Sunday, March 27

Until today I had not even stopped to consider that Easter was upon us. In fact, being away from home and family seems to take away from my excitement about celebrating any of the holidays. But the truth is, Easter is not really about family. It is not about religious tradition. It is not about opening baskets with gifts or eating ham dinners.

Easter is about the fact that God loves me. He loves me so much that He did not stay where He was demanding that I find a way to Him. He came for me, pursued me, called me, waited for me, spoke to me, suffered for me, chose to die for me.

These are the thoughts that draw me close tonight.

My roomate and I drove past a local movie theatre tonight. In front of this particular theatre is a cross, two feet tall, adorned with flowers and a picture frame, and dedicated to the person who did not make it through the intersection. This person was my friend Chad.

Chad was bright eyed and full of life. The day I met him I knew he was special. I knew that God's hand was on his life. He was about 20 years old, loved people, loved his bike, and loved the girls. He often invited me to his parties and get togethers. I usually declined because of other plans or because of feeling uncomfortable about the people who would be there. He didn't seem to care though. He didn't play favorites. Everyone was accepted and okay in his book.

I prayed for Chad often. He was laid so deeply upon my heart during the year and a half that I worked with him. I do not remember if I ever spoke to him poignantly about God. But I always hoped that the words of encouragement and prayer that I offered brought life to him in some way.

One Sunday last October I received a phone call after returning from church. Chad had been in an accident and had not made it. According to my friend Paul he was already gone and was about to go through the process of organ donation. I couldn't believe it. I cried and cried, and then I turned to prayer.

I didn't know that he was only in a coma. I didn't know that there was still hope. (Paul had given me no hope.) God layed the story of Lazarus on my heart. As I prayed I kept thinking about Lazarus and Jesus' words to him as he came from the tomb. "Come forth." I kept praying these words over and over, compelled, but having no idea what was going on.

One week later I attended Chad's funeral. It was held in his school where he had attended K-12. This tiny Oklahoma town saw a melting pot of people who had been touched by Chad's life. Black, white, hispanic, rich, poor, children, adults, goths, gays, straights, you name it, they were there. It was at a pre-funeral lunch that I met Stephanie, another born again Christian who had also worked with Chad.

Stephanie had spent two days at the hospital while every effort was made to save Chad's life. She sat by his bedside and prayed. She told me that although he was in a coma his vitals would skyrocket whenever someone would enter the room. Because of this, she believed that he knew what was going on. Stephanie felt the urgency to share the gospel with Chad. She told him that God loved him. She told him what Christ had done for him on the cross. She told him how to be saved. And then she prayed with him to receive Christ. As Stephanie shared this with me at the funeral, I began to cry. I truly believe that Jesus came to Chad in his very last hour on earth. Though we could not see the evidence, we felt it in our hearts.

At the funeral, the tears began as I heard Chad's school principal share from the Bible. He spoke of the story of Lazarus. I remembered my prayers and what God had laid on my heart and I was comforted. Later on, all of us who knew him from work gathered at the Cracker Barrel for lunch. We ate and shared as a family. After quite a few people had left a chorus of women from the middle dining room began to sing a song. "We will meet again, don't know where, don't know when...but we will meet again, on a bright and sunny shore..." It was this whole song about meeting again in heaven someday. Stephanie asked if they knew we had all just come from a funeral. Of course, they didn't know...they had just come for some food and wanted to share a song with the restaurant. Again, we were comforted.

I share this story to say this....I am glad for the faithfulness of God.
God wants us so much that even at the last moments of our lives He will make a way for us to come to Him. He does not hold grudges. He does not make us wait until we get it right. He died knowing that because of his death, WE, who did not yet know God would be able to know Him. I think of the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him. He did not have time to make his life right, he only had time to believe and reach out. And at the last minute, this man, being punished for terrible wrongs, was accepted into the kingdom of God.

Ask Ashley Smith or Brian Nichols about the mercy and the grace of God. Their second chances have been posted all over the news.

