Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why Dream?

Last year, talking with teens on a local high school campus I had a rather enlightening conversation. I was talking to a girl, who will remain nameless, who told me she didn't dream about the future because she was sure to be disappointed. What good would dreaming do when she would just get hurt in the end? The thing is, she has a point. Why dream? At the time, I was experiencing life in the realm of broken dreams as I watched my dreams shatter as they hit the ground. I pondered her position and see many people live out this position, even if they don't express it. Hope is one of the threads that holds our pieces together. Its the fuel in our car that keeps us going down the road. We don't always see our dreams come true, but pushing through helps transform us to became something amazing. We may also see our dreams come true. I have an almost 4 month old son that is proof that we can dream even when life would say stop. I hope that today's youth will learn to dream and hope and be open to the possibility and be able to fail and learn to pick up the pieces when dreams don't come true. As Mama Cass would say, "Dream a little dream of me, na na na na na na na, na, na, na, na na na na....." Keep the dream the alive.

Familiar City Redefined

I’ve had the privilege to experience planet earth as a playground as I’ve travelled to 27 countries on more than 3 continents. Experiences have made places on the map come alive in my heart and mind; the treasured memories of certain spots have made me downright giddy at the thought of them. When we frequent a city often enough it is cemented in our minds with distinct definition.

This is true for a teenager in my youth group, Jessica Parker. Jessica has ventured around the city of San Francisco most of her 14 years. While she lives 4 hours away, San Francisco has offered an array of experiences journeying with her mother, a florist, to various venders in the area and growing in the knowledge of a city which holds her family’s baseball obsession, The Giants. Close friends have had season tickets all her life and going to games has become a tradition throughout the years in the Parker household. It is a city that Jessica not only knows, but loves. But this past spring something changed.

When Jessica signed up for the youth group trip to San Francisco for Spring Break she had know idea the metamorphosis that was about to take place. We took a small group with leaders from Project Sixty-One, a ministry of YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Pismo, to the YWAM San Francisco base to serve. Though only a few blocks from Union Square the YWAM base sees far less tourist traffic as its sits in the heart of the Tenderloin District. While there are many variations of the story of how the district came to the name of “Tenderloin,” the most commonly accepted is that in years past police officers were paid higher wages to work in that area due to crime rates and nefarious activities. Because of this higher wage they could afford a better cut of meat, the tenderloin.

Needless to say, it’s a rough neighborhood with more than its fair share of homeless, harlots and heroine addicts. During our time there we were granted access to the lives of those on the street as we served hot chocolate and prayed for the needs of the people. We were awakened to the high number of massage parlors being used as store fronts for human trafficking, more specifically sex trade and learned the power of prayer as we walked the streets praying for each of these known locations to be changed into something glorifying to our Creator.

Jessica noted buildings she walked by in the past with no idea that women were being sold for sex inside. During our trip God broke Jessica’s heart for the women of the city. Jessica, a girl not prone to emotion, cried steadily for hours at a time, uncomfortable with this newfound emotion as she felt the pain of others. While her love for the city has not wavered her perspective has changed and she mourns now for the women who cry alone with no hope. In essence San Francisco was redefined and her family’s playground has now become her spiritual battlefield. I am proud to say I saw God grow in all in our group now dedicated to pray for a city in bondage to so many vices.

Friday, February 5, 2010

2009 In Review

2009 was a full year for the Guy family. It was a year of excitement, milestones and grief.

I (Carrie) started out the year with a trip to Thailand. I was presented in this trip with some true models of the Christian faith. I had an opportunity to visit a refugee camp on the Thai/Myanmar border and was changed by my experiences. I also was provided the opportunity, thanks to family, to fly to Ohio twice this year. First, to celebrate Aunt Abbie's 100th birthday in April, and again in September for a family reunion. It was great to see Abbie again in September before her passing a few short months later. This year brought music back into my life as I was able to start voice lessons, and also serve as the assistant coach/choreographer for the Central Valley Christian High School Cheer Squad. I continue to work as youth pastor at First Christian Church. I also teach a class at the House of Hope women's rehabilitation facility, which I enjoy throughly as well as co-hosting Life Report, a pro-life podcast. I have also started writing for an online missionary magazine called Hope Ink.

