to explore the rest of the embarcadero. It was fun, and the only traffic we got stuck in was construction-related and then the line for the toll at Bay Bridge.

We stayed the night with one of Ezra’s closest friends and his wife. Yummy food and lots of Bananagrams. Total driving was only about 4 hours.

Wednesday: into the Redwoods! We drove along 101, slipped off for Avenue of the Giants, and then meandered around a bit trying to find the place to hike I had chosen that we couldn’t find the trailhead for, so we gave up and pulled over to a random grove to explore and recharge before continuing our drive towards Portland. We stayed the night in a hotel as planned, about 2 hours outside of Corvallis. 7 hours driving as far as distance goes, but it was about 8.5 with all our wanderings. Worth it, though, to be in these magnificent trees!

“The groves were God’s first temples. Ere man learned
To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave,
And spread the roof above them,—ere he framed
The lofty vault, to gather and roll back”

“The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood,
Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down,
And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
And supplication…”

“Ah, why
Should we, in the world’s riper years, neglect
God’s ancient sanctuaries…”

“…and adore
Only among the crowd, and under roofs,
That our frail hands have raised?”

“Let me, at least,
Here, in the shadow of this aged wood,
Offer one hymn—thrice happy, if it find
Acceptance in His ear. ”

Poem: excerpts from A Forest Hymn, William Cullen Bryant.

Thursday: met up with a friend in Corvallis for pizza

We made it to Portland that night after only 4 hours of driving that day. I stayed there until Saturday morning, resting and doing “normal things.”

Saturday: headed out to Eastern Washington to see Nate and good family friends. Total driving: 6 hours.

Then on Monday morning it was off to see cousin Hannah, driving through more gorgeous Palouse. 4.5 hours total, once I made it to Central Washington that night.

I stayed Monday night with Ezra’s grandparents. In the morning, Great-Grandpa took S out to pick crab apples. ;)

Tuesday I finished the drive to the Seattle area, where I stayed for a little under a week, seeing family.

{Felt totally ripped off paying so much for kombucha since we make it for pennies, but our SCOBY is living in my suitcase and I was craving it and they even had my favorite flavor so I caved}

It was nice having quieter evenings and days to rest more and work on some projects.

Then it was back down to Ezra’s family for the last few days before we left on our final journey to Japan.

{driving with Uncle David}

{piano with Uncle James}

Total driving: 35 hours planned, + 1.5 meandering in Redwoods, 2 to see a friend in WA, and maybe 2 in traffic.

Our Favorite Things: San Diego

{San Diego is a different sort of beauty than the dunes of the UAE and the evergreens of the PNW, but it certainly is pretty}

We really enjoyed living in and exploring San Diego. There is a lot you can do there, and a lot of it is even free!

Hiking! We didn’t do a ton of this despite loving it and being really close to a regional park. But Mission Trails is great, and we really enjoyed Cowles Mountain for a good hike and views. We also went to Tecolote Canyon and Lake Murray.
Beaches. There are SO many beaches in San Diego. Coronado is one of the most talked about, and it’s big and pretty and Coronado is great in other ways, but to me it was just… flat. If that’s your thing, it’s one of the prettiest. But if you’re like me and like cliffs, head towards La Jolla: Torrey Pines and La Jolla Cove are fantastic. You may also spot sea lions at the cove, and enjoy the tidepools. We also spent a lot of time at De Anza Cove, which is the bay, not the ocean, but a good spot for picnics and large group events.
Old Town is fun to explore for an afternoon, and they even have country dances once a month (unfortunately we never made it to one).
Cabrillo National Monument has a lovely lighthouse. It is a national park and so there is an entry fee per car.
Coronado is popular for its beach and Hotel del Coronado. Our favorite was Orange Street, with its eclectic mix of 50s, surfer town, Spanish, and manor architecture.
Balboa Park is FULL of museums (paid) and free stuff. We loved going there for picnics and listening to buskers, but also checked out the International Houses and went to a Sunday afternoon organ concert (free).
Mission de Alcala, the first mission in SoCal, is near Qualcomm stadium. The church is free.
Look around online – who knows what you’ll find! We ended up at a free San Diego Symphony Concert at Tidelands Park in Coronado and really enjoyed music under the stars.
– There are lots of great places to walk or shop, especially on the waterfront, like Seaport Village, Spanish Landing, and the area by the U.S.S. Midway (and there’s a fantastic sushi restaurant right there).