I will end tonight with these words spoken by Jesus:
I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me
shall never die.
~John 11:25,26~

Thursday, March 24

It's 2:30 in the morning and can I sleep? No. The weirdest thing about this week of spring break has been the burst of energy I have felt. In addition to catching up with some very good friends of mine, I have cleaned, done laundry, paid bills, shopped for groceries, cooked dinners, shopped for clothes, done my taxes, set up doctor's appointments, bought new glasses, bought a filing cabinet and organized all of my files. I still plan on shopping some more as well as opening up a new bank account and getting pre-qualified for a mortgage. I mean the list goes on. All of these things have been piling up on my to-do list and now I am SO excited to get to do them.

My roomate keeps giving me weird looks and asking if I am okay. Ha! She's not used to such productiveness on this side of the apartment. Truly this is the best I have felt in awhile. I haven't thought about my job at all....although....I do have some planning to do. Really and truly I could go on like this for weeks.

Here was my thought the other day as I was driving around doing errands and thinking about all of this productivity. I am almost convinced that I will stay in Tulsa after this school year. It's as if the decision has already been made and I am beginning to go through a "settling in" phase. I'm not saying this out loud yet though. This blog is as loud as it gets until I can manage to hear my own voice admitting my residence in Oklahoma.

I had lunch with my supervising professor a few days ago. She took me out to help me solve some classroom difficulties I had faced within my first year. She is the kind of teacher that pushes you to be the best. She held me to high standards (and put the fear of God in me) and at the same time gave so much grace that it was truly hard to fail. During our lunch together, not only did she encourage me, but I was able to give encouragement to her. I was not just her student anymore, I was her fellow teacher. Boy that felt good. I felt as if I had taken the rite of passage into my career. As we parted she said, "now, April, I want to be able to send student teachers to you three years from now." It made me want to stay all the more, just because I knew there was someone who believed in me to do my job and to do it well enough to teach others.

Mom and Dad and Lys have found their house in Jacksonville, FL. To you Rochestarians who know my family...I would love it and I know they would too if you would consider stopping in to encourage them as they leave.

Saturday, March 19

My roomates, all three of them, are gone for spring break. Guess who's left with the messy apartment? I have been cleaning since 9 o'clock this morning! How does a small apartment fall to pieces so quickly?! Of course, it seems that ninety percent of the clean up pertains to my inability to put things away. Small piles are so nice to come back to though. :) My lunch break is over. I'm trying to get everything done before I head out to see my adopted family. We're barbequing to celebrate this delighfully warm weather.

Monday, March 14

To everything there is a season.

A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to throw away;

A time to tear, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.

...He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in our hearts though we can never know what He has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11

Saturday, March 12

Okay, maybe it's not so bad after all. :) Posted by Hello

Florida Posted by Hello

Kinda looks like a postcard for Footprints in the Sand...

Thursday, March 10

The rest of the story...

I left Rochester, New York on January 5, 2001 to attend Oral Robert's University. I went with a full heart and all the excitement one could muster for the college experience far away from home. Within my first couple of weeks at ORU I said, "Well, Tulsa is a nice place but I don't think I'd ever want to live here permanently." I assumed that I was only here for a "visit" while I attended college.

I have now been in Oklahoma going on five years. When asked where I am from, I still respond, "Upstate NY". Even my license plates carry the evidence of a far away state called home. I cannot bring myself to trading those things in.

I never meant to leave NY for good. I always thought I'd go back. And, then, without warning I began to consider the fact that I may never go back again. I think almost everyone has this dilema at some point. Do I return home or do I make my life in a new place? So, for quite some time, I have battled with this very question. Where is home? Here or there? And when is the right time to make such a decision?

One month ago, I began to long for NY again. I wanted to see the lakes and the hills and the green (well, you know underneath all that snow). I wanted to be with my friends whom I love so dearly. I wanted to be near my family, go into business with Jenna, drink coffee with Wes and the whole Starbucks gang, line dance with Beth, talk to Wen in person, walk the Charlotte pier, and most importantly see my friends start their families and hold their little babies. I was on the verge of "coming home". And then, the unthinkable happened....home moved.


How can I go "home" if my own family is not there?