This summer we had an opportunity to take a family trip traveling around to see different friends and family members. We had a great time with Kevin's dad and step mom in Palm Desert and also in Ranchos Palos Verdes with my Aunt Julia and family. It was relaxing and enjoyable trip with lots of great memories.

Two days after my 31st birthday, Sandie, Kevin's mom, died of a heart attack after struggling with complications of liver failure. It all seemed to happen so quickly and has been a difficult reality to wrap our lives around. Kevin and I were overjoyed to discover we were finally pregnant in October, but unfortunately miscarriaged the day before Thanksgiving. We hope to get pregnant again soon. This fall we were also priviledged to join family in celebrating Debby’s (Kevin’s stepmom) retirement.

Kevin continues his work at Exeter Engineering, and allows his faith to impact the men he works with each day. He is still excelling as head Deacon at the church and in his leadership of the Stephen Ministry program. He also continues to mentor men at the Visalia Rescue Mission's rehabilitation program, and is growing in his speaking abilities as we occassionally give meditations at the communion table. He does a great job of visiting people in the hospital and elderly shut-ins as his regular Sunday afternoon schedule.

Stephanie celebrated her 18th birthday and high school graduation on the same day. We were able to celebrate with several family members and friends at the house before heading to the El Diamante High School graduation. She also celebrated her one year anniversary this year with boyfriend, Daniel Elliot (pictured with her photos). Stephanie is now working at Curves and studying full-time at College of the Sequoias. She desires to be a nurse in the future.

Katie just celebrated her 24th birthday with a bowling party with some of her friends and then pizza and cake at the house with friends and family - it was quite the tadoo. She is still apart of the Able Lifeskills Program working to become better at everyday tasks and is looking at work opportunities in the community in the near future.

All in all it was a memorable year in the Guy home with events that will stay with us for a lifetime.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What Pain Really Means

As I watched the end of "Marley & Me" tonight and saw the pain in the faces of the characters as they said goodbye to a dear friend, it brought me to the journey of pain I have experienced over the past 6 months. I realized that each area of pain is present because of hopes and dreams and relationships. Its the presence of an open heart to the people around me that even allows me the chance for heartache. If I were closed off I would not be able to experience anything good or bad in this life.

The loss of Sandie pained me so because she dwelled within my heart and I allowed her to mean something to me beyond the title, "mother-in-law," and Kurt's news of cancer hurt me because I had allowed God the opportunity to create warmth in my heart where deep brokeness once lived. I allowed God to let love flow for a man that I never thought I could love. Of course, the pain of a miscarriage for what I wanted and what now had opened the door to be, yet was taken away.

Pain is present because I am present in my life. I am not just sitting by while the days pass tuning into the latest drama of reality tv to fill my heart, but I living, loving, hoping, dreaming, and allowing whatever may come to just be. I accept, though at times I want to pick what comes my way. Even in the face of so much pain, I will embrace this thing called life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dancing Trees

The tickle monster was released yesterday to dance among the trees. The palm trees danced about energetically as the wind tickled them in great movement. Other trees waved about in a worshipful state to their Creator. Leaves danced about the streets in excitement to be apart of this great adventure. Trash cans lining the streets were taken down by the great monster and instead decided to lay on the ground in surrender. It was a sight to behold and experience, to be allowed to the party as more the observer than participant. Nature had a day off to enjoy and play as children on a playground. I reveled in the glory that took place all around me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Grief stricken

I wish I could explain the pain I feel in my loss of the baby, and all that came with it. Its been hard to walk in life and see dreams fall to the ground. Its been hard to celebrate in other's joyous moments when they seem to point to my pain. At times, though I know this is not true, I feel God mocks me as the things I praised him for seem to fade away and as each week brings 3 or 4 more pregnant friends. I know God is good, and I know he loves me. I recognize that my heartache is far less than others' suffering around the world, but that knowledge does not comfort me. Its hard to find joy when I find myself daily swimming in grief pools. I know all will be well, but my heart wants to explode inside my chest. This too shall pass, but for now it just hurts worse than any break-up has even broken my heart.

While I thank people for their pointing to the encouragement of knowing I may now get pregnant, it almost feels worse. Like a desire was finally given only to be taken away. It hurts.