If you’re willing to pay, the number one place we recommend going is the Maritime Museum on the waterfront. It’s housed entirely on vessels: two tall ships, two submarines, and an old steam boat (I think), with a few other small boats
If you’re looking for a place to eat, our two favorites are Bencotto Italian Kitchen (Little Italy) and Sushi Bar Kazumi (Mission Valley/Grantville). Bencotto makes their own pasta and ginger beer, while Sushi Bar Kazumi gets their fish shipped from Japan and is so delicious. Tacos el Gordo is popular as an authentic tacqueria, but there are lots of hole in the wall places you can get yummy Mexican food.

If you’ll be living there and giving birth, I highly recommend Best Start Birth Center.
If you’re looking for a church, Grace Bible Church San Diego is tough to beat.

Other random places if you’re living there:
– John’s Automotive
– Baby Go Round Consignment

Some photos:

{Tacos el Gordo – we highly recommend the adobada}

{we saw a play at Balboa Theater}

{Cabrillo National Monument}

{the zoo is a lot of fun, but pretty spendy}

{Torrey Pines}

{there are tons of trails and regional parks everywhere – like Tecolote and Mission Trails}

{Sunday afternoon organ concerts at Balboa Park}

{down by the U.S.S. Midway}

{Posing with a Dalek at the International Houses}

{The International Houses are more of a sampling of the arts and some aspects of culture than anything else. We enjoyed it, but were expecting them to be a bit different, not sure exactly what we expected though}

{Maritime Museum. On the ship they used in Master and Commander}

{descending into the USS Dolphin}

{Mission San Diego de Alcala}

{Cowles’ Mountain. It’s pretty neat to be above the city}

{De Anza Cove}

{La Jolla Cove}

{tidepools at La Jolla Cove}

{Lake Murray}

{Imperial Beach}

{Free concert at Tidelands Park in Coronado}

{Octopus at Sushi Bar Kazumi}

Our Favorite Things: Wedding & Baby Stuff

As I have more and more friends and relatives getting married and starting to have kids, I wanted to do a post with some of my favorite things and biggest things learned from the last few years. I’ll probably update this from time to time and link back to it in my monthly post whenever I do.

Think big but also practical! I think I was a little too practical. I didn’t want us to be given all the fun stuff and have to go get the practical stuff ourselves, but I also didn’t want to have to choose between things we weren’t given. But it’s amazing how much people want to give you. So don’t worry about registering for that BlendTec (especially because it can be blender, food processor, and ice cream maker all in one)!
So think about what you want your home to be like – what it looks like, how it functions, what sort of things you want to use it for, what you want on your counters… and that will help a lot. I had registered for a stand mixer, hand blender, blender, and hand mixer, and we ended up returning the hand mixer because I figured I just wouldn’t use it – and I haven’t missed it and am glad for less stuff.

Speaking of hand/immersion blenders, make sure you have one on your registry! I use mine more than I ever thought I would, mostly since we don’t have a lot of counter space and our food processor is an attachment on our mixer and it’s a pain to get it all out for one thing (see above note about what you want on your counters!), so I use the hand blender a lot: soups, sauces, dressings, eggs, batters… I probably use it almost every day. And they also make them with mini food processor and whisk attachments, which would be even more useful and multi-purpose. For $20-40 bucks it’s hard to beat!

My other favorite things in the kitchen:
– canning funnel (I buy a lot in bulk, so this is almost a necessity to transfer things from the bag to the jar)
– custard cups (for holding snacks, sauces, etc)
– shot glass measuring cup (for small amounts of liquid)

Prioritize your top 3 things and work the rest around it. This is especially true regarding the budget, but really goes for everything. We really only had two things, the people and the photography. We were willing to cut corners in other areas if needed to have what we wanted there, even to fly people out (which we didn’t end up having to do).

Delegate! I learned this before planning my own wedding from watching my sister plan hers. People were telling Cait to not have anything to do the week before the wedding, and while she was still doing odds and ends, most of what was left to do had been delegated to others, so she could relax and enjoy her wedding day. I did this as much as I could, though I only flew into the US the week before so I did have some things left to do. But thanks in large part to my aunts, cousins, bridesmaids, and few other friends, I was able to not worry about anything on the day of.

Pregnancy and birth
I had an easy pregnancy and loved being pregnant, so I don’t have a lot to say about that part, but I do think things I did really helped my labor be so fast and easy, so wanted to share that.
From the beginning, I tried to do a lot of squats and spend a lot of time squatting. It’s good for the pelvic floor, which is good for childbirth! I also tried to lean forward, as that helps the baby be in a good position for birth (as in sitting on a balance ball instead of reclining on a couch!). Inversions also help with that. I did these diastasis recti prevention exercises every day (I did still end up with a small one, though, which healed itself with more of the same exercises and being careful with how I wore and held S). I highly recommend reading ALL of Katy Says blog posts on pregnancy, birth, etc. She also has a fantastic video on pain-free baby holding.

I added gelatin to things from the beginning, but especially closer to the end as I was trying to strengthen my water bag and perineum… I can’t say it did anything, though, since my water broke first thing and I had first and second degree tears.
In the second half, I had red raspberry leaf tea (for toning the uterus) almost every day, adding it to other teas, making a concentrate to add to water kefir or freeze in ice cubes, etc. Sometimes I also added coconut oil to my hot tea, too. Do not use RRLT in the first trimester.
I ate 4-6 dates every day in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy – they’re said to help you dilate faster!
Another must is probiotics.

During labor itself I didn’t do much of anything we’d prepared to do. I ONLY wanted to be on my hands and knees, which in retrospect probably helped S be in a good position, which in turn helped things go faster and be easier. Low moaning during contractions felt amazing.

I didn’t use much of the technique, but “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” was a big help to me in knowing what to expect, what my body was doing, and how to think about the pain (was I really in pain or was it just discomfort?). Unfortunately there is a lot of nudity in it, though.

The first six weeks were easier than I expected. I was fully prepared to be totally miserable at least for the first few days while my body recovered, but even with the tearing I had it wasn’t that bad. Baths with epsom salts and herbs were amazing, even for someone who previously hated baths.
The second six weeks were a lot harder, though. We had an extra-tough time with reflux and then undoing bad sleep habits from the reflux, so it was closer to four months before I really started feeling like things got easier.

You really have to learn to choose not to be discouraged by poor sleep, crankiness, etc., but to find other things (hopefully God!) to put your hope in. It helps to remember that your baby isn’t irritating, but you’re irritable. And that I often love myself more than I want to serve or understand what baby needs. But in that we can remember it’s not about being a “good mom” but one that brings her children to God… which will often include saying “mama messed up and needs God’s help.”
When it was starting to get easier, part of me really didn’t want help any more. It felt like saying I couldn’t take care of us. But I also sometimes got discouraged by how much I still felt I needed help and couldn’t keep on top of food and housework, let alone exercising or playing music again like I wanted to be doing. Then I thought of cultures where the extended family all lives together and realized I never have to feel like I have it together. That’s why God gave us Himself, and husbands, and family, and community.

Also, to save you $40 on a nursing tank, try this combined with this – I added buttons to keep the tank top “whole” – it is more work to make and use than this tutorial, but means a higher neckline and then I can keep wearing the tank top even when not nursing.  ;)

If you get plugged ducts, heat a rice sock in the microwave and nurse on hands and knees with baby’s chin pointed at the duct.

Baby Stuff
Can’t live without: Ergo carrier, especially for traveling. The stroller is used more now that she won’t sleep in the carrier for very long and wants to look around more, but definitely invest in a soft-structured carrier. They’re more expensive, but make sure it doesn’t let the baby’s legs dangle (compare Ergo to Baby Bjorn) and that the weight goes on your hips, not your back.

Favorite baby toy: IKEA play gym. $30 for a wooden play gym that remains one of S’s favorite toys, now used standing or as a walker. When she was a few weeks old she loved the wheels on the side, and then when she was starting to sit she used the hanging toys to pull up.

Whatever kind of diapers you use… know that a soak in water and washing soda or oxiclean before washing does wonders on leak stains.
We have mostly cloth diapered and love it. There have been a number of times I’ve thought “I’ll use disposables this week to avoid having to wash them,” and then partway through the week realize it’s less work to wash cloth diapers than it is to get poop stains out. They leak pee more than disposables, but contain runny pre-solids poop much better, in our experience. And as long as you remember to change often enough, leaking isn’t really a problem at all.

Everyone has their own favorite kind of diaper, but what my sister recommended to me was to try a bunch of different kinds, and I’d recommend that, too.
Prefolds with a cover are our favorite for day time, and we usually use fitteds + insert and cover for night time since it’s more absorbent. I think prefolds are also usually the cheapest route to go, since you can get cheap prefolds at Green mountain Diapers and Nicki’s Diapers, and covers can be pretty cheap, too.
Our favorite “system” is the Best Bottom one, though it does get a little spendy. You can use their covers with prefolds or their own inserts and they’re by far our favorite cover. Kawaii is a good “budget” cover, though, but you have to wait until the baby is a little bigger to use it. We like the BumGenius all-in-ones, too. The Imagine fitted is our favorite fitted – easy to use, trim, and absorbent (but we have the bamboo one).
The only thing I haven’t liked about cloth diapering is that we have really hard water, and hard water can lead to mineral build up in the diapers, which leads to rashes and limits the kinds of detergent you can use. We just keep a wet bag on the bathroom door handle and wash every few days – rinse cold, wash cold, wash hot – but that’s an adjusted routine for hard water, since extra rinses after washing add to mineral build up and our detergent is mild enough to not need extra rinses.
The diapers with two rows of snaps where it fastens around her waist have always looked uncomfortable. Kawaii and best bottom both have just a single row of snaps. Best Bottom also has a double leg gusset which helps hold things in (my friend tells me rumparooz are pretty much the same – but I haven’t tried them and I think they’re roughly the same price). Except for green mountain prefolds which you can only get through green mountain diapers, I’ve gotten all of my diapers at Nicki’s Diapers, which is great as they’ll send you free stuff if you order enough and you also acquire points to get more free stuff.


{37 weeks out}

{English Country dancing ball}

{lamb neck… but Ottolenghi did not fail us and it was delicious!}

{sorting and packing}

{9 months and wearing one of my old dresses}

{Anna D came to visit and help with the move! It’s hard to believe we will have been in this apartment for a year when we move out. It’s hard to leave the quiet and sunset views, the neighbors we’re just beginning to know, the dog park nearby where I go running, and all the memories – the dining room we wolfed down pizza with church friends surrounded by boxes the night we moved in, the bedroom I labored in, the almost constantly full guest room, the bathroom I sat in for hours trying to get S to sleep in the dark… We love it here and are sad to go but can’t wait to find out what our next place will be!}

{Ethiopian food with church friends. S loved it!}

{Dehydrating water kefir grains}

{S’s bunny from a friend at church – the 2 year old wanted to give it to her. S absolutely loves it and showers it with kisses. So thankful for all of our friends here. I am looking forward to new adventures, but I wanted to put off these goodbyes forever. “I hold it true, whate’er befall /
I feel it when I sorrow most /
‘Tis better to have loved and lost /
Than never to have loved at all.” – Tennyson.}

{Anna stayed back with S and E and I went on a date. We were going to walk at the lake, but by the time S was in bed it was dark, so we found concert in park under the stars and got frozen yogurt and it was a lovely evening. It was my early birthday celebration, and I also opened my new camera lens from Ezra, which has been absolutely wonderful to have on this trip}

{day before the movers came and the washing machine overflowed and I was even more thankful Anna was there! Also thankful for the words of a friend praying for us to know His nearness whether all goes smoothly or not.}

{so thankful for this team of musicians and being able to serve with them in the last year and a half. It has grown me musically and spiritually and forged great friendships and many sweet memories. Definitely one of the things I’ll miss most.}

{Saying goodbye to our friends at the dog park. This girl sure loves dogs!}

{friends from birth class wanted to have an early birthday celebration for our babies. I had stopped by the birth center earlier in the week to say goodbye to my favorite midwife and chat with the lab/office nurses one last time. Thankful I also got to see our birth class teacher and the birth assistant who stuck with us through a difficult first day of feeding S and sent us home fully prepared in case those difficulties continued. So so so thankful for this little community, especially the pockets of deep faith within it.}

{last day in SoCal called for tacos and the beach after church}


favorite recipes// carrot cake breakfast cookies // coconut flour cookies: added some coconut milk and then made some coconut whipped cream for the babies’ cupcakes at their early birthday celebration // figgy piggy pizza // thin mint brownies (I used a mix of raisins and dates) // lentil couscous salad // quinoa oat protein bars // salted caramel cashew chunk smoothie // spinach quinoa muffins (you can ditch the sweetener, though).

best of online// going beyond social justice to social righteousness // pain-free baby holding (Love this blog!) //  crochet baby turban pattern // crocheted aviator hat // to the wife whose husband works long hours // confessions of a crusty hymn purist // the passions that prevent adultery // Sexuality & Singles (Elisabeth Elliot) Part 2 //How should we respond to the Ashley Madison scandal? // why ditch the infant cereals (for all those who wonder why we don’t feed S any grains yet – it’s not just her past allergies) // An Honest Conversation about Abortion (MUST READ. I posted it before but am linking to it again)

reading of late// studying and working on my IBCD level 1 certification exam // Paul Washer’s “The Gospel’s Power and Message”

thinking about// how publishing makes you vulnerable to critique, some of which is a good reminder to fight pride, but is also a reminder that you can’t please all readers // having nothing in our apartment was so nice and freeing. But it really makes me pray for those fleeing ISIS who have even less, and not because it’s going ahead of them but because they had to leave it all behind. // In the midst of craziness with moving and S having some terrible sleep patterns, there were lots of days where I sat there with her sleeping on me, and was then overwhelmed by thankfulness that were were all simply together. Less-than-ideal circumstances, yes, but we are together. 

what brings joy// being together // spontaneous date nights to symphony concerts // spending time with friends //

Miss Munchkin// is a fantastic traveler, has 5-almost-6 teeth, says “dog,” and waves at everyone.

writing// Javi’s Cafe, 20.

Giveaway: Art for God’s Sake

I am giving away one copy of Philip Ryken’s book Art for God’s Sake. I meant to do this earlier, but I published The Christian Musician right at the beginning of a crazy month, so have not gotten around to it until now.

I listed Art for God’s Sake in the resources at the back of The Christian Musician. I read it while writing The Christian Musician and found it helpful in refining my theology of how Christianity and the arts fit together.

To enter, do any or all of the following:

Each action is an entry, so if you do all four, your name is in the hat four times. Comment to let me know you’ve done it. :)

The giveaway will end on September 16 and the winner will be announced the next day. :)

Modern-Day Heroes

It’s hard to move 19 months after you moved to a place. It’s even harder when that place is where you made your first home as a married couple, walked through your first pregnancy, and began the journey of parenthood – all supported and surrounded by loving people, who loved you when they barely knew you and didn’t relent in their loving when you were getting ready to leave.
It’s also hard to leave the first friends your baby had – the one that looks like her polar opposite with the ‘fro and chocolate skin, the one who handed down head bands and tries to play with her during church, the one people asked if they were twins – the blue-eyed fair-skinned blonde fall-babies of GBC.
As I think about leaving behind yet another place and another set of friends, I’m reminded yet again of what Eleven said in Doctor Who:
“We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”
We may be leaving our home here, but we won’t ever forget the people we love here and everywhere. It’s hard to leave, but it’s easier when you remember that leaving doesn’t mean forgetting and starting life in a new place and enjoying it doesn’t negate how wonderful where you were before was.

As I look back on the last year and a half and the people we have had the privilege of knowing here, especially at church, I have thought a lot about the people who have taught me so much by their lives, from when I was a child through to today.
I keep thinking of a stanza from the Getty’s “O Church Arise” –
“As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When, with Christ, we stand in glory.”

Some of those people I’m not in contact with much any more and we’ve grown apart. Others I have sporadic contact with but it’s the kind of friendship that we can just pick up where we left off. Most of the ones I write about below I don’t know that well but the way they live inspires me.
In “A Sacred Sorrow” Michael Card wrote,
“The deep things of the faith we learn less by didactic principle and more through people of faith and their simple stories. After all, the gospel is not a systematic/theological presentation to which we give assent or not in order to become “believers.” No, it is a story, which we enter into even as it enters into us. We, iint eh most real and literal sense, become characters in this ongoing incarnating of truth and of the gospel. Its story continues to be told in and through us, and along the way we begin to understand.
“I believe the same kind of incarnational process is at work in understanding lament. Eventually, when we are struggling to explain a difficult topic like prayer, faith, or perhaps servanthood, we resort to naming a person who incarnates that ideal. … When we seek to understand discipleship, we think of someone like Deitrich Bonhoeffer, not because of his book on the subject, but because his life and death validated everything he spoke about in his writings.”

I’ve found that the people I want to learn from most don’t have lessons they can teach you very well. The things I respect and love and want to emulate in them aren’t usually things they can tell you. They’re often lessons learned through trial. These people are often ships battered by many storms, yet coming out triumphant through the guidance of Christ.
There’s the woman at church who lost her husband to cancer soon after they remarried after they had divorced, and said “grieve, but don’t be downcast.” (Among so much other wisdom I can’t remember).
And another who shared wisdom on marriage (that also applies to parenting) – “He’s not irritating, I’m irritable.”
And the mother who commented that she had nothing to share about parenting, then said – “Jesus, help me! That’s my advice.”
And the one who stayed with her unbelieving husband, holding on through difficult times, and then God changed his heart.
And Amanda, who died of cancer a year ago, whose hope of heaven and joy in Christ was so beautiful to see as she shared her struggles with the church.
My cousin, Kristen, hanging on to life and finding joy in it through Christ despite long-term health issues.
My mother-in-love, who had to take care of new mothers just hours after giving birth to her fourth, braved homes with rats and lands with many poisonous snakes, and is such a wonderful example of godly marriage and parenting (as are my own mother and Mrs. C!).
Mrs. Y, who opened her home to me and gave of her time to let me come in and learn from her, the way they disciplined their kids with gospel, her joy in motherhood, openness in sharing things with me and letting me open up, choosing marriage and motherhood above a career.
The M’s – Mr. M who takes such care of his wife and has taught their sons to do the same, and in it all their use of their home for hospitality and evangelism. Mrs. M who digs down to the root of the issue and turns it so you can see it in the perspective of Christ, who so openly and clearly loves her husband, who has such a great strength from being steeled -yet also softened – in fire of trials where she had to let go and let the Lord work, and trust Him.

There’s M, who my dad discipled and endured persecution by co-workers for his new-found faith.
And my friends who lived in an Arab country filled with turmoil, staying for years after most others left even though it meant being “stuck” there and knowing every day could be their last. They were faithful during the trials, hard though days are with little water, gas, or electricity. These things they gave up and suffered for the gospel – because Christ and the souls of the lost Brothers are worth those hardships.
And two others who the world calls our enemies but who counted the cost yet had great joy in Him as their satisfaction and certainty in their faith in their Lord, a willingness to give their lives if necessary.
And another whose testimony I heard before I met him, how God saved him from a wild lifestyle. I met him and was immediately amazed at his humility, boldness, and intentionality. His favorite question to ask people is “What are you reading right now?” and he uses that to channel conversations to eternal things. He’s ready to be a martyr. He’s ‘planning’ on putting his life on the line in a place where Christianity is unknown – because he loves Christ and His glory so much more than life.

I think it’s people like this Hebrews has in mind when it says the world was not worthy of them.
What a privilege it has been to know each and every one of these, and many more, and some even greater that I just don’t have the words for because they’ve taught me so much (like our pastor’s wife, and my parents, and the C’s).
I’m excited to see who we meet in all of the places we live in the future and how God uses them in our lives.

“I saw what I saw and I can’t forget it
I heard what I heard and I can’t go back
I know what I know and I can’t deny it

Something on the road
Cut me to the soul

Your pain has changed me
Your dream inspires
Your face, a memory
Your hope, a fire

Your courage asks me
What I’m afraid of
And what I know of love
And what I know of God.”
– I Saw What I Saw – Sara Groves