It's like God knew, so long ago, that one day I would not belong in Rochester, NY anymore. He didn't tell me. He kept it a secret. On the day I left for college I did not know that some of my friends then would not be my friends now. I did not know that my parents would leave their jobs and pick up for a brand new start thousands of miles away. I did not know that I would stay in Tulsa, Oklahoma to teach five and six year old children who were only infants at the time of my arrival. I did not know that "home" would become a visiting place.

This is only the beginning of my letting go. This is only the beginning of my search to find a place of my own, a new place to call home. I have always moved because my parents moved. I have always struggled because I did not think the moving was fair. But not this time. This time, God pointed to a place called Tulsa, OK and I went. I moved on without even knowing the fullness of God's plan. I'm on my own with no one else but God to ask for directions, with no one else to cry to when I think the circumstances are unfair. And now that I know, I am asking again...God, where do we go from here?

I went away to college planning to return, but I never returned.
God had a different plan.
So that is the rest of the story...for now.

Tuesday, March 8

K.'s sense of humor always brightens my day. This afternoon the school counselor came in to talk with the kids about manners and good character. Somehow, the whole group ended up talking about water beds.

K. raised his hand.
"Umm..yeah, I have a water bed."

School Counselor -
"Don't you mean your mom and dad have a water bed? Waterbeds are for big people aren't they?"

K. -
"No, we all sleep in it."

School Counselor -
"How many people sleep in your bed at night?" (looking all too concerned)

K-" whole family sleeps together. My mom and dad and me and my two sisters."

I had to laugh. The school counselor, also a first year rookie, looked as if she actually believed K.'s off the wall story. I could see her mulling over the situation. If I didn't know K. so well, I would have believed his story too. He spoke with such assurance as if he had told the story many times before. K. was obviously amused, it broke up the monotony of his afternoon. And after a long, hard day with the kiddos, it broke up the monotony for me too.

Wednesday, March 2

Quote of the day:
"Miss Trusievitz, I just bellowed through the door!"
"hmmm"...I said to my kindergartner..."do you mean elbowed?"


My brother's back from the field. He is now, officially, a Green Beret. I'm so proud of him. :)

Mom and dad are looking to be out of NY by the end of this month. That's right folks, mark your calendars. I will be home (if I can find a plane ticket!!!!!) somewhere between the 18th and the 22nd to help them pack up and say goodbye. I will then return to NY at the beginning of July for a Rochester wedding. Umm...I'm starting to tear up already. I'm going to miss coming home to you Rochestarians. You have given me so much love and encouragement and friendship. You are precious to me. No other group of friend has yet to come close to you all.

Tuesday, March 1

Good choice Jen.

How many times have I said yes in order to make someone else feel better? How many times have I compromised because I felt pressured to decide right then and there? As I ponder these questions I know the answer already....too many times.

The season of The Bachelorette has finally come to a close. Despite hating it's formula for finding love, I have to admit that I hardly missed an episode.

Aren't we are all looking for extraordinary romance, for something that sets our relationship apart from all the others? Aren't we are all looking for that once in a lifetime, "I saw him/her and I knew right away" kind of feeling. I know I am. That is why I cannot blame the people who take chances on reality tv shows like these.

They looked so good. They said the right words. They spent incredible time together. They met each other's families. In all "reality" the cards were stacked in their favor. Right? Hmm.

I sit on my comfy chair and judge the people who reveal their lives on a stage. Why in the world...? How...? Are you kidding me?

I can honestly say that I identify with Jen though. I cannot count the number of times I have said to my mother, "he has this quality", or "he has that quality", or "gosh, he might be...", or "there was just something missing." Granted, I did not do this in front of cameras...personally, I find that embarrassing. I think Jen needed both more time and more privacy. However, I saw that her heart was searching.

Here she was, men falling at her feet, and she could not even choose one of them. It tells me this...she knows that there is more. She knows that somewhere out there is the answer to question she is asking. And as confused as she may be right now, I think she made the right choice. Good girl for standing in front of everyone and saying, "I will not compromise."

Love to fill a marriage may not be found in a six week season of prime time television. But there are pieces if you look close enough. I am proud of you, Jen, for loving yourself and for loving those around you enough to follow your heart.

Lord, help me to do the